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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

As well as of the Combat des Trente


[157]

Like Robina in _Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy_.

[158] There are ten parts, each divisible into two _volumes_ and three books. There is also a division at the end of the fifth "part" and the tenth volume, the first five (ten) having apparently been issued together. The "parts" are continuously paged--running never, I think, to less than 1000 pages and more than once to a little over 1400.

[159] Drama may have done harm here, if those dramatic critics who say that you must never "puzzle the audience" are right. The happy novel-reader is of less captious mood and mould: he trusts his author and hopes his author will pull him through.

[160] Some exception in the way of occasional flashes may be made for two lively maids of honour to be mentioned later, Martesie and Doralise.

[161] There is an immense "throw-back" after the Sinope affair, in which the previous history of Artamene and the circumstances of Mandane's abduction are recounted up to date--I hope that some readers at least will not have forgotten the introduction of Lancelot to Guinevere. We have here the Middle Age and the _Grand Siecle_ like philippines in a nutshell.

[162] To understand the account, it must be remembered that the combat takes place in a position secluded from the two armies and strictly forbidden to lookers-on; also that it is to be absolutely

_a outrance_.

[163] It is not perhaps extravagant to suggest that Sir Walter had something of this fight, as well as of the _Combat des Trente_, in his mind when he composed the famous record of the Clan Chattan and Clan Quhele battle.

[164] Praed's delightful Medora might have found the practice of the _Grand Cyrus_ rather oppressive; but she would have thoroughly approved its principles.

[165] He is King of Cappadocia now, Astyages being alive; and only succeeds to Media later. It must never be forgotten that the _Cyropaedia_, not Herodotus, is the chief authority relied upon by the authors, though they sometimes mix the two.

[166] There is a very great physical resemblance between the two, and this plays an important and repeated part in the book.

[167] The King of Assyria, the King of Pontus, and the later Aryante (_v. inf._). The fourth is the "good Rival" Mazare, who, though he also is at one time in possession of the prize, and though he never is weary of "loving unloved," is too honourable a gentleman to force his attentions on an unwilling mistress.

[168] It is probably, however, not quite fair to leave the reader, even for a time, under the impression that it is _merely_ an excursion. Of all the huge and numerous loop-lines, backwaters, ramifications, reticulations, episodes, or whatever they may be called, there is hardly one which has not a real connection with the general plot; and the appearance of Thomyris here has such connection (as will be duly seen) in a capital and vital degree.


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