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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

And placed Pherenice on a seat opposite to them


[169]

Some readers no doubt will not need to be reminded that this is the original title of _The Marriage of Kitty_,--literally "gangway," but in the sense of "makeshift" or "_locum tenens_."

[170] Cf. John Heywood's Interlude of _Love_. These stories also remind one of the short romances noticed above.

[171] No gentleman, of course, could refuse a challenge pure and simple, unless in very peculiar circumstances; but hardly Sir Lucius O'Trigger or Captain M'Turk would oblige a friend to enter into this curious kind of bargain.

[172] Another instance of the astonishing interweaving of the book occurs here; for here is the first mention of Sappho and other persons and things to be caught up sooner or later.

[173] Such knowledge as I have of the other romances of the "heroic" group shows them to be, with the possible exception of those of La Calprenede, inferior in this respect, even allowing for the influence of the _Cyropaedia_.

[174] An extract may be worth giving in a note: "For the rest, if there is anybody who is not acquainted enough with all my authors [_this is a very delightful sweep over literature_] to know what was the Ring of Gyges which is spoken of in this volume, let him not imagine that it is Angelica's, with which I chose to adorn Artamene; and let him, on the contrary, know that it was Ariosto

who stole this famous ring which gave his Paladins so much trouble; that _he_ took it from those great men whom I am obliged to follow" [_a sweep of George's plumed hat in the best Molieresque marquis style to Herodotus, Xenophon, and Cicero (who comes in shortly) and the others_].

[175] The opening sentences of this _Histoire_ give a curious picture of the etiquette of these spoken narrative episodes, which, from the letters and memoirs of the time, we can see to have been actually practised in the days of _Precieuse_ society. [_The story is not of course delivered in the presence of Panthea herself; but she sends a confidante, Pherenice, to tell it._] "They were no sooner in Araminta's apartment than, after having made Cyrus sit down, and placed Pherenice on a seat opposite to them, she begged her to begin her narrative and not to hide from them, if it were possible, the smallest thought of Abradates and Panthea. Accordingly this agreeable person, having made them a compliment so as to ask their pardon for the scanty art she brought to the story she was going to tell, actually began as follows:"

[176] Observe how _vague_ what follows is. A scholar and a _modiste_, working in happiest conjunction, might possibly "create" the dress; but as for the face it might be any one out of those on one hundred chocolate-boxes.

[177] This passage gives a key to the degradation of the word "elegant." It has kept the connotation of "grace," but lost that of "nobility."

[178] _Abstracts_ of all the principal members of this group and others occurred in the _Bibliotheque Universelle des Romans_, which appeared as a periodical at Paris in 1778. But what I do not know is whether any one ever arranged an elaborate tabular syllabus of the book like that of Burton's _Anatomy_. It would lend itself admirably to the process if any one had time and inclination to do the thing.

[179] With the exception, already noted, of Urfe; and even he is far below Donne.

[180] There were, though not many, actual instances of capital punishment for disregard of the edicts against duelling, and imprisonment was common. But the deterrent effect was very small. Montmorency-Bouteville was the best-known victim.


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