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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

And if Madame de Grammont was the culprit


[287]

As a member, though a cadet, of a cadet branch of one of the noblest families of Great Britain and Ireland.

[288] As a soldier, a courtier of Charles II., and a Jacobite exile in France.

[289] I may perhaps be allowed to refer to another essay of mine on him in _Miscellaneous Essays_ (London, 1892). It contains a full account, and some translation, of the _Conversation du marechal d'Hocquincourt avec le Pere Canaye_, which is at once the author's masterpiece of quiet irony, his greatest pattern for the novelist, and his clearest evidence of influence on Hamilton.

[290] There are some who hold that _the_ "English" differentia, whether shown in letters or in life, whether south or north of Tweed, east or west of St. George's Channel is always Anglo-Norman.

[291] The "Marian" and Roman comparison of Anne Boleyn's position to Rosamond's is interesting.

[292] It is a sort of brief lift and drop of the curtain which still concealed the true historical novel; it has even got a further literary interest as giving the seamy side of the texture of Macaulay's admirable _Jacobite's Epitaph_. The account would be rather out of place here, but may be found translated at length (pp. 44-46) in the volume of _Essays on French Novelists_ more than once referred to.

[293] The most unexpected

bathos of these last three words is of course intentional, and is Hamilton all over.

[294] The nymph is lying on a couch, and her companion (who has been recalcitrant even to this politeness) is sitting beside her.

[295] This is as impudent as the other passages below are imbecile--of course in each case (as before) with a calculated impudence and imbecility. The miserable creature had himself obliged her to "come out of the water" by declining to join her there on the plea that he was never good for an assignation when he was wet!

[296] If they are true, and if Madame de Grammont was the culprit, it is a sad confirmation of the old gibe, "Skittish in youth, prudish in age." It can only be pleaded in extenuation that some youth which was not skittish, such as Sarah Marlborough's, matured or turned into something worse than "devotion." And Elizabeth Hamilton was so very pretty!

[297] "Completions" of both _Zeneyde_ and _Les Quatre Facardins_, by the Duke de Levis, are included in some editions, but they are, after the fashions of such things, very little good.

[298] The name is not, like "Tarare," a direct burlesque; but it suggests a burlesque intention when taken with "facond" and others including, perhaps, even _faquin_.

[299] The Sultaness is almost _persona muta_--and indeed her tongue must have required a rest.

[300] As Hamilton's satiric intention is as sleepless as poor Princess Mousseline herself, it is not impossible that he remembered the incident recorded by Pepys, or somebody, how King Charles the Second could not get a sheet of letter paper to write on for all the Royal Households and Stationery Offices and such-like things in the English world.

[301] _I.e._ colour-printed cotton from India--a novelty "fashionable" and, therefore, satirisable in France.

[302] Or "distaffs and spindles"?

[303] She is indeed said to have "converted" both him and Grammont, the latter perhaps the most remarkable achievement of its kind.


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