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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

Of this slur in Marivaux's title


In other words, there is a unity of personality in the attitude which the hero takes to and in them.

[317] And in it too, of course; as well as in Spain's remarkable but too soon re-enslaved criticism.

[318] As he says of himself (vii. x.): _Enfin, apres un severe examen je tombais d'accord avec moi-meme, que si je n'etais pas un fripon, il ne s'en fallait guere._ And the Duke of Lerma tells him later, "_M. de Santillane, a ce que je vois, vous avez ete tant soit peu_ picaro."

[319] The two most undoubted cases--his ugly and, unluckily, repeated acceptance of the part of Pandarus-Leporello--were only too ordinary rascalities in the seventeenth century. The books of the chronicles of England and France show us not merely clerks and valets but gentlemen of every rank, from esquire to duke, eagerly accepting this office.

[320] In a curious passage of Bk. XII. Chap. I. in which Gil disclaims paternity and resigns it to Marialva. This may have been prompted by a desire to lessen the turpitude of the go-between business; but it is a clumsy device, and makes Gil look a fool as well as a knave.

[321] One of Lesage's triumphs is the way in which, almost to the last, "M. de Santillane," despite the rogueries practised often on and sometimes by him, retains a certain gullibility, or at least ingenuousness.

justify;">[322] Not of course as opposed to "romantic," but as = "chief and principal."

[323] The reader must not forget that this formidable word means "privateer" rather than "pirate" in French, and that this was the golden age of the business in that country.

[324] Those who are curious may find something on him by the present writer, not identical with the above account, in an essay entitled _A Study of Sensibility_, reprinted in _Essays on French Novelists_ (London, 1891), and partly, but outside of the Marivaux part, reproduced in Chap. XII. of the present volume.

[325] By M. Gustave Larroumet. Paris, 1882.

[326] I need hardly say that I am not referring to things like _Rebecca and Rowena_ or _A Legend of the Rhine_, which "burst the outer shell of sin," and, like Mrs. Martha Gwynne in the epitaph, "hatch themselves a cherubin" in each case.

[327] The reader will perhaps excuse the reminder that the sense in which we (almost exclusively) use this word, and which it had gained in French itself by the time of Talleyrand's famous double-edged sarcasm on person and world (_Il n'est pas parvenu: il est arrive_), was not quite original. The _parvenu_ was simply a person who _had_ "got on": the disobliging slur of implication on his former position, and perhaps on his means of freeing himself from it, came later. It is doubtful whether there is much, if indeed there is any, of this slur in Marivaux's title.

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