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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

S'affaiblirent et se passerent


[410]

_Vide_ on the process Crebillon's _Les Egarements du Coeur et de l'Esprit_, as above, pp. 371, 372.

[411] The parallel with "George Eliot" will strike most people.

[412] But for uniformity's sake I should not have translated this, for fear of doing it injustice. "Not presume to dictate," in Mr. Jingle's constantly useful phrase, but it seems to me one of the finest in French prose.

[413] "Craze" has been suggested; but is, I think, hardly an exact synonym.

[414] This may seem to contradict, or at any rate to be inconsistent with, a passage above (p. 367) on the "flirtations" of Crebillon's personages. It is, however, only a more strictly accurate use of the word.

[415] Two remarkable and short passages of his, not quoted in the special notice of him, may be given--one in English, because of its remarkable anticipation of the state of mind of Catherine Morland in _Northanger Abbey_; the other in French, as a curious "conclusion of the whole matter." They are both from _Marianne_.

"I had resolved not to sleep another night in the house. I cannot indeed tell you what was the exact object of my fear, or why it was so lively. All that I know is that I constantly beheld before me the countenance of my landlord, to which I had hitherto paid no particular attention, and then I began

to find terrible things in this countenance His wife's face, too, seemed to be gloomy and dark; the servants looked like scoundrels; all their faces made me in a state of unbearable alarm. I saw before me swords, daggers, murders, thefts, insults. My blood grew cold at the perils I imagined."

* * * * *

"Enfin ces agitations, tant agreables que penibles, s'affaiblirent et se passerent. L'ame s'accoutume a tout; sa sensibilite s'use: et je me familiarisais avec mes esperances et mes inquietudes."

[416] Since, long ago, I formed the opinion of _Adolphe_ embodied above, I have, I think, seen French criticisms which took it rather differently--as a personal confession of the "confusions of a wasted youth," misled by passion. The reader must judge which is the juster view.

[417] By a little allowance for influence, if not for intrinsic value.

[418] On representations from persons of distinction I have given Laclos a place in an outhouse (see "Add. and Corr."). But I have made this place as much of a penitentiary as I could.

[419] I must apologise by anticipation to the _official_ French critic. To him, I know, even if he is no mere minor Malherbe, Restif's style is very faulty; but I should not presume to take his point of view, either for praise or blame.

[420] There is a separate bibliography by Cubieres-Palmezeaux (1875). The useful _Dictionnaire des Litteratures_ of Vapereau contains a list of between thirty and forty separate works of Restif's,


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