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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

His brother Thomas Amedee b


P.

121, ll. 8-10. Perhaps instead of, or at least beside, Archdeacon Grantly I should have mentioned a more real dignitary (as some count reality) of the Church, Charles Kingsley. The Archdeacon and the Canon would have fought on many ecclesiastical and some political grounds, but they might have got on as being, in Dr. Grantly's own words at a memorable moment "both gentlemen." At any rate, Kingsley was soaked in Rabelais, and one of the real curiosities of literature is the way in which the strength of _Gargantua_ and _Pantagruel_ helped to beget the sweetness of _The Water Babies_.

Chap. viii. pp. 163-175.--After I had "made my" own "siege" of the _Astree_ on the basis of notes recording a study of it at the B.M., Dr. Hagbert Wright of the London Library was good enough to let me know that his many years' quest of the book had been at last successful, and to give me the first reading of it. (It was Southey's copy, with his own unmistakable autograph and an inserted note, while it also contained a cover of a letter addressed to him, which had evidently been used as a book-mark.) Although not more than four months had passed since the previous reading, I found it quite as appetising as (in the text itself) I had expressed my conviction that it would be: and things not noticed before cropped up most agreeably. There is no space to notice all or many of them here. But one of the earliest, due to Hylas, cannot be omitted, for it is the completest

and most sententious vindication of polyerotism ever phrased: "Ce n'etait pas que je n'aimasse les autres: mais j'avais encore, outre leur place, celle-ci vide dans mon ame." And the soul of Hylas, like Nature herself, abhorred a vacuum! (This approximation is not intended as "new and original": but it was some time after making it that I recovered, in _Notre Dame de Paris_, a forgotten anticipation of it by Victor Hugo.)

Another early point of interest was that the frontispiece portrait of Astree (the edition, see _Bibliography_, appears to be the latest of the original and ungarbled ones, _imprimee a Rouen, et se vend a Paris_ (1647, 10 vols.)) is evidently a portrait, though not an identical one, of the same face given in the Abbe Reure's engraving of Diane de Chateaumorand herself. The nose, especially, is hardly mistakable, but the eyes have rather less expression, and the mouth less character, though the whole face (naturally) looks younger.

On the other hand, the portrait here--not of Celadon, but admittedly of Honore d'Urfe himself--is much less flattering than that in the Abbe's book.

Things specially noted in the second reading would (it has been said) overflow all bounds here possible: but we may perhaps find room for three lines from about the best of the very numerous but not very poetical verses, at the beginning of the sixth (_i.e._ the middle of the original _third_) volume:

_Le prix d'Amour c'est l'Amour meme._ Change d'humeur qui s'y plaira, Jamais Hylas ne changera,

the two last being the continuous refrain of a "villanelle" in which this bad man boasts his constancy in inconstancy.

P. 265, _note_ 1.--It ought perhaps to be mentioned that Mlle. de Lussan's paternity is also, and somewhat more probably, attributed to Eugene's elder brother, Thomas of Savoy, Comte de Soissons. The lady is said to have been born in 1682, when Eugene (b. 1663) was barely nineteen; but of course this is not decisive. His brother Thomas _Amedee_ (b. 1656) was twenty-six at the time. The attribution above mentioned gave no second name, and did not specify the relationship to Eugene: so I had some difficulty in identifying the person, as there were, in the century, three Princes Thomas of Savoy, and I had few books of reference. But my old friend and constant helper in matters historical, the Rev. William Hunt, D.Litt., cleared the point up for me. Of the other two--Thomas _Francois_, who was by marriage Comte de Soissons and was grandfather of Eugene and Thomas Amedee, died in the same year in which Thomas Amedee was born, therefore twenty-six before Mlle. de Lussan's birth: while the third, Thomas _Joseph_, Eugene's cousin, was not born till 1796, fourteen years after the lady. The matter is, of course, of no literary importance: but as I had passed the sheet for press before noticing the diversity of statements, I thought it better to settle it.


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