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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2

Was shocked long ago at my writing Mazar in Library


This fact, as well, perhaps, as others, should be taken into account by any one who may be at first sight surprised, and perhaps in the Biblical sense "offended," at finding two-thirds of the volume allotted to half of the time.

[330] To vary a good epigram of the _Rolliad_ crew on Pitt:

"'The French' for 'France' can't please the _Blanc_, The _Bleu_ detests the 'King.'"

[331] _V. sup._ on Reybaud.

[332] This is of course quite a different thing from saying that politicians had better have nothing to do with letters, or that men of letters may not _discuss_ politics. It is when they become Ministers that they too often disgust men and amuse angels.

[333] _Adolphe_ actually belongs to the nineteenth century.

[334] As I write this I remember how my friend the late M. Beljame, who and whose "tribe" have come so nobly for English literature in France for forty years past, was shocked long ago at my writing "Mazar_in_ Library," and refused to be consoled by my assurance that I should never dream of writing anything but "Bibliotheque Mazar_ine_." But I had, and have, no doubt on the principle.

[335] I _hope_, but do not trust, that no descendant of the persons who told Charles Lamb that Burns could not at the time be present because

he was dead, will say, "But all these were subsequent to 1850."

[336] In my _History of Criticism_, _passim_.

[337] _V. sup._ Vol. I., on the "heroic" romance.

[338] It seems unnecessary to repeat what has been said on Vigny and Merimee; but it is important to keep constantly in mind that they came before Dumas. As for the still earlier _Solitaire_, I must repeat that M. d'Arlincourt's utter failure as an individual ought not completely to obscure his importance as a pioneer in kind.

[339] "Suppose you go and do it?" as Thackeray says of another matter, no doubt. But I am Crites, not Poietes.

[340] Pedantius may urge, "But 'James III.' is made to affect the fortunes of Esmond and Beatrix very powerfully." True; but he himself is by no means a _very_ "prominent historical character," and the exact circumstances of the agony of Queen Anne, and the _coup d'etat_ of Shrewsbury and Argyle, have still enough of the unexplained in or about them to permit somewhat free dealing.

[341] If any one says "_Leicester's Commonwealth?_" I say "_The Faerie Queene?_"

[342] I intend nothing offensive in thus mentioning his attitude. In my _History of Criticism_ I have aimed at justice both to his short stage of going with, or at least not definitely against, the Romantic vein, and his much longer one of reaction. He was always vigorous in argument and dignified in manner; but his nature, when he found it, was essentially neo-classic.

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