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'I could see if M. le Chevalier is come back to the Manor,' resumed Fine Ear; “but the others will come, and it would be all over before my return. What shall we do ?' • Take us with you,' said Pierre.
That's right,' shouted the peasants; then M. le Chevalier will do as he pleases. Quick I or the Vendean will be back.'
The took their guns and made us walk in the midst of them. We soon entered the copse, and were out of sight of the hovel. Now we are safe!' I said to Pierre. • Not yet,' he answered, stopping to listen. March ľ' said Menèz.
Hush !' murmured the youth, and as we listened there was a distinct sound of steps.
• The others are coming back from the farm,' said Salaün; 'they have taken the green path. We are sure to be seen.'
Do they pass near?' • The other side of the bushes.'
In fact we could hear their words. Our guides stood still, but the slightest movement might betray us, and my heart beat violently, The steps and voices came closer, we could even see Storel and his fellows through the leafless boughs, we felt the shaking of the branches as they moved, but they never saw us,
We resumed our way with swift steps, crossing the copse, and at the Manor we found M. de la Hunoterie, happily just come in. At the first word he reassured us. My travelling companion came in at the same instant, and told the whole story. The Chevalier apologised for what he called a mistake, thanked me for the service to his niece, and offered me hospitality for the night; and the next morning Pierre and I safely arrived at Roche Sauveur.
FRENCH LITERATURE IN THE EARLY NINETEENTH
IV.-LAMARTINE (continued). Les Confidences must not be taken as a real biography, and this somewhat excuses the questionable taste which gave them to the public, and which Lamartine vainly tries to explain away in his preface addressed to a friend who had justly observed that cette publicité déflore les choses du cæur. Real life reached Lamartine entirely altered and coloured by his imagination, as M. Autran has told us. He not only was unable to see things as they were, but avoided doing so. Thus, Graziella, the sweet Sicilian girl who died of grief when he was recalled by his family to France, after long residence with her family, was not really a coral-worker, but a 'hand' in a cigar factory. He tells us himself in a later work that he changed the name of her occupation, because it was unpoetical in the history of his love which he composed in after years. We feel indignant as we read this, since he set it as fact before his readers, and resent his evident belief that he had atoned for all which she suffered by the exquisite verses written by him to her memory. They deserve to be quoted at length, but we can only give an extract.
“ Sur la plage sonore, où la mer de Sorrente
Je veux rêver, et non pleurer !” It must be in connection with his shrinking from facts, in idealising his own conduct, that a want of manliness, a faint-hearted depression is felt in Lamartine's poems; and we notice in all the later ones that pantheism which loses the Creator in the creation. His God, he tells us, is
« Dans ces sons, ces parfums, ces silences des cieux,
Dans ces ombres du soir, qui des hauts lieux descendent,
Plus haut que la pensée et plus loin que les yeux." His Recueillements are inferior to the Méditations ; he repeats himself, beautifully indeed, but it is unmistakable repetition. In Jocelyn, the supposed journal of a village priest, he attempts a more sustained flight; it is a novel in verge, such as we have had in Aurora Leigh and Lucille. But it is more than this; it was felt at once to be a most eloquent protest against the enforced celibacy of the clergy, and treats
-although the author expressly disclaims any intention of writing controversy—of many religious and social questions which have been better discussed by others in prose ; but though these might be spared, the poem abounds in striking passages and beautiful descriptions. Jocelyn tells his own story. To leave his share of the family fortune to his sister, too poor otherwise to marry, the lad of sixteen determines to be a priest. Lamartine tells us that in his hero he painted all which he himself had felt of suppressed soul fervour, pious enthusiasm which found an outlet in soaring thoughts, outpourings, and tears of adoration before God, during the fervid years of youth passed in a seminary.'
The Revolution drives Jocelyn to seek refuge in a cave in the Alps of Dauphiné, his vows yet unspoken; another fugitive, introduced to us as a boy named Laurence, joins him there, and a year is spent in the happiest friendship before Jocelyn discovers that he has sheltered a young girl, who had concealed her sex by her dying father's desire. They love and plight troth, waiting until calmer times to marry. But a message reaches Jocelyn from his bishop, summoning him to Grenoble, where he goes at the hazard of his life, to find the bishop in prison, and himself sent for to receive ordination at the hands of the captive priest, that he may be able to administer the sacrament and receive confession before the bishop passes to death. In vain Jocelyn pleads; his supplications are disdained, his love looked on as weakness, if not sin ; the bishop is fanatically resolved on his ordination. Religious selfishness is no doubt as common and more intense than any other, but this scene strikes us as unnatural ; we have had no previous knowledge of the bishop such as would have prepared us for his immense egotism, cloaked by so-called piety. Jocelyn is cowed by his threats and warnings, and yields, forgetful that he has no right to sacrifice Laurence, any more than the bishop has a right to demand the sacrifice. We cannot sympathise with either the pitiless priest or the youth who feebly submits, for even the point of view taken by the former, to receive absolution and to communicate, could not have been absolutely necessary to ensure salvation, or what would have become of countless believers, martyrs, and others, who have perforce died without either? Laurence is heartbroken at the desertion of Jocelyn, and we meet her again as a reckless woman, her fair name gone. A sentimental repentance closes her career; she returns to her Alpine refuge twelve years later, to die. Jocelyn, we hear, finds consolation in devoting himself to the
We wonder what he found to say to them? The poem is so bitter, so mournful and vague in its Christianity, that we must doubt whether Jocelyn could give comfort to others which he evidently did not feel himself.
Of La Chute d'un Ange it is needless to say much. With all the lovely passages scattered through it, the poem was a failure, and deserved to fail.
As for the historical works of Lamartine, perhaps they were never better judged than by Dumas, when he exclaimed with enthusiasm, not unmingled with malice, “You have elevated history to the level of romance!'
The speech was especially piquant from the lips of the great romancer, who, more than any one else, has audaciously altered history to suit himself. Those who recollect the vehement protest once uttered by Lamartine against whitewashing and embellishing the leaders of the Revolution, must marvel when they read his Girondins. But the instinct of the poet was contrary to the duty of giving a true account
poor and sad.
of the coarse atrocities of the Revolution, while fairly stating facts which explain, if they cannot excuse, them. He writes with a constant appeal to the imagination of his readers, and, forgetting that it is no light thing to lessen men's horror of crime, smoothes down ugly deeds, and idealises those who performed them. We have the same school of writers among ourselves, whose chief aim seems picturesqueness; and charming as such works are to read, they are peculiarly dangerous, as chiefly attractive to those who have read little other history. In Lamartine’s Voyage en Orient we find this tendency strongly marked; the real Turk by no means realising his ideal, he creates an imaginary one, much more deserving to dwell in the clime of the sun. It is evident that Lamartine's early training had done nothing to counteract this dreamy reluctance to look truth in the face, on wbich his abhorrence of the exact sciences is a curious comment. In Les Girondins, yet more than in the Voyage en Orient, we have the same Lamartine who, as Autran tells us, would pause enraptured before a pond with a couple of ducks on it, and exclaim, 'A scene for Poussin l' and who, in defiance of existing portraits, and the recollections of all her friends, persists in describing Madame Roland with a Greek nose! This indifference to truth in things large and small, renders Lamartine peculiarly unfit to write history, and his inexactness is fatal; there is scarcely a single date in his History of Turkey; no sense that, to use Burke's words, the present has its root in the past.' And Les Girondins is full of errors. We need only refer to the description of Maria Theresa presenting her children to her Hungarian nobles in 1741. Marie Antoinette was not born until 1755.* This sense of unreality haunts us in all his prose works, making us uneasy and suspicious notwithstanding their charm. It is indeed a deep fault. Indifference to truth not only makes him who encourages it an untrustworthy guide, but wilful 'error in the intellect always involves an ultimate error in the life and in the will.'
HEROISM: A THOUGHT.
For fields of fine romance which no day brings;
A multitude of unromantic things.
Shall gild the common-place of common days,
E. C. LEFROY, B.A.
The best description of a picture follows. Bath Brick's of Luni's
fresco is excellent; Novice's Huguenot is very good, though she is hard on the poor little lady; Annie Laurie is the same; May, on the Knight of Death, is good, but the recent authorities do not believe in poor Frau Dürer's iniquities; the Muffin Man chose well in Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, so did Ant in the Madonna di San Sisto; but the first seems not to know that all the Apostles are distinguishable, and the other does not name S. Sextus and S. Barbara ; Chloe has Doré's Crown of Thorns ; Woodpigeon, Guido's Annunciation ; Chipmunk, The Martyrdom of S. Sebastian ; Meg, Mass in the Reign of Terror; Rafela, Luff! Boy! A Bee, No place like home.
THE ADORATION OF THE IMMACULATE LAMB.
• The saint and the painter together,
Saw and depicted
Five wounds flowing of mercy,
Life in the garden.' That must bave been a glad day for John van Eyck, when, in 1432 he beheld for the first time his masterpiece set up over the high altar of the cathedral of S. Bavon at Ghent. A grand day it was for the old Flemish city, and for the cathedral clergy who became possessed of a picture whose fame should be co-extensive with the history of art, almost with that of Christianity; and a proud day for the burgomaster, Judocus Vyt, and his wife, the donors of the picture, whose fulllength figures, with those of their patrons the two Scriptural S. Johns, occupied the four panels of the lower wings, which till opened, of course displayed only the reverses. And yet the great painter's triumph must have been tempered by sadness as he remembered the master-hand which had begun that picture. His elder brother and master, Hubert, had gone to his rest six years before, and in their old home at Maaseyck, and in their subsequent work at Bruges and Ghent, the brothers seem to have been singularly united. Together they discovered that durable method of oil-painting which, as Vasari says, every painter in the world had long desired.' This beautiful and elaborate picture was the outcome of twelve years' thought and labour ; but ere it was more than half completed, Hubert had passed from earthly types and figures to the eternal adoration of that Immaculate Lamb, whose worship he had so devoutly endeavoured to set forth here. And now at the moment of completion John had paused, and in the inscription on the picture given the credit to his brother,
*Pictor Hubertus e Eyck,' major quo nenio repertus
Vers V seXta Mal Vos CoLLoCat aСta t Ver 1.'