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Bathsheba's face. “I am sorry we mistook you so ! I did come into my eyes,” she said, a smile shining through the think you cared for him ; but I see you don't now.”
moisture. “Try to think him a good man, won't you, dear “Shut the door, Liddy."
Liddy?” Liddy closed the door, and went on: “ People always “I will, miss, indeed.” - says such foolery, miss. I'll make answer hencefor'ard, “ He is a sort of steady man in a wild way, you know.
Of course a lady like Miss Everdene can't love him ;' That's better than to be as some are, wild in a steady way. I'll say it out in plain black and white."
I am afraid that's how I am. And promise me to keep my Bathsheba burst out : “ Oh, Liddy, are you such a sim secret — do, Liddy! And do not let them know that I pleton! Can't you read riddles ? Can't you see! Are have been crying about him, because it will be dreadful for you a woman yourself !”
me, and no good to him, poor thing!” Liddy's clear eyes rounded with wonderment.
“Death's head himself shan't wring it from me, mistress, “Yes, you must be a blind thing, Liddy!” she said, in if I've a mind to keep anything, and I'll always be your reckless abandonment and grief. “Oh, I love him to very friend,” replied Liddy, emphatically, at the same time distraction and misery and agony. Don't be frightened bringing a few more tears into her own eyes, not from any at me, though perhaps I am enough to frighten any inno particular necessity, but from an artistic sense of making cent woman. Come closer - closer.” She put her arms herself in keeping with the remainder of the picture, which round Liddy's neck. “I must let it out to somebody ; it seems to influence women at such times. “I think God is wearing me away. Don't you yet know enough of me likes us to be good friends, don't you?” to see through that miserable denial of mine ? O God, “Indeed I do." what a lie, it was! Heaven and my Love forgive me. “ And, dear miss, you won't harry me and storm at me, And don't you know that a woman who loves at all thinks will you ? because you seem to swell so tall as a lion then, nothing of perjury when it is balanced against her love ? | and it frightens me. Do you know, I fancy you would be There, go out of the room; I want to be quite alone.” a match for any man when you are in one o' your takLiddy went towards the door.
ings." “Liddy, come here. Solemnly swear to me that he's “Never! do you?” said Bathsheba, slightly laughing, not a bad man : that it is all lies they say about him!”. though somewhat seriously alarmed by this Amazonian “But, miss, how can I say he is not if ”
picture of herself. “I hope I am not a bold sort of maid “You graceless girl! How can you have the cruel heart - mannish ?" she continued, with some anxiety to repeat what they say ? Unfeeling thing that you are “Oh no, not mannish ; but so almighty womanish that ..... But I'll see if you or anybody else in the village | 'tis getting on that way sometimes. Ah! miss,” she said, or town either, dare do such a thing !” She started off, after having drawn her breath very sadly in and sent it pacing from fire-place to door, and back again.
| very sadly out, “I wish I had half your failing that way. “ No, miss. I don't - I know it is not true," said 'Tis a great protection to a poor maid in these days !”. Liddy, frightened at Bathsheba's unwonted vehemence.
(To be continued.) - “I suppose you only agree with me like that to please
me. But, Liddy, he cannot be bad, as is said. Do you
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY. “And you don't believe he is ?”
“ I don't know what to say, miss," said Liddy, beginning ECLIPSES, comets, and extraordinarily high tides can be to cry. “If I say No, you don't believe me; and if I say predicted with accuracy; there even seems to be a probaYes, you rage at me.”
bility that in time the weather will also strike its flag to " Say you don't believe it — say you don't !”
science, and that means will be found of disentangling the “I don't believe him to be so bad as they make out." conflicting influences which send an aneroid up and down.
“He is not bad at all. .... My poor life and heart, But in the art of foretelling the probable current of public how weak I am !” she moaned, in a relaxed, desultory way, enthusiasm there is no sign of progress. The keenest obheedless of Liddy's presence. « Oh, how I wish I had server of human nature can no more guess whether the canever seen him ! Loving is misery for women always. I reer of any particular suitor, warrior, explorer, or criminal shall never forgive my Maker for making me a woman, and will simply appear in the newspapers and excite no more dearly am I beginning to pay for the honor of owning a attention, or will be generally taken up as a matter of napretty face." She freshened and turned to Liddy sud tional importance, than the merest tyro can. It was more denly. “Mind this, Lydia Smallbury, if you repeat any than a million to one that Robert Jeffrey's wrongs would where a single word of what I have said to you inside this remain unnoticed, or raise but a feeble and passing interest. closed door, I'll never trust you, or love you, or have you He became a popular idol, however, — a representative with me a moment longer - not a moment."
victim of the press-gang system, and the tyrannical cus“I don't want to repeat anything," said Liddy with toms which naturally grew out of it, and so a very curious womanly dignity of a diminutive order; “ but I don't wish story has been handed down to us. 3 to stay with you. And, if you please, I'll go at the end of In 1807 a privateer named the Lord Nelson was fitted at the harvest, or this week, or to-day .... I don't see that
Polperro in Cornwall, a place famous for its hardy race of I deserve to be put upon and stormed at for nothing !” smugglers, the entire population being brought up to look concluded the small woman, bigly.
upon coast-guardsmen as natural enemies, who might be “No, no, Liddy : you must stay !” said Bathsheba, killed with as good a conscience as though they were dropping from haughtiness to entreaty with capricious in Frenchmen. The profits of privateering were often greater consequence. “ You must not notice my being in a tak even than those of smuggling, and the Lord Nelson had no ing just now. You are not as a servant — you are a com difficulty in gathering together a first-rate crew. Amongst panion to me. Dear, dear -I don't know what I am them was a man who had been brought up as a blackdoing since this miserable ache o' my heart has weighted smith, but had found both excitement and profit in an ocand worn upon me so. What shall I come to! I suppose casional sea-trip, and indeed was as good at the tiller as at I shall die quite young. Yes, I know I shall. I wonder
the forge, perhaps a trifle better. The name of this amsometimes it I ain doomed to die in the Union. I am phibious Cornishman was Robert Jeffrey, and his career as friendless enough, God knows."
a privateersman was a short one; for the Lord Nelson, at “I won't notice anything, nor will I leave you !” sobbed the very commencement of her cruise, was forced to put Liddy impulsively putting up her lips to Bathsheba's and into Falmouth, where she was boarded by a press-gang. kissing her.
It was a perfectly illegal proceeding; the press-gang had Then Bathsheba kissed Liddy, and all was smooth no more right to take a man out of the Lord Nelson, than again.
you or I have to break into a house and take the plate* I don't often cry, do I, Lidd ? but you have made tears basket. But at the commencement of this century private
rights were very little respected where the public service By this time the sun had sunk, and when the boat returned was concerned, unless the person whom it was proposed to to the ship it left the poor fellow behind, alone, in the injure bad plenty of money or political influence. Robert dark. Jeffrey had neither, and he was carried on board H. M. S. He fully believed that the captain only meant to frightes Recruit, and converted into a man-of-war's-man quite him, and bore up pretty well through the night with that against bis will, and in defiance of his clear and undoubted idea. But when the morning dawned the Recruit was a protection.
| mere speck in the distance, which slowly but surely passed The commander of the Recruit was a young officer at away beyond the horizon. Then the unhappy man realthat time well known in the navy as a reckless, self-willed, ized that he was a castaway. passionate man, the foibles of whose nature were forced and The Recruit, indeed, had caught a favoring breeze, which exasperated by despotic powers and drinking habits. As carried her quickly to Barbadoes, where she joined the if his normal thirst were not enough, he was now sent to squadron under Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane. Here cruise in the Caribbean Sea, where the heat of the sun officers and crew, mingling with those of other ships, spoke whetted it to such an extent that he was seldom or ever freely of the affair, which presently reached the admiral's sober, the mildest potation that he used to quench it being ears, who sent for the captain, questioned him, and finding spruce-beer, of which he kept a cask always on tap in his the story true, severely reprimanded him for his brutality, private cabin,
and ordered him back to rescue the man. Before he had been on board many days, Jeffrey's pro- | The island upon which Jeffrey had been so barbarously ficiency as a smith was discovered, and he was made ar left was one of the Leeward group, a desolate rock called morer's mate. So that there was a fair chance of his Sombrero, and the Recruit got back to it just a fortnigbt making his enforced trip pretty comfortably, and return after the event. » A careful search was instituted, but all ing after a few months to his native place with a pocketful that was found was a pair of trousers, not Jeffrey's and a of prize-money after all. But an unfortunate group of cir tomahawk handle, no trace of the missing man being discumstances got in the way. The captain was not the only coverable. thirsty man in the ship; his armorer's mate, for example, This result being reported on the ship's return to Barbaoccasionally had a drought upon him, which was consider does, Sir Alexander Cochrane felt satisfied that the man ably aggravated by the extremely hot weather and the had been rescued by some passing vessel, and let the matsmall allowance of water served out daily, for the ship was ter rest for the time. But a good many formed a different running short of that treasure which we never prize while opinion, and suspected that Jeffrey had come to some viowe have it. During this state of affairs, Jeffrey was sent lent end; and when the squadron returned to England the to execute some job in the captain's cabin, and being left affair was taken up by people at home, and made so alone with the barrel of spruce-beer, he began to ogle it. / much noise that, after two years had elapsed, the captain There was a drinking-cup, which had been used, lying very l was brought to a court-martial, condemned, and dismissed handy ; the captain was on deck; no one could see him; the service. This, however, instead of appeasing the pubhe was very thirsty! He snatched up the cup, and de- lic excitement, only inflamed it the more, by the authentic sisted from his work a moment to draw off half a pint and details which were brought to light in the course of the toss it down. Very good it was, and very refreshing: if court-martial. The illegality of the man's having been stolen waters are sweet, what must purloined spruce-beer pressed at all — the veniality of his offence, especially conbe? Presently another drink was taken, with equal suc sidering the circumstances of thirst caused by short allow. cess. A third, however, was spoiled by the thick and ance of water in so hot a climate, and the ready temptation wrathful voice of his captain, who had come below unbeard, to appease it placed directly in his way, combined with the unnoticed, in time to witness this outrageous act of daring inhuman cruelty of his abandonment to stir the public inpresumption. It would burn a hole in the paper to write | dignation. Meetings were held, articles written, petitions down Captain Lake's remarks upon the occasion. Seventy signed, urging the propriety of endeavoring by all means years ago, all gentlemen swore a little ; naval officers swore to discover what had become of the missing man; and Sir very much, increasing in vehemence as they rose in rank; / Francis Burdett lost no opportunity of keeping the quesmen in liquor swore, as at the present day, hardest of all. tion before Government, in the House of Commons. You may imagine, then, what the language of a drunken Illegal pressings, keel-haulings, floggings to death were sea-captain must have been, when he saw his beloved not so very uncommon in the navy at that time as to acspruce-beer flowing down the throat of a common armorer's count for the usually indifferent public's espousing Robert mate! That audacious wretch was clapped in irons pres- Jeffrey's cause so warmly; but it did so, and made a rep ently, while his infuriated commander, having refreshed resentative man of him. himself, returned to the deck, which he paced with un The first authentic news came from George Hassel, steady steps, revolving in his mind what punishment would mariner, who deposed on oath before the Mayor of Liverbe sufficient for a crime so heinous. It ought to be some pool that he had just returned from Beverly, a town in thing unusual, startling, appalling as the act which it Massachusetts, and that a man was living there who was avenged. Suddenly his eyes caught sight of a small isl nicknamed the Governor of Sombrero, whose real name and, now turned into a jewel by the rays of the sun, which was Jeffrey. Whereupon this Jeffrey was communicated was sinking in the west, and the inspiration came.
with, and in due time a letter in reply purporting to come “ Lieutenant !” he cried.
from him was received, giving a full account of his adven. “Sir?”
ture. “ Man the gig, and send for that fellow I have had con When the Recruit had quite disappeared, he remained fined.”
for some time overwhelmed with despair, but after a while It was done, and then, to the lieutenant's horror, his su he grew calm, and felt very hungry, so he explored his isl: perior officer ordered him to take the prisoner, land him on and to see if there was anything to eat upon it, but could the barren rock, and leave him. “I'll have no thieves on find nothing except birds, which flew away, as birds will, board my ship,” he said.
when he tried to catch them. At last he discovered an The captain was evidently the worse for drink, and his egg, but, alas ! it was an election egg — a very good mislieutenant hesitated.
sile, but not edible. Soon, however, the pangs of hunger “Do you hear me, sir ? " thundered the astonished com- gave place to the severer sufferings of thirst, which be mander; and discipline prevailed. Deeply as he loathed tried to appease by swallowing the sea water, and that of the act, the lieutenant had no option but to obey; the crew, course made matters worse. But Heaven, more merciful though they murmured, did not mutiny, and Robert Jeff than man, sent him a shower of rain, which lodged in the rey was put ashore without food or drink. He had his crevices of the rocks, and inflicted the punishment of Tanknife, and one sailor gave him a handkerchief, and another talus upon him until he thought of cutting the quills, of a long stick which he had thought to throw into the boat which there were plenty strewn about, and sucking up tbe as they shoved off, for the deserted man to signal with. l puddles as we moderns do sherry cobblers.
In addition to hunger and thirst, he endured the agony | into the real character of their writers. None, however, deof hope deferred, for ships were constantly passing, but served more study than those of the late Prosper Mérimée, failed to see his signals till the ninth day, when some one and critics of both countries have paid a deserving homage on board the Adams, an American schooner, noticed him to these confidences of a complex genius. The Revue des waving the stick to which his handkerchief was tied. Deux Mondes and the Quarterly Review have in turns given The master, John Dennis, sent a boat, and brought him off exhaustive treatments of the subject. Nor should we venin an apparently dying state, so exhausted as to be unable ture on reopening a field of speculation that has called forth to speak. With care and kindness, however, he recovered, such universal notice, but that, in our own opinion, there and was carried to Marblehead, in Massachusetts, where is further room for interesting remarks, mainly owing to the be supported himself by his trade as a blacksmith.
scope within which the reviewers of the “ Lettres à une InThis circumstantial account satisfied people at first, but connue" have seen fit to remain. Far from us be the prewhen the letter was shown to Robert Jeffrey's mother she sumptuous thought of analyzing better what others have pointed out that not only was it written in a strange hand, analyzed so ably; our meaning is, that the work has been but that it was not even signed by her son, who could considered rather in regard to its intrinsic merits as a literwrite well enough, and was very unlikely to make his ary production than used as it ought to be, namely, as a key mark, as the man who vouched for the genuineness of this | to a curious psychological study. Some have deprecated the epistle had done. This objection naturally carried weight, / laxity of morals the writer betrays in more than one inand many people suspected that the evidence of Georgel stance; others have taken seriatim divers remarks on men Hassel and of the letter had been got up by the captain, and things, apparently forgetting that many hidden thoughts who was anxious to prove the man to be alive, and so es- that have crossed the minds of most men are consigned to cape from the odium which attached to him.
intimate correspondence — thoughts the author would have Finally a ship was sent to bring this professing Robert been loth to affirm in public; and, to the best of our knowl. Jeffrey to England, where he arrived in due course, and edge, none have allotted to Mérimée the place to which he proved to be the right man safe enough, a certain shyness has a right. Our purpose would be to repair this omis. and diffidence which he felt in the presence of the gentle sion. The readers of Mérimée's critics may still ask in men who had drawn up his report being the cause of his vain : “ Who was he? A vulgar sceptic, or a typical inmaking a cross instead of signing it. He landed at Ports carnation of a time ; a man of genius, or a distinguished mouth in the October of 1810, three years after the event lettré ? What was his influence on his contemporaries, and which had caused him to become a public character. The how will posterity estimate him? And how is it that Admiralty forwarded him under the charge of a naval of- Mérimée attained celebrity of a peculiar kind which far ficer to Polperro, where the entire population recognized surpasses that of geniuses superior to his ?” The following him, and his arrival was made the occasion of great public observations may be useful towards a satisfactory answer. rejoicing.
It was not without reason that the author of the “ Life of But before settling down in his native place he accepted Jesus” recently described Prosper Mérimée as the Petronius an offer from the manager of a London theatre to exhibit of his epoch. He was not merely an eminent man of letters himself for a certain number of nights, and as it became of the ordinary calibre, a novelist, a savant; he was somethe rage to go and see “Jeffrey the Sailor,” he made thing more, a type of the modern race of Frenchmen, a rather a good thing of it. These profits were presently man whose adamantine nature was the receptacle of all swelled by a sum of six hundred pounds, which was paid doubts and disbeliefs. Together with these two illustrious him by the family of the captain in acquittal of all claims sceptics, Sainte-Beuve and Stendhal, he made up a trio he might have against that officer, who was still liable to a | which might well have passed for the treble incarnation of civil action, and in the excited state of public opinion was | baughty and resigned despair. Sainte-Beuve possessed a likely to be cast in heavy damages.
store of amiability which daubed his scepticism with a After the lapse of a few months, when he ceased to pleasant glaze of varnish. Stendhal was, like all those who "draw," Jeffrey returned to Cornwall with money enough have scrutinized the vices of human nature with a magnify. to purchase a coasting schooner; married, and, if this were ing glass, of a dark and desponding mood, corrected by fiction, would have lived happily forever afterwards. But considerable tenderness of heart; but he, Prosper Mérimée, the story being a perfectly true one, Robert Jeffrey was
stood an image of perfection in character, a strong, invulsubject to all those ills which afflict ordinary mortals who
nerable sceptic, whose acquired toughness was proof alike bave never been the subjects of popular sympathy or curi against love and batred — a human Mephistopheles, not of osity.
the capacity of Goethe's, but rather like the evil spirit such He failed to make his schooner pay, and he died early as he has been personified by a famous singer — polished, of consumption, leaving his wife and daughter in great refined, elegant; stabbing with daggers of the finest steel poverty.
and ricbest work, darting a murderous epigram in the choicest language, working the same havoc as the bitter spirit of German creation, but killing, tearing, and wound.
ing with the exquisite politeness of a perfect gentleman. THE REAL PROSPER MÉRIMÉE.
Having so far guarded bimself against the invasion of banality and shown the teeth to most men, he tried his hand at everything, attained perfection in most things, threw
them up in disgust after becoming their master, and one SOME time has gone by since M. Michel Lévy issued,
į day awoke one of the most forlorn of human creatures. under the auspices of M. Taine a posthumous work which
And still Prosper Mérimée was not born what he was herethrew unusual light on the career and peculiar tempera
after. Such sentiments as he possessed and prided on do ment of one of the most remarkable personalities of this
not issue from the cradle. A man gifted with the choicest century. In France, wearied by intestine and foreign war faculties, as Mérimée, must have the embryo of high quali. fare, the sickened mind of the intellectual public bas, for
ties of heart ; and if his judge will take the trouble to follow three long years, given unmistakable tokens of transient
the incidents of the first years of his life, he will soon find sterility; the living appear momentarily incapable of
singular instances in support of this. More than any other, healthy productions. Authors themselves are full of the
a youthful creature owning to an unusual degree the faculty national cares, political fever swamps that moral repose of observation should be attended to by his educators, for, which is needed for meditation, and readers are fain to be content with the literary treasures of the past, whence a
if we judge by the present instance, the slightest lesson
wrongly given and erroneously understood will turn a pre. recent influx of posthumous works, of more or less interest, cocious child into a dire path of thought. M. Taine tells in the shape of private correspondences. The Parisians
us, in his interesting preface, that when he was nine years have had before them letters of Lamartine, letters of Sainte
old Mérimée was scolded by his parents for some trilling Beuve, and of others, all of which afforded a valuable insight I breach of manners, and dismissed from the drawing-room
in an agony of shame. While still in tears at the door, he | Prosper Mérimée seems throughout his existence to have heard his friends laughing and saying: “ Poor child! he been filled with that restlessness which according to Mr. thinks we are very angry.” Even at that tender age he Forster affected Charles Dickens, although his studiou was revolted at the idea of being made a fool of and de care was to conceal any sign of such a disposition, and to ceived, and henceforth he pledged himself to repress his appear a man of marble. He did certainly devote enor. sensibility, to be constantly on guard against enthusiasm mous study to French literature, and especially to contem. and effusion, and to speak and write as if in the presence poraneous productions, but marvellously keen at detecting of a harsh and bitter hearer.
the strings which set the machine in motion, ever intent To this petty occurrence, which would have left but on scanning the details, he ignored their real beauty of little impression on other children, may, on Mérimée's own ensemble, lost sight of the pregnant sides of a work, and admission, be traced the origin of the programme he set to soon wearied of the best. It had been the same with Art: himself to fight his way through life. Hence he studied a a painter of no little ability, he had become convinced of part, and applied his rich gifts of intellect to a manufacture the sterility of the brush, because the purely mechanica! of an artificial self. He curbed his passions, tastes, and side of art had no secret for him. It was the same reason desires under a strong hand; he had a sensitive heart; he which induced him to sift the delicacies of six languages, repressed his sensitiveness so tbat it did not seem to exist; and ransack their literature : occasionally he brought forth later on the artificial process got the better of him, and it a gem and set it in French, adding the perfection of his was really suppressed altogether. His disposition naturally style to some pregnant novelette of Ivan Turgénieff's; tended to affection ; this he concealed in the same way — but eventually he wearied of polyglotism too, and deeming not that he was yet irreclaimable, but, to quote Taine's nothing among the living worthy of notice, he turned his happy metaphor, certain race-horses are so well bred by eyes to the past, and turned the final leaf of his litertheir masters that when they are in hand they dare not ary existence, that of a man who could never apply his indulge in the slightest gambol. So that he entered the talent to the services of a definite idea, who had every lists clad in an inward cuirass which the contact of society | natural element to be bappy apd illustrious, and who was to harden more and more, and bent on regarding the ' failed in being the one and but just attained the other. world much as one contemplates a forest full of murderous | Mérimée henceforward wasted priceless faculties in artistic robbers. He looked about him, and bitterly disposed as attempts which could only be entitled to the place of curihe was he applied himself more to the observation of wbat osities of literature. He doted on imparting life to things is contemptible in human nature than to an appreciation of of the past; he liked to transfer himself, like Théophile its nobler sides. His remarks justified preconceived ideas, Gautier, into the midst of dead civilizations, constructing and from the first, as he said himself, quoting Hamlet, man an admirable story on the sight of an inscription, a ruin, pleased him not, nor woman neither. Let us say, however, using bis acuteness of observation in the framing of types that his contempt for his fellow-creatures came not from a to people the archaic visions he indulged in. He even personal and disparaging comparison with himself, for his went so far as to observe his surroundings merely with the letters to the unknown lady in whom he confided, show that purpose of guessing by means of induction the gait and the shortcomings he despised in others he equally derided | ideas of their predecessors. In this ungrateful labor he in himself. One of his subjects of ironical commentary has shown well enough what he was capable of doing it be was that throughout his life he was credited for qualities had applied himself to the serious analysis of contemporary not his own, while he was blamed for defects which he had characters. Without possessing the intensity of observanot. With such thoughts there was nothing surprising that tion of a Balzac, his intellectual condition might have enhe should adopt as a first fundamental maxim the paradox titled him to a place but just below this great master. And that speech is given to man to conceal his yearnings, and, it is strange and painful to follow him as he sedulously as a second principle, Talleyrand's recommendation to narrows his own scope in art. guard one's self against generous movements because they | All the reasons we have adduced above fatally drove are usually the best.
bim into the rankest egotism which was ever the bane of A natural consequence of this moral perversion was that a writer. His historical works no one, not excluding bimhe affected, in the process of writing, theories of a totally self probably, took a very great interest in ; they are cold different cast from those of others. First of all he and stately – comparable for the matter, if the metaphor examined with a critical eye the manner then predominant be permitted to us, to water contained in the finest Boheamong the finest writers France has produced in this age. | mian glass. As to his essays in fiction it is vastly differThe Romantique renovation was in full efflorescence ; ent. When he has deigned to remain in his own time, Mérimée set at work over dishes of the same taste. A and to pick out his personages and action from modern story is told of an original who stopped to look at one of society, his productions have always been admirable both the hottest street fights of the Revolution of July 1830 ; a in matter and form. His process was much like StendNational guard was obstinately firing on the Royal Suisses hal's. As he wrote for the select (if indeed he ever wrote without the slightest effect, and the stranger was looking for the edification of any one) he disdained the imbroglio on in apparent disgust. Presently he walked up to the of commonplace sentiments, the banalities of ordinary conunsuccessful marksman, took the rifle from his hands, and versation; he obviously aimed at concentration and abridg. volunteered to show how the work should be done ; he fired ment, at probing the acts of man by certain telling featand one of the Suisses fell dead. As he attempted to re-ures of human nature, and, in fact, at leaving much for turn the rifle to its owner, and as the other urged him to the reader to guess by suppressing what vulgarities are keep the weapon he could use so well, the stranger gravely | wearisome to the “profound few.'
wearisome to the “ profound few." This kind of work replied : “ No, thank you; I am a royalist; it isn't my offers equal dangers and advantages; it excludes two opinion.” Likewise Prosper Mérimée joined the Roman thirds of the general readers who may be wanting in the tiques; he wrote Spanish sword and cloak comedies, which quick sagacity requisite for the proper comprehension of the he gave as translations from the text of an unknown genius, author's process, although in the main they may be qualithereby mystifying the public and proving that it was in fied to appreciate the essence of his work; further, it cir. his power to effect the tone and style of the new school as cumscribes the repute of a writer in a narrow circle, and, successfully as the best, although " it was not his opinion.” moreover, such style always tends to fall into obscurity and He tried the trick once more with the same felicitous result enigma. On the other hand, the omission of a great many in La Guzla. And then he gave up romanticism, and took strictly useless details preserves a work from the caprices to writing according to his own ideas, after contemptuously of fashion and change of customs, and “Carmen” and “ Co. observing that such masterpieces as he had achieved only | lomba," free as they are from descriptions of transient and demanded the knowledge of a word or two of a foreign superficial interest, and consisting solely of the condensed language, a sketch-book of a foreign country, and a toler- description of passions and impulses that are eternal, w able style. Nothing could be more withering for himself be eternally useful, just as Shakespeare and Milton are. and others.
These masterpieces are but few in number, and they serve
rather to show what their conceiver might have done tban | ill with him unless he admitted her to his party. All this what he has done.
was going on ashore, our own boat being twenty yards We have now done with Mérimée until we find the new away. The man with the drum was drumming away while and characteristic “ Lettres à une Inconnue." Their liter the woman was remonstrating, and he at last told her with ary merits are of secondary consideration ; suffice it to say, much coolness that he would have nothing of the kind. in departing from the subject once for all, that their form, Upon this, she ran to the boat furthest from the shore and wit, and ingeniosity are paramount. As to the “ Inconnue," jumped into the water, thereby splashing us abominably. there is no need to inquire after her. What is thoroughly Although she had extinguished my cigar, indignation did engrossing is the perusal between the lines of the desolate not prevent me, nor my friends, from saving her before story of unhappiness the great sceptic relates. There are she had swallowed a glassful. The handsome object of expressions for every disgust, words eloquent in their brev- her despair had n't stirred, and he muttered between his ity expressive of deceptions, weariness, ennui; bitter esti teeth, · Why take her out if she wanted to drown herself?' mations of men, impeachments of what he calls human ... The question to which this incident gives rise in my imbecility, contemptuous allusions to his best friends, and mind is, why are the most indifferent men the most hetopping all, a clear disbelief in goodness, and those noble loved ? That is what I should like you to tell me, if you commonplaces, honor, love, chivalry, abnegation. It is worthy of special note, tbat Mérimée is withal open to Such was his opinion on feminine love. Believing as superstition, several instances of this being manifested in he did that a man is no longer cherished from the moment different letters; so strong is the yearning of every one he shows any affection for the woman he distinguishes towards a faith, whatever it may be. We have found but from others, Mérimée probably deemed that the best way one good note 1 in the two volumes of this correspondence ; of avoiding misery and pain was not to love at all. Peras to the harsh ones, they abound; on Frenchmen espec haps the unknown might have replied to his query that ially his satire never tarries : “ The greatest nation in the she used precisely the means alluded to to win her illusworld is made up of a set of scapegraces, inconsistent, trious correspondent's heart; but in any case it may be anti-artistic, illogical, bigoted, and not even possessing the affirmed that she did not succeed. religion that comes from the heart." He was a senator of the Empire, not out of any particular liking for a dynasty
II. or a principle, but because, as he said, " tyrants had over Republicans the advantage of washing their hands; ” in It is within the present writer's recollection to have
his official capacity he was once called upon to make a met Prosper Mérimée at one of those Parisian cafés which -- speech in the Senate, and as it was his first public address form the resort of the pith of the literary world. The she felt rather timorous. “I gained courage,” he writes to place was generally well attended by famous men, but it
the “Inconnue,” “ when I bethought myself that I was was never more crowded than when Mérimée happened to speaking to two hundred fools.”
be there. His brilliancy of conversation, the effective On another occasion he relates to the same person how, manner in which he poured out the overflowing of his wit, answering a toast to European Literature at a dinner of made of him one of the most desirable men of Paris. On the Literary Association, presided over by Lord Palmer this occasion a young sculptor of talent was holding forth ston, he gravely spoke nonsense in English for a quarter on artistic theories, and he came to speak of glory with of an hour, which seemed to be highly appreciated by the the fervency of an adept. “La gloire !” said Mérimée, so-called learned men who listened. Further on, he writes: with a caustic smile. "“ Do you then believe in glory, “You cannot imagine my disgust for our present society; / young man ?” it seems as if it tried, by its stupid combinations, to aug. | This exclamation remained in our memory as the dement the mass of annoyances and troubles which are nec jected profession of faith of a wasted life. Such, indeed, essary to the order of the world.” Speaking of English was Prosper Mérimée's; and it can be safely affirmed that men, he says that individually they are stupid, but as a this unfortunate result was provoked by counteraction whole admirable. Few things, in fact, find grace in his against nature, and the valuable information afforded by eyes. On marriage, he says that nothing is more repul. his correspondence goes to support this view. Throughout sive : “ The Turks, who bargain for a wife as for a fat the emptiness of his life prevails. To sum up, he sisted sheep, are more honest than we Europeans who daub over languages, literatures, and characters ; he studied his this vile transaction with a varnish of hypocrisy but too species in all parts of the globe; and, as a just retribution transparent." It may be seen at this stage how the scep for spurning all subjects of study after devoting his attenticism of the first days has begot a cynic. He might have tion to each, instead of drawing consequences from the sought happiness in union with a lovely and amiable synthesis of things, he sickened, and looked about him for woman (for he was a great favorite with the sex); but he something to love or to like. Failing in his endeavors, he discarded marriage and women by principle. Much of led the brilliant and sterile life of a delicate dés@uvré, and this insensibility is revealed in the following lines : “ The listlessly wandered through the drama of life, obviously other day I went out boating on the Seine. There was a without object, and certainly without desire. What was quantity of small sailing-boats filled with all kinds of peo- | the use for him to apply his energy to some great work ; ple about the river. Another large one was freighted by | to labor for a definite enterprise ? He was a sceptic, and a number of women (of those of the bad tone). All these much of a cynic too ; his soul was as well closed to narboats had gone to the shore, and from the largest emerged | row egotism as to a noble faith in the perfectibility of a man about forty years old, who had a drum, and who human attempts. Vanity he had none; he cared not a drummed away for his own amusement. While I was ad. | wbit for glory. If he achieved a few masterpieces it was miring this lubber's musical dispositions, a woman of about for his amusement, not for others — he despised others too twenty-three comes up to him, calls him a monster, says much for that; and in his sometimes heroic contempt, the that sbe followed him from Paris, and that it would fare trace he would leave of his passage in this world troubled
him but slightly. As most men who look upon the details 1 The passage we allude to has been quoted by the Quarterly Review as of life too critically, he had lost sight of the good features Very cynical. The opinion we hold being somewhat different, the passage should be given: "I went to a ball given by some young men of my ac.
of human nature only to give paramount importance to its quaintance to which all the figurantes of the Opera were invited. These vices. He commenced life on the defensive : suspicion women are mostly stupid ; but I have remarked how superior they are in
bred bitterness; bitterness bred scepticism; scepticism moral delicacy to the men of their class. There is only a single vice which separates them from other women - poverty." The Quarterly goes on to
bred the cynic. It is clear that such negative sentiments Temark that a man must be far gone in cynicism to hazard such & paradox, were not primarily in his heart, and that they derived and that the Unknown" must have been singularly destitute in feminine dignity and self-respect could she have endured to be told that she was
their origin from mistaken notions. It is also clear that only separated from such a class of women by poverty. We hope the this singular man's heart never thrilled with love, and that “Unknown' did endure it and approve of it, for unless the Quarterly has
a fatal distrust, on which we have commented, deprived entirely misunderstood Mérimee's meaning, no worse construction could be put on a very sensible remark.
him of a solace which might have made of him a far differ