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invective against the English aristocracy, going to be happy. Don't drive me to de. And if you took the story au pied du let- spair. Dea! I have done nothing to you !
“ These words were not spoken, but sobbed tre, and admitted all the assertions and
You felt in them a mingling of prostraassumptions of the author, no doubt you tion and revolt. There issued from the bosom would be sufficiently impressed. Possi- of Gwynplaine a groan that would have drawn bly his countrymen may think it a power- the doves to him, and a roar that would have ful novel; but to an Englishman it is made the lions shrink back.
Dea answered him in a voice more and ludicrous. You know that the eloquently more indistinct, pausing almost at every word. imaginative author invents the texts he Alas, 'tis useless, my well beloved! I see has determined to preach upon. You you do what you can. An hour ago I was see that his fancy has freely colored longing to die, now I desire it no longer. most of the facts he has not invented. very happy we have been! God had placed
Gwynplaine, my adored Gwynplaine, how You see that the personages he elabo- you in my life ; He takes me away from yours. rates in such circumstantial detail, are You will remember the green box, will you sheer impossibilities. The very names
not? and your poor little blind Dea. You he christens them by wantonly shock
will remember that song of mine. Don't for
get the sound of my voice, and the way I used your sense of the conceivable. Even in
to say, I love you. shall come back to tell the free-and-easy régime of Charles II., you of it in the night when you are sleeping. profligacy was forced to pay some tri- We had found each other again, but the joy
was too great. It had to come to an end im. bute to decency; and the Duchess
mediately,'” &c. Josiane,” though the illegitimate sister of the Queen, would very speedily have If 'L'Homme qui rit’ made us fear been banished to Coventry. Lord David the veteran had outwritten himself, since Dirry-Moir is rather more extravagant the appearance of his admirable 'Quatreas a inan than the Duchess Josiane as a vingt-treize,' we have been eager for an
The ressemblance of the story other novel from his pen. Yet Quatreas a reproduction of English life is vingt-treize' is all thought and action, summed up in the sobriquet his lordship with very little sentiment; and the most rejoiced in-Tom-Jim-Jack.
of the sentiment there is, is born either One is inclined to smile or laugh, of masculine friendship, of the profound from the first page to the last; and instincts of maternity, or of the rough among the choicest caricatures in it, devotion of a savage soldiery to the helpnothing can well be more droll than the less infants they have taken for their account of the boxing-match. For Vic- playthings. Sirange to say, the nearest tor Hugo is by no means free from the approach to a young and attractive foible of his less gifted and less inform- female in the book is the vivandière of a ed countrymen ; and when he has a red battalion of Paris. Nobody falls in glimmer of an idea on an unfamiliar sub- love with anybody else; and Gauvain, ject, he discusses that subject with a the youthful and chivalrous hero, has solemn self-satisfaction which leaves given himself over to his principles, his nothing to desire. At the same time, as duty, and la patrie. At the same time, , we need hardly add, this tissue of absur- there is no lack of interest, and the dities is in a measure redeemed by scenes interest seldom flags. The scheme of the of extraordinary power and passages of book is the development of the conflictsingular beauty,—the storm, for example, ing forces of the old régime and the Rein which the Comprachicos go to the volution. On the one side are loyalty bottom; and the parting of the charm- and the haughty spirit of the feudal seigning blind girl Dea from her mutilated eurie embodied in Lantenac; on the lover, the grinning man. No being other, progress and the cause of humancould more naturally provoke to ridicule ity, championed by Gauvain and the than Gwynplaine ; yet the artificial ab- iron-souled Cimourdain. As for the surdity of his appearance, so irresistible rank and file of the combatants, they are to all' but the blind girl
, heightens the but the pawns on the great chess-board, pathos of the scene. Gwynplaine has set in motion by the conflicting dictatorcome back to Dea, who is dying from ship of remote intelligences. The mass the shock of his disappearance.
of the Royalists are directed by the émi.
grés, and by their English allies, -accord“Dea,' he says, 'all is arranged. We are ing to Victor Hugo ; those of the Re
publicans by that terrible triumvirate in the signal, and the forest was swarming Paris, who hold their stormy meetings in with armed men. The whole of the wara room in a café. It is true that Hugo, fare was a heroic epic, where the assailwith some reason, endows the opposing lants exposed themselves to mysterious armies with different degrees of under- dangers, with extermination for the instanding. He makes the ignorant pea- evitable penalty of their defeat. Nothsants stand desperately in their defence ing could be more ruthless than all the against the vindication of their actual in- conditions; and their author elaborately terests, with those blindly combative in- shows how passions had been embittered stincts that are in one sense bestial to the utmost. But his picture, which While the Parisian recruits of the Repub- it must have been difficult indeed to lic of Terror have had their understand- overcharge, places the formidable qualiings enlightened by the demagogues of ties of his gallant countrymen in a far the capital; and possibly they might act more powerful and effective light than as they think for themselves, were it not those rhapsodies in which it is his pleafor the pressure of a relentless discipline, sure to indulge apropos of nothing in and the presence of those civil represen- particular. tatives, who are virtually the delegates of He shows himself a master of contrast, the guillotine. Yet, on the whole, we may too, in the studies of the three infants honestly confess that he holds a fairly who play so conspicuous a part in the even balance. It is not in his nature to story. The most ferocious of the combe unjust to loyalty and devotion, what- batants, flushed with bloodshed and the ever may be the political ideas they ad- thirst for revenge, submit themselves to vocate ; and his Marquis of Lantenac, the commanding power of helpless and when all has been said, is perhaps the unconscious innocence. Infants as they most sublime figure in the pages of the are, and the children of an ignorant peasnovel. Here, too, his subject is so com- ant woman, he shows his affectionate prehensive, that he can hardly avoid experience of the childish nature by givstudying concentration. No one of his ing each a distinct individuality that episodes can be condemned as irrele- interests. Listen, for exarnple, to the vant; and although those inevitable di- fragments of talk of the hapless vivangressions of his may sometimes be tedi- dière, who is treading on the very brink ous, yet they seldom fail to converge of her grave, as she threads her way upon his points.
through the thickets with the mother He is in his element when he takes us and the babes. on a survey of the ground that is covered
"Come along, then, René-Jean.' by the strategy of that strange cam- “ • It's he all the same that keeps us back. paign. Such strongholds as the forts of He will be stopping to speak to all the little Brest and L'Orient were garrisoned by peasant girls one meets, Ca fait son homme.' the forces of the Republic; but the real
Dame, he's close upon five.' defences of Brittany lay in its trackless
Dis-donc, René-Jean, why did you speak
to that little girl in the village?' forests. Stretching for leagues on
“A childish voice, the voice of a boy, leagues in a tangle of inextricable thick- answeredets, each of these had to be cerné and * Because it's somebody I know.'
" The woman resumed guarded, if the communications of the
«• What ! you know her?' Republican advance were to be secured.
“Yes,' replied the little boy ; 'for she gave You may say
me some beasts this morning. forest-war, that was waged by mine and “ • Voila! qui est fort ! exclaimed the countermine. For additional security woman.
‘Here it's only three days that we
have been in the country. It's no bigger than the peasant irregulars burrowed away
my fist, et ça vous a déjà une amoureuse !'” below ground. Vast subterráneous caverns were excavated, and the issues Then we have that inevitable scene in from them were carefully and artisti- the tower of La Tourgue, where the cally sealed. The covert might be close- babes waken on the morning of the conly beaten without discovering a sign flagration from which they have of an enemy; yet whenever the explor- narrow an escape. The incident is long, ing force had withdrawn, the insur- but not a line too long to our fancy; gent leader had. but to send round but we can only extract one little bit of
it, which may mean more or less accord- that he is the champion of a great but ing as it strikes the reader.
desperate cause, while he has satisfied "The two eldest, René-Jean and Gros. himself that his only chance of victory Alain, had paid no attention to the trumpet lies in showing himself consistently and the clarion. They were absorbed 'in relentless. All at once he is face to face something else, ---a wood-louse was in course with a dilemma. It rests with him, and of crossing the library. “Gros-Alain saw it, and cried out
with him alone, to save the lives of three “* A beast!'
innocent children; but their salvation “René-Jean ran up.
involves the sacrifice of himself. That "Gros-Álain resumed; It bites.'
direct consideration weighs for nothing "Don't hurt it,' said René-Jean.
“ And both of them set to work to watch with him. But the sacrifice of himself the passenger (passant).
is treason to the cause whose success “As for Georgette, she had finished her seems inextricably bound up in his safe. soup. She was looking after her brother, ty. Nay, more ; should he show weakRené-Jean and Gros-Alain were in the recess
ness now and compromise his mission, of a window, stooping down and serious over the wood-louse. Their foreheads touch- all the former deeds he has done on a ed, and their locks tumbled through each principle, must change their character other's. They held their breath in wonder, and become crimes that might have and regarded the insect, that had come to a been avoided. The conflict in that stop and did not stir, anything but gratified by stern and conscientious nature is rather so much admiration.
"Georgette, seeing her brothers in contem- indicated than analysed. But there is plation, longed to know what was the matter, short space left for decision, and the It was far from easy getting to them; how. turmoil by which he was agitated must ever, she undertook it. The passage bristled have been the more violent for its brewith difficulties. There were lots of things vity. It is hard to say, whether he of paper, packing-boxes, unnailed and empty, showed himself consistent in the resolutrunks, heaps of one kind or another, round tion he came to; but happily the most which she must pick her way—a whole archi- austere of men have their passing mopelago of shoals. Georgette ventured it. She began by getting out of her cradle-the
menis of gentleness; and when Lanfirst labor. Then she engaged herself among
tenac comes down through the flames the reefs, wound her way through the narrows, holding the infants in his arms, we feel crawled between a couple of chests, passed at once that the chief we had iaken for over a pile of papers, clinging fast to one side, a monster, has been brought within the rolling over on the other," &c., &c.
pale of our sympathies and the category It is the almost miraculous rescue of of our fellow-creatures. these children that gives us the mea- His kinsman Gauvain, head of a sure of the grandeur of Lantenac, and younger branch of their house, the man excites a human sympathy in his fate. of those new ideas to which he gives the Hitherto admiration has been over- humane interpretation of a chivalrous powered by repulsion. The veteran roué soldier, is what Lantenac might have become the terrible leader of guerillas, been with a different training. By the has scarcely redeemed the fredaines of his ironie sanglante of the civil war the youth and manhood by the prowess of nephew is opposed in mortal combat to his almost superhuman inflexibility. His the uncle who had played with him as a royalist principles are a fetish to which boy. These old family memories have he sacrifices remorselessly. He does the half faded from the recollections of the greater violence to our sense of human- hard old worldling, though they are ity, that he has chosen his own ancestral revived on occasion when he is taunting domains as the theatre of some of his the other. Each of the chiefs proscribes most ruthless actions. It is true that he the leader of the opposing forces-one is as regardless of his own life as of the with the courteous though cruel circumlives of others; but, after all, almost as locution of the aristocratic régime, the much can be said for nineteen-twen- other with the blunt abruptness of the tieths of the rude peasants who have executioners of the Republic. And probeagerly answered his call to arms. If he ably, though Gauvain is ill-regarded at has a trace of ordinary humanity about Paris on account of his clemency, and him, as yet we have seen no sign of it. though he has only been left in his comHis only conceivable excuse must be, mand because of his skill and daring, he NEW SERIES.- VOL. XXVI., No. 4
would have given effect to the bloody as each feels that aváykn is weighing on letter of his proclamation had Lantenac him, and that this heart-rending affliction come into his hands by the ordinary was not to have been avoided. And chances of war. But when Lantenac then it is that on the morrow, on the falls a victim to a sublime impulse of discharge of the firing-party, Cimourdain unexpected humanity, the situation is puts an end to his existence. abruptly changed. Cimourdain had No one but a profound student of the made the seizure, and Lantenac himself human mind, and a thinker who is a had approved it; and convictions of his master of the eloquence of language, strict duty would have made Gauvain could have handled so difficult a theme pitiless. But he is placed in turn in a without inviting discomfiture. Victor position very similar to that of his Hugo was treading on the edge of an uncle ; and in spite of convictions and abyss, where a single slip or false step scruples of duty, his chivalrous compas might have landed him in a bathos of sion speaks to him imperatively. One melodrama. But, as we have remarked can conceive the dramatic situations that at the outset, he is capable of tours de arise out of the complication. Gauvain force, which would prepare inevitable assists his uncle's escape, and offers him- failure for ordinary talents; and in this self as the scapegoat to Cimourdain, who instance, at least, his success has justirepresents the justice of the inexorable fied his daring. To borrow a favorite Republic. Cimourdain's position is even idea of his own, he is unquestionably more painful than that of either of the one of the Titans of literature. When others. He would gladly give his life he breaks down, it is either from carelessfor his darling pupil, but that, unhappily, ness or on a principle, or from the overis impossible. On the contrary, he sends confidence that is born of the conto announce the impending execution to sciousness of his strength. Like many the heads of the Republic at Paris even men of genius, he has the conviction of before the court-martial has assembled. a mission, in which he must be instant His voice gives the casting vote that in season and out of season ; and, undecides the sentence he has anticipated. happily, instead of confining himself to Then he visits Gauvain in the condemned the limits of his art, he will expend himcell, where they hold philosophical con· self in Titanic exertions to set the world verse on political affairs, without an in order.-Blackwood's Magazine. arrière-pensée of bitterness on either side
ON SOME ASTRONOMICAL PARADOXES.
BY RICHARD A. PROCTOR, B.A., F.R.S.
For many years the late Professor De clined further controversy. Paradoxists Morgan contributed to the columns of of the ignorant sort (for it must be rethe Athenæum’ a series of papers in membered that not all are ignorant) are, which he dealt with the strange treatises indeed, well practised in abuse, and have in which the earth is flattened, the circle long learned to call mathematicians and squared, the angle divided into three, astronomers cheats and charlatans. They the cube doubled (the famous problem freely used their vocabulary for the bewhich the Delphic oracle set astrono- nefit of De Morgan, whom they demers), and the whole of modern astrono- nounced as a scurrilous scribbler, a demy shown to be a delusion and a snare. famatory, dishonest, abusive, ungentleHe treated these works in a quaint manly, and libellous trickster. fashion, not unkindly, for his was a He bore this shower of abuse with kindly nature; not even earnestly, exceeding patience and good nature. He though he was thoroughly in earnest- had not been wholly unprepared for it, yet in such sort as to rouse the indigna- in fact; and, as he had a purpose in tion of the unfortunate paradoxists. He dealing with the paradoxists, he was satwas abused roundly for what he said, isfied to continue that quiet analysis of but much more roundly when he de- their work which so roused their indig
nation. He found in them a curious the difficulties which Ptolemy met and subject of study; and he found an dealt with-free, therefore, because of equally curious subject of study in their his perfect ignorance, to form theories disciples. The simpler--not to say at which Ptolemy would have smiled. more foolish-paradoxists, whose won He has probably heard of the derful discoveries are merely amazing
centrics and eccentrics scribbled o'er misapprehensions, were even more inter- Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb, esting to De Morgan than the craftier which disfigured the theories of the ansort who make a living, or try to make cients ; but he is quite unconscious that a living, out of their pretended theories. Indeed, these last he treated, as they de- every one of those scribblings had a real served, with a scathing satire quite dif- meaning, each being intended to account ferent from his humorous and not unge
for some observed peculiarity of planetnial comments on the wonderful theo- for by any theory which is to claim ac
ary motion, which must be accounted ries of the honest paradoxists.
There is one special use to which the ceptance. In this happy unconsciousstudy of paradox-literature may be ap: quiring explanation, knowing nothing of
ness that there are any peculiarities replied, which—so far as I know-has not the strange paths which the planets are hitherto been much attended to. It may
seen to follow on the heavenly vault, be questioned whether half the strange notions into which paradoxists fall must Their wand'ring course now high, now low, not be ascribed to the vagueness of too
then hid, many of our scientific treatises. A half
Progressive, retrograde, or standing still, understood explanation, or a carelessly he placidly puts forward-and presently worded account of some natural pheno- very vehemently urges-a theory which menon, leads the paradoxist, whose na accounts for none of these things. ture is compounded of conceit and sim It has often seemed to me that a large plicity, to originate a theory of his own part of the mischief-for let it be reon the subject. Once such a theory has membered that the published errors of been devised, it takes complete posses the paradoxist are indicative of much sion of the paradoxist's mind. All the unpublished misapprehension - arises facts he thenceforward hears of, which from the undeserved contempt with bear in the least on his favorite craze, which our books of astronomy too often appear to give evidence in its favor, treat the labors of Ptolemy, Tycho even though in reality they are most ob- Brahe, and others who advocated erroviously opposed to it. He learns to look neous theories. If the simple truth were upon himself as an unappreciated New- told, that the theory of Ptolemy was a ton, and to see the bitterest malevolence masterpiece of ingenuity and that it was in those who venture to question his pre- worked out by his followers in a way posterous notions. He is fortunate if he which merits the highest possible praise, do not suffer his theories to withdraw while the theory of Tycho Brahe was him from his means of earning a liveli- placed in reality on a sounder basis than hood, or if he do not waste his substance that of Copernicus, and accounted as in propounding and defending them. well and as simply for observed appear
One of the favorite subjects for para- ances, the student would begin to realise dox-forming is the accepted theory of the noble nature of the problem which the solar system. Our books on astro- those great astronomers dealt with. And nomy too often present this theory in again, if stress were laid upon the fact such sort that it seems only a successor that Tycho Brahe devoted years upon of Ptolemy's; and the impression is con- years of his life to secure such observaveyed that, like Ptolemy's, it may be one tions of the planets as might settle the day superseded by some other theory. questions at issue, the student would This is quite enough for the paradoxist. learn something of the spirit in which If a new theory is to replace the one the true lover of science proceeds. It now accepted, why should not he be the seems to me, also, that far too little is new Copernicus ?' He starts upon the said about the kind of work by which road without a tithe of the knowledge Kepler and Newton finally established that old Ptolemy possessed, unaware of the accepted theories. There is a