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romance the beauty of woman is a spell and a power. It dominates, bewitches, maddens, consoles, inspires, glorifies. It is a counterpoise to the power of princes, stronger than the policy of statesmen. Kings kneel to it, heroes live and die for it. That is the kind of sway Emma would love to dream of; and her beauty served but to procure for her two heartless and vulgar intrigues with a soulless libertine and a pusillanimous sentimentalist. Through all her life the shadow of sordid evil is on her beauty; and after the dreadful death, we are forced to sit beside the corpse through the watches of the night, to mark that this beauty, too, was an illusion that must pass, and with shrinking eyes to observe it under the befouling touch of dissolution.
So again in the matter of incident. After the intoxicating wealth of incident in romance, Flaubert is temperate to the verge of total abstinence. In romance the seemingly most trivial occurrence leads infallibly, through devious and delightful ways, to death or victory. A face seen by chance in a crowd is certain to reappear in the crisis of your fate. One glance from a pair of bright eyes, and you find yourself entangled hand and foot in inextricable and far-reaching threads of crime or conspiracy. A hasty word to a stranger in a tavern, and your humble destiny is interwoven with the plots and passions of queen and cardinal. Wanderings about strange streets and into unknown houses always lead to something fateful,—a glimpse of a girl to be followed and sought thenceforward amid danger and intrigue through mazes of entrancing mystery, or the awakening of some malignant enmity never thereafter to cease to haunt your path. And the infinite delight of it all! Only unfortunately things do not happen so at Tostes or Yonville 1'Abbaye; or if they did, the critical reader would want for it something better than the bare word of the novelist. When Emma goes to the
ball at the Chateau, the scent of the old romance-reader sniffs a plot at last. When she enters with alacrity upon her first flirtation, his nose is down on the trail,—to come to a prompt check, however. The aristocratic admirer of the night before rides by as she is on her way homeward ; and they never meet again. That is not how meetings end in romance. Yet in this meeting there was a fatefulness so awful in its implacable necessity, that beside it the fate of romance is but a playing at fate. The man who flirted with her perhaps never gave her another thought; perhaps recollected his passing attentions as a meritorious act of good-nature to the pretty woman who seemed to know no one of all the company. And he had given a human soul the little determining push over the edge of the inclined plain, down which it must slide through sin and degradation to the self-inflicted death by poison. So it is with the rest of what we must call the incidents of the novel, such as the removal to Yonville, or the first platonic philandering with Leon. This is the only species of incident that Flaubert allows himself. Striking incident or co-incidence would savour of the accidental, would awake suspicion of arrangement of artifice. His incidents must be necessary and inevitable. They can therefore have no decorative or romantic beauty; their interest ispurely tragic; they are but moments in the unfolding of fate in the soul of Emma Bovary.
It is assuredly a sombre and pitiless story; but the truth was that for Flaubert's epoch the satisfying charm of the simpler cadences had been lost by over-much familiarity. No idyllic prettiness of presentation could bring before the mind with the force of Flaubert's irony the romance and passion possible to the dullest human life. Upon her return from the famous ball, the stamp of middle class which was on her husband and her home, the total lack of the style for which she yearned, were to Emma irritating, intolerable, nauseating. And by her side her fond, awkward husband is rubbing his hands with satisfaction at finding himself at home again. Or again later, when Emma has fallen lower, Bovary, returning in the middle of the night from a visit to a patient, is afraid to awake his wife. By the flickering light of the china night-lamp he sees dimly the closed white curtains of bis little daughter's cot by the bedside. He thinks he hears her light breathing, and straightway falls to making plans for her future. He sees the little thing gradually growing up into a girl, into a woman. He will save money and take a little farm in the country. How happy they will be, they three together I When she is fifteen she will be beautiful like her mother, and will wear large straw hats in the summer, so that the two will look like sisters in the distance. And then some good fellow will be found to marry her ; he will make her happy; it will go on like that always. But Emma is not really asleep ; she, too, is dreaming her dream. She has fled with her lover to some strange, new country whence they will never return. They wander and wander silent, entwined in each other's arms. From mountain tops they catch glimpses of foreign-looking towns, with domes, and bridges, and ships, and forests of citron trees, and cathedrals of white marble ; or tbey stand amidst the mingled sounds of bells, and the neighing of mules, and the murmur of guitars, and the splash of fountains, with statues gleaming under their veil of water, the spray sprinkling the fruit piled at their feet; or they are entering a fishing-village in the evening, where the brown nets are drying in the wind along the cliff in front of the huts—somewhere away from this home and this husband in the picturesque realms of romance. And romance, which would have been no dream, lay at her feet in poor Yonville l'Abbaye, only blinded and perverted by the false romantic, she passed it by, and could not see it.
With motherhood might have come the real bliss and glory, which only begin where the romance of art leaves off ; the village idyll is no fiction of literature. Nay the climax of the husband's blundering incapacity, the day of his deepest humiliation, might have been the wife's supreme triumph. There was amongst the Bovarys' acquaintance in Yonville l'Abbaye a man named Homais, an apothecary, a typical specimen of the provincial scientific smatterer. He gets his opinions and his knowledgo readymade from Parisian journals ; and finds a vent for his self-importance in writing letters to the local prints. He reads in a medical paper of a new surgical operation for club-feet. There was a stable-boy at the village inn with a club-foot, and forthwith he scents a promising scheme of selfadvertisement. He writes paragraphs to air his knowledge, hinting that Yonville l'Abbaye is not so far behind Paris in matters scientific and surgical as it is the fashion to suppose. He understands that their clever townsman, M. Bovary, is likely to undertake this famous operation. Unhappy doctor I unhappy cripple! they shrink both equally from the experiment. The boy, having been club-footed from birth was accustomed to his lot, and dreaded the pain and danger; Bovary knew in his heart that he was but a bungler in far less critical operations. Both victims flutter against their fate in vain. The boy is taunted with cowardice, cajoled with flattering promises of straight limbs and maidens' smiles. Bovary, sick at heart with nervous dread, is urged forward by Homais and the talk Homais has evoked. But it is his wife who binds him to the stake. Her romantic sentiment is aroused; if her husband were to become a celebrity, she might almost like him. The operation is performed. After a deceitful appearance of success followed by a sickening interval of suspense, mortification sets in. Another surgeon has to be sent for, and the limb has to
be amputated. Bovary dares not cross the threshold of his house; he cowers inside, his head on his breast, his hands clasped, his eyes fixed; the screams of the boy reach him from across the narrow street. In his misery he turns to his wife for comfort, and she repulses him with passionate contempt. The pain of it all is almost more than we can bear. But with what force the dissonance suggests the might-have-been, the glorious harmony of a true home and true wifehood! Picture the scene with a pitying, comforting, loving wife: the world outside indignant, contemptuous, cruel; inside, husband and wife and love. If, even after her struggles and temptations and sins, Emma had had that grace of womanhood and wifehood left in ber to be stirred by this bitter suffering and had flung her arms about the stan, and bidden the bruised spirit sob itself to rest upon her bosom; even then the seven devils had come out of her, and she had won a crown of everlasting glory. Love had turned the mean surroundings, the stupidity, the suffering, to " a blaze of joy and a crash of
The episode of the club-foot has been 'put in the fore-front of their objections by friends and foes. It has been criticized as a piece of naturalism, as mere ugliness, as but an occasion to indulge in description of painful and unnecessary detail. Flaubert's method of setting everything before the reader as distinct and vivid as language will make it, is, of course, open to serious criticism, when he has to treat of things which are physically or morally revolting. Whether in this episode
the artist has wrung music out of the dissonance, whether out of the strong he has succeeded in bringing forth a strange, new, bitter sweet—that is a question upon which taste may be expected to always differ. But it is not naturalism, it is not mere ugliness. It is an integral part of the spiritual tragedy, the fatal triumph of half science and false sentiment; it is the revealing instance to exhibit Emma's heart, that was a living heart once, morally paralyzed by indulged sentimentality. And it is a turning-point in the action. It is this last revelation of her husband's uninteresting incapacity, which urges her tottering soul to its final plunge to perdition.
"Moralist, you know everything, but you are cruel." It is in these words that Sainte-Beuve apostrophizes the creator of "Madame Bovary." Cruelty there is in his unrelenting irony, cruelty born of the bitterness of disillusion towards the commonplace, but cruelty chiefly towards sentimentality and ignorant self-conceit. And knowledge there is deep, wide, minute. And a moral there is, as there must always be in any true picture of life; a moral, guiltless as Flaubert is of seeking to enforce a moral, almost painful in its force. But first and last, there is art : art in the intensity of vision that pierces beneath the surface of fact; art in the note of tragedy, the inevitable march of fate ; art in the scrupulous avoidance of everything not essential to the idea; art in the impersonal directness of presentation; art in the style.
W. P. J.
THE HILL-TRIBES OF CHITTAGONG.
The military expedition sent by the Indian Government against the tribes who dwell in the hill-country between Chittagong and Burmah has made an effective beginning of its work. It has opened roads into the hills, and established fortified posts at the dominating points of communication. The column has advanced into the enemy's country and has destroyed the stockades of the chiefs who were specially inculpated in the late raids on the plains of Chittagong. The avenging force has now stayed its hand for the present. A proclamation has been issued exhorting the hill-men to submit themselves to British authority, and they have been told that whatever happens a military expedition will be despatched in November to march over the hills into Burmah. It is very much to be hoped that the tribes may see the wisdom of tendering their submission before it is too late. They have neither the strength nor the heart to resist the British power. I will now venture to record something of my own experiences with these mountaineers dating back more than forty years ago, to show that they have not always been unmanageable or unreasonable in their dealings with us.
I will try to dispense as much as possible with hard Indian names. The Bengalis, who dwell in the plains, used to call all the hill-men by the name of Kookees. On further acquaintance we learnt to distinguish them as being divided into Kookees, Looshais, and Shindoos. But these distinctions were, I think, devised by the tribes as much for their own convenience as for anything else. If there was any raid or foray from the hills, and we taxed the Kookees with it, they said, "Please sir, it was not our doing; it was some of those wicked Looshais ": and then
if we asked for satisfaction from the Looshais, they replied that it was none of their doing, but that the Shindoos must have been the offenders. To my fancy, these hill-tribes were all very much tarred with the same brush. If this had not been so, we might have been able to employ one tribe to punish the other; and we might have decimated the warriors of the contending tribes by some such policy as that which led to the immortal combat between the Clan Chattan and the Clan Quhele.
My first introduction to the hillmen was in this wise. In December, 1845, there had been a Kookee raid on one of the villages in the south of Chittagong, when twenty persons were killed, and as many more men, with numerous women and children, were carried off into captivity in the hills. One morning on going to the little court-house, where I sat as an assistantmagistrate, I found a large crowd at the door. They were staring at four big hill-men, heavily fettered and handcuffed, and guarded by policemen with drawn swords. I found a letter from the district-magistrate directing me to hold the preliminary trial of these men, who were charged with having been concerned in the raid just mentioned. The police reported that the prisoners had been apprehended by a friendly frontier-chief as they were returning to the fastnesses of their native hills.
The four men were placed before me, and I wished to get them to plead guilty or not guilty. But they did not understand a word that was said to them. The language of my court was Bengali, and my native clerks knew no other tongue. There was a court-interpreter who spoke Burmese, which is called Mughee in Chittagong, but the prisoners did not understand what he said. At last we got hold of a man who knew both Burmese and the Kookee language, and so we opened communication with the prisoners. It was a tedious process. I took notes in English of the questions put and answers given. I spoke Bengali to my clerk, and he passed it on to the Mughee interpreter,who could not understand my classical Bengali: the interpreter communicated it to the Kookee, whom we had impressed for the occasion; and so eventually it got to the accused, whilst their answers came back through the same roundabout channel. I was very young and zealous, and in the intervals of interpretation took sketches of the prisoners, with their broad faces and flat noses and Tartar eyes, and masses of hair rolled up on their heads, like the Thracians of Homer. Eventually it came out that these men had been sent in as having confessed their guilty share in the raid, and they were expected to repeat their confession to me. But meanwhile something had happened; the special interpreter, who had been sent in with the prisoners, had been taken ill on the journey and could not appear. It would have been his business to interpret the prisoners' statements as confessions of guilt, and we should not have been able to detect him. But the improvised Kookee interpreter who talked Burmese, not having been primed for the occasion, very innocently repeated what the accused men really said, which was that they did not know anything about the crime imputed to them.
This was a grave interruption to the course of justice, according to the ideas of the native police. When I examined the Bengali witnesses for the prosecution, who were supposed to be the survivors that had fled from the village when it was raided, I found that they all deposed, with perfect confidence, to the identification of each of the prisoners, although they had never seen them before in their
lives, and never stopped for a moment to look at them. Of course, inexperienced as I was, I was not to be misled by such incredible evidence; and after a long day's work at the case, I sent up my notes with a report to the magistrate recommending that the accused should be released. The magistrate had left his office,so they had to be taken to jail for the night.
The next day the magistrate ordered the prisoners to be released; and as I had taken so much interest in the case I went to the jail to see that their fetters were knocked off and their handcuffs removed, for the police had suggested to me that this could not be done with safety until these formidable savages had been returned to the frontier-chief who had apprehended them. But when the poor fellows, who had never before seen a white face, found that I was taking an active part in their deliverance, they soon showed that they valued my kindness, and made several attempts to say something. I again got hold of my Kookee interpreter and, after a long struggle with our linguistic difficulties, I elicited the story that these men were Kookees, who had come down to trade about an elephant at Bunderaban, the residence of the Mugh frontier-chief, styled the Phroo. They had first been plundered by the Phroo's people, and then found themselves put in irons and sent in to Chittagong, with the intimation that they would be hung without benefit of clergy. The Phroo thought he had thus done a great stroke of business, for he had first plundered his Kookee enemies, and had then offered them up as a peace-offering to the English Government, who wanted to punish some one for the raid. I tried to make some compensation to the poor men for what they had undergone; and though I never set eyes on them again, I believe that they went home with the impression that a white man was not such a demon as they had been told. It may be that the sons or grandsons of these