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will grin with good humor, Le Sage | dirty crowd we discover the fresh face smile like a diverted man; both will of a young girl, this artificial light pass by and think no more of it. Dick- covers it with false and excessive lights ens muses over it for half a page. He and shades; it makes it stand out sees so clearly all the effects of the against the rainy and cold blackness wind, he puts himself so entirely in its with a strange halo. The mind is place, he imagincs for it a will so im- struck with wonder; but we carry our passioned and precise, he shakes the hand to our eyes to cover them, and clothes of the poor man hither and whilst we admire the force of this light, th.ther so violently and so long, he we involuntarily think of the real coun turns the gust into a tempest, into a try sun and the tranquil beauty of day persecution so great, that we are made giddy; and even whilst we laugh, wẹ feel in ourselves too much emotion and compassion to laugh heartily:
"And a breezy, goose-skinned, blue-nosed, red-eyed, stony-toed, tooth-chattering place it was, to wait in, in the winter time, as Toby Veck well knew. The wind came tearing round the corner-especially the east wind as if it had sallied forth, express, from the confines of the earth, to have a blow at Toby. And often times it seemed to come upon him sooner than it had expected; for, bouncing round the corner, and passing Toby, it would suddenly wheel round again, as if it cried: 'Why, here he is!' Incontinently his little white apron would be caught up over his head like a naughty boy's garments, and his feeble little cane would be seen to wrestle and struggle unavailingly in his hand, and his legs would undergo tremendous agitation; and Toby himself, all aslant, and facing now in this direction, now in that, would be so banged and buffeted, and touzled, and worried, and hustled, and lifted off his feet, as to render it a state of things but one degree removed from a positive miracle that he wasn't carried up bodily into the air as a colony of frogs or snails or other portable creatures sometimes are, and rained down again, to the great astonishment of the natives, on some strange corner of the world where ticket
porters are unknown."
If now we would picture in a glance this imagination,- -so lucid, so violent, so passionately fixed on the object selected, so deeply touched by little things, so wholly attached to the details and sentiments of vulgar life, so fertile in incessant emotions, so powerful in rousing painful pity, sarcastic taillery, nervous gayety,-we must fanya London street on a rainy winter's night. The flickering light of the gas dazzles our eyes, streams through the shop windows, floods over the passing forms; and its harsh light, settling upon their contracted features, brings out, with endless detail and damaging force, their wrinkles, deformities, troubled expression. If in this close and
The Chimes, the first quarter.
§ 2. THE PUBLIC.
Plant this talent on English soil; the literary opinion of the country will direct its growth and explain its fruits. For this public opinion is its private Opinion; it does not submit to it as to an external constraint, but feels it inwardly as an inner persuasion; it does not hinder, but develops it, and only repeats aloud what it said to itsel in a whisper.
The counsels of this public taste are somewhat like this; the more power ful because they agree with its natural inclination, and urge it upon its special course :
be such as may be read by young girls.
heart, the imagination, enthusiasm, | the betrothed, the tears of the mothers, nature; but it is also often a plea the tears of all the guests, the amusing against society and law: we do not and touching scenes of the dinner suffer society and law to be touched, directly or indirectly. To present a feeling as divine, to make all institutions bow before it, to carry it through a series of generous actions, to sing with a sort of heroic inspiration the combats which it wages and the attacks which it sustains, to enrich it with all the force of eloquence, to crown it with all the flowers of poetry, is to paint the life, which it results in, as more beautiful and loftier than others, to set it far above all passions and duties, in a sublime region, on a throne, whence it shines as a light, a consolation, a hope, and draws all hearts towards it. Perhaps this is the world of artists; it is not the world of ordinary men. Perhaps it is true to nature; we make nature give way before the interests of society. George Sand paints impassioned women; paint you for us good women. George Sand makes us desire to be in love; do you make us desire to be married.
"This has its disadvantages without doubt; art suffers by it, if the public gains. Though your characters give the best examples, your works will be of less value. No matter; you may console yourself with the thought that you are moral. Your lovers will be uninteresting; for the only interest natural to their age is the violence of passion, and you cannot paint passion. In Nicholas Nickleby you will show two good young men, like all young men, marrying two good young women, like all young women; in Martin Chuzzlewit you will show two more good young men, perfectly resembling the other two, marrying again two good young women, perfectly resembling the other two; in Dombey and Son there will be only one good young man and one good young woman. Otherwise there is no difference. And so on. The number of your marriages is marvellous, and you marry enough couples to people England. What is more curious still, they are all disinterested, and the young man and young woman snap their fingers at money as sincerely as in the Opéra Comique. You will not cease to dwell on the pretty shynesses of
table; you will create a crowd of
* A living French author, whose dramas are all said to have a moral purpose.-Tz.
laughter, make the house gay, like the chirping of a bird; Esther, whose perfect goodness and divine innocence cannot be affected by trials or years; Agnes, so calm, patient, sensible, pure, worthy of respect, a very model of a wife, sufficient in herself to claim for marriage the respect which we demand for it. And when it is necessary to show the beauty of these duties, the greatness of this conjugal love, the depth of the sentiment which ten years of confidence, cares, and reciprocal devotion have created, you will find in your sensibility, so long constrained, speeches as pathetic as the strongest words of love. *
"The worst novels are not those which glorify love. A man must live across the Channel to dare what the French have dared. In England, some admire Balzac; but no man would tolerate him. Some pretend that he is not immoral; but every one will recognize that he always and everywhere makes morality an abstraction. George Sand has only celebrated one passion; Balzac has celebrated them all. He has considered them as forces; and holding that force is beautiful, he has supported them by their causes, surrounded them by their circumstances, developed them in their effects, pushed them to an extreme, and magnified them so as to make them into sublime monsters, more systematic and more true than the truth. We do not admit that a man is only an artist, and nothing else. We would not have him separate himself from his conscience, and lose sight of the practical. We will never consent to see that such is the leading feature of our own Shakspeare; we will not recognize that he, like Balzac, brings his heroes to crime Jud monomania, and that, like him, he lives in a land of pure logic and imagination. We have changed much since the sixteenth century, and we condemn now what we approved formerly. We would not have the reader interested in a miser, an ambitious man, a rake. And he is interested in them when the writer, neither praising nor blaming, sets himself to unfold the mood, training, shape of the head, and David Copperfield, ch. lxv.; the scene be
tween the docto and his wife.
habits of mind which have impressed in him this primitive inclination, ta prove the necessity of its effects, to lead it through all its stages, to show the greater power which age and contentment give, to expose the irresistible fall which hurls man into madness or death. The reader, caught by this reasoning, admires the work which it has produced, and forgets to be indignant against the personage created. He says, What a splendid miser! and thinks not of the evils which avarice causes. He becomes a philosopher and an artist, and remembers not that he is an upright man. Always recol. lect that you are such and renounce the beauties which may flourish on this er! soil.
"Amongst these the first is greatness. A man must be interested in passions to comprehend their full effect, to count all their springs, to describe their whole course. They are diseases; if a man is content to blame them he will never know them; if you are not a physiologist, if you are not enamoured of them, if you do not make your heroes out of them, if you do not start with pleasure at the sight of a fine feature of avarice, as at the sight of a valuable symptom, you will not be able to unfold their vast system, and to display their fatal greatness. You will not have this immoral merit; and, moreover, it does not suit your species of mind. Your extreme sensibility, and ever-ready irony, must needs be exercised; you have not sufficient calmness to penetrate to the depths of a character, you prefer to weep over or to rail at it; you lay the blame on it, make it your friend or foe, render it touching or odious; you do not depict it; you are too impassioned, and not enough inquisitive. On the other hand, the tenacity of your imagination, the vehemence and fixity with which you impress your thought into the detail you wish to grasp, limit your knowledge, arrest you in a single feature, prevent you from reaching all the parts of a soul, and from sounding its depths. Your imagination is too lively, too meagre. These, then, are the characters you will outline. You will grasp a personage in a single attitude, you will see of him only that, and you will
impose it upon him from beginning to | though united, will continue effectu end. His face will always have the ally detached, and will not constitute a same expression, and this expression genuine collection. You began with will be almost always a grimace. Your essays, and your larger novels are only personages will have a sort of knack essays, tagged together. The only which will not quit them. Miss Mercy means of composing a natural and solid will laugh at every word; Mark Tapley whole is to write the history of a pas will say 'jolly' in every scene; Mrs. sion or of a character, to take them up Gamp will be ever talking of Mrs. at their birth, to see them increase, Harris; Dr. Chillip will not venture a alter, become destroyed, to understand single action free from timidity; Mr. the inner necessity for their develop Micawber will speak through three ment. You do not follow this devel volumes the same kind of emphatic opment; you always keep your char phrases, and will pass five or six times, acter in the same attitude; he is a with comical suddenness, from joy to miser, or a hypocrite, or a good man to grief. Each of your characters will be the end, and always after the same a vice, a virtue, a ridicule personified; fashion: thus he has no history. You and the passion, with which you endow can only change the circumstances in it, will be so frequent, so invariable, so which he is met with, you do not absorbing, that it will no longer be change him; he remains motionless, like a living man, but an abstraction in and at every shock that_touches him, man's clothes. The French have a emits the same sound. The variety of Tartuffe like your Pecksniff, but the events which you contrive is therefore hypocrisy which he represents has not only an amusing phantasmagoria; they destroyed the other traits of his char- have no connection, they do not form a acter; if he adds to the comedy by his system, they are but a heap. You wil vice, he belongs to humanity by his only write lives, adventures, memoirs, nature. He has, besides his ridiculous sketches, collections of scenes, and feature, a character and a mood; he is you will not be able to compose an accoarse, strong, red in the face, brutal, tion. But if the literary taste of your sensual; the vehemence of his blood nation, added to the natural direction makes him bold; his boldness makes of your genius, imposes upon you him calm; his boldness, his calm, his moral intentions, forbids you the quick decision, his scorn of men, make lofty depicture of characters, vetoes him a great politician. When he has the composition of united aggregates, entertained the public through five it presents to your observation, sen. acts, he still offers to the psychologist sibility, and satire, a succession of and the physician more than one sub- original figures which belong only to ject of study. Your Pecksniff will England, which, drawn by your hand, offer nothing to these. He will only will form a unique gallery, and which, serve to instruct and amuse the public. with the stamp of your genius, will He will be a living satire of hypocrisy, offer that of your country and of your and nothing more. If you give him a time." taste for brandy, it is gratuitously; in the mood which you assign to him, nothing requires it; he is so steeped in oily hypocrisy, in saftness, in a flowing style, in literary phrases, in tender morality, that the rest of his nature has disappeared; it is a mask, and not a man. But this mask is so grotesque and energetic, that it will be useful to the public, and will diminish the number of hypocrites. It is our end and yours, and the list of your characters will have rather the effect of a book of satires than of a portrait gallery.
"For the same reason, these satires,
§ 3-THE CHARACTERS.
Take away the grotesque characters, who are only introduced to fill up and to excite laughter, and you will find that all Dickens' characters belong to two classes-people who have feelings and emotions, and people who have none. He contrasts the souls which nature creates with those which society deforms. One of his last novels, Hard Times, is an abstract of all the rest He there exalts instinct above rea
son, intuition of heart above positive to nothing. Hypocrisy comes and knowledge; he attacks education built goes, varying with the state of morals. on statistics, figures, and facts; over- religion, and mind: we can see whelms the positive and mercantile how Pecksniff's suits the depositions spirit with misfortune and ridicule; of his country. English relig on is gi and the aristocrat; falls foul of manu- very dogmatical, but wholl nora.. facturing towns, combats the pride, Therefore Pecksniff does not. like harshness, selfishness of the merchant Tartuffe, utter theological phrases. towns of smoke and mud, which fetter expands altogether in philanthropic the body in an artificial atmosphere, tirades. He has progressed with the and the mind in a factitious existence. age; he has become a humanitarian He seeks out poor artisans, mounte- philosopher. He calls his daughters banks, a foundling, and .crushes be- Mercy and Charity. He is tender, he neath their common sense, generosity, is kind, he gives vent to domestic efdelicacy, courage, and gentleness, the fusions. He innocently exhibits, when false science, false happiness, and false visited, charming domestic scenes; he virtue of the rich and powerful who displays his paternal heart, marital despise them. He satirises oppressive sentiments, the kindly feeling of a society; mourns over oppressed na- good master. The family virtues are ture; and his elegiac genius, like his honored nowadays; he must muffle satirical genius, finds ready to his hand himself therewith. Orgon formerly in the English world around him, the said, as taught by Tartuffe : sphere which it needs for its develop
The first fruits of English society is hypocrisy. It ripens here under the double breath of religion and morality; we know their popularity and sway across the Channel. In a country where it is shocking to laugh on Sunday, where the gloomy Puritan has preserved something of his old rancor against happiness, where the critics of ancient history insert dissertations on the relative virtue of Nebuchadnezzar, it is natural that the appearance of morality should be serviceable. It is a needful coin: those who lack good money coi bad; and the more public opinion declares it precious, the more it is counterfeited. This vice is therefore English. Mr. Pecksniff is not found in France. His speech would disgust Frenchmen. If they have an affectation, it is not of virtue, but of vice if they wish to succeed, they would be wrong to speak of their principles: they prefer to confess their weaknesses; and if they have quacks, they are boasters of immorality. They had their hypocrites once, but it was when religion was popular. Since Voltaire, Tartuffe is impossible. Frenchmen no longer try to affect a piety which would deceive no one and lead
"My brother, children, mother, wife might
You think I'll care; no surely, no! not
think otherwise; we must not despise Modern virtue and English piety this world in view of the next; we must improve it. hair-shirt and his discipline; PeckTartuffe speaks of his sniff, of his comfortable little parlor, of the charm of friendship, the beauties of nature. He tries to make member of the Peace Society. men "dwell in unity." He is like a develops the most touching considerations on the benefits and beauties of union among men. It will be impossible to hear him without being affected. Men are refined nowadays, they have read much elegiac poetry; their sensibility is more active; they can no longer be deceived by the coarse im pudence of Tartuffe. This is why Mr Pecksniff will use gestures of sublime long-suffering, smiles of ineffable com passion, starts, free and easy move. ments, graces, tendernesses which wili seduce the most reserved and charm the most delicate. The English in
"Et je verrais mourir frère, enfants, mère, et femme
Que je m'en soucierais autant que de cela."
in-law Cléante, are from Molière's Tartufe, These lines, said by Orgon to this brother vi.