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psychology, she listened to those who ranged themselves on the other side.
In the correspondence lately published between her and Flaubert we have a full exposition of this disparity in their views. The letters were never intended for publication, and we quite agree with the critic, M. Brunetière, that the editors have done their work carelessly and hastily; that they have not taken the trouble de faire leur toilette ; that they have evidently suppressed pages without acknowledging the fact or without deigning to give explanatory notes; and that the dates are in many instances palpably wrong, showing that they cannot have taken the trouble to collate and compare her letters with his. For our part, we are glad the correspondence was published with its 'toilet unmade,' without the elision of Flaubert's misanthropy, or his strong language on the subject of the stupidity of mankind. As it stands at present it might be a dialogue between the two artists at ‘Nohant,' or Croisset'-in her study looking out on the 'Vallée Noire,' or by the river that brings fresh breezes to his cavern. They talk without reference either to the public or to professional considerations, or to anything that can check the full flow of confidential and unreserved plain speaking. We hear every phase and point of view of the two intellectual standpoints which they occupy discussed and ventilated. We are shown the stratagems of their craft. We see the ropes and pulleys, the shifting of the scenes, the necessary appearance or non-appearance of the principal figure, the extent to which idealism or realism is required to deceive the audience before which they perform. Sometimes there is a want of sentiment in Flaubert's matter-of-fact manner of discussing the methods of his art which is disturbing to all illusion. He is like a child in a garden pulling up the flowers to see how the roots grow. There is no pretension to fine writing ; indeed, one is surprised at the want of fluency displayed by the author of Mme. Bovary; yet every now and then he demonstrates the 'anatomy' of his art with a rare precision and skill.
His first letter is dated 1866. He was then forty-five, George Sand sixty-two. It is written ceremoniously to thank her for a favourable criticism of some of his work. The next arranges a visit she is to pay him at Rouen. After this visit a constant interchange of letters sets in. The two discuss every subject in art, religion, and literature. They coin words for their own She signs herself the old Troubadour, qui toujours chante et chantera le parfait amour ;' he addresses her as 'mon bon maître. She rates him on his indolence.
And you, my Benedictine, alone in your charming monastery, working and never going out, that is what comes of travelling too much in your youth; and yet you can do a . Bovary,' and describe out-of-the-way corners like a great master. You are a creature quite out of the way, very mysterious, but gentle as a sheep. ... Sainte-Beuve declares that you are very immoral—perhaps he sees with unclean eyes, like that learned botanist who says the 'germander'is a dirty yellow.' The observation is so untrue that I could not help writing in the margin of his book, 'It is your eyes that are unclean.'. I believe you to be in a state of grace, since you like work and solitude, in spite of the rain.
They differ on every conceivable point, intellectual and moral. After ten years of correspondence, she writes,
We are, I think, as unlike in our manner of seeing things as it is possible to be; yet, since we love one another, all is well, since we think of one another at the same moment. I conclude people require their opposite. Minds find their completion in identification for a time with elements essentially different to themselves.
As much dissimilarity existed in the origin, birth, and early surroundings of George Sand and Flaubert as in every other particular. Both are striking examples of the laws of heredity so insisted upon by the pathological school of fiction. She had royal and heroic blood in her veins, and reproduced in her fiction the personage of Maurice de Saxe, and women at variance with social laws—as were three of her ancestresses—to the end of her literary career. Gustave was the son of a doctor. The only ray of romance that illumined his bourgeois origin was the friendship subsisting in childhood between his maternal grandmother and Charlotte Corday. He was born at Rouen on December 12, 1821. Reared among the unbeautiful, almost sordid, surroundings of the doctor's home, the boy grew up quiet, reserved, and backward for his age, except in the art of weaving stories out of the everyday occurrences round him. Flaubert's father was a humane man in the best acceptation of the word. “The sight of a suffering dog,' his son tells us, “ brought tears to his eyes. He performed his surgical operations skilfully nevertheless, and invented some terrible ones.' He took the same view of Gustave's literary pursuits as the old Hamburg banker did of his nephew Henri Heine's, 'Hätte der dumme Knabe was gelernt, so brauchte er keine Bücher zu schreiben. The boy's freedom was never interfered with, however, and he was allowed to sit reading all day long, his head between his hands. In the strange preface, with its mixture of reserve and effusion, which he wrote to the last poems of his friend Louis Bouilhet, he relates with subtle force of humour the absurd enthusiasms of their schoolboy life at the Alma Mater of Rouen :
I do not know what the dreams of schoolboys are, but ours were splendid in their extravagance. The last ebullitions of romanticism that reached us, circumscribed by our everyday surroundings, brought about a strange excitement. Whilst, enthusiastic bearts sighed after dramatic loves, with their accompaniments of gondolas, black masks, and great ladies fainting in post-chaises in Calabria, others dreamt of conspiracies and rebellions. One rhetorician composed an ' Apology for Robespierre,' which circulated outside the school and led to a duel between the author and a stranger. I remember that one schoolmate wore a red cap; another
declared his intention to live as a Mohican; while one of our intimate friends determined to turn renegade and seek service under Abd-el-Kader. We attempted suicide, we meditated every absurdity, but what a hatred of the commonplace! What aspirations, what respect for the masters! How we adored Victor Hugo !
As a young man he was exceptionally handsome, but no woman's love could tempt him from the one constant passion that animated his life. "Je n'ai jamais pu emboîter Vénus avec Apollon,' he declared. From his earliest youth he devoted his entire intellectual and physical energy to literature, undermining his health, and ultimately sacrificing his existence to his imperious and exacting mistress. It is better to get drunk on ink than on eau-de-vie,' he answers, when his friend tells him prophetically, “You love literature inordinately; it will kill you.'
Infinitely touching is the exhortation with which he ends the preface to Bouilhet's poems, alluded to above :
Since the public always ask for a moral, here is mine : Are there two young students who spend their leisure moments reading the poets together, who, full of literary ambition, compare words and sentences, indifferent to all else; hiding their passion with the modesty of a young girl—then I give them this advice : Spend the days of your youth in the arms of the Muse ; her love replaces all other, and consoles for every loss. Then, if events passing around you seem transposed into shape and form, and you feel imperiously driven to reproduce them, so that everything, even your own existence, seems useless for other purpose, and that you are prepared for all disappointments, ready for all sacrifices, proof against all trials, then I say, 'Take the plunge ! publish ! You will have put your powers to the test, and be able to bear reverses and trials of every kind with equanimity.'
In 1843 a cloud came over Flaubert's life. One evening, after a long walk with his brother, he fell in a fit, which proved to be epileptic. From that time he was subject to frequent similar attacks. His father did what he could for him, but medical skill seemed powerless. Flaubert himself studied every medical work upon the subject, but to no purpose. 'I am a lost man,' he said one day to a friend. "Fêlé, si fêlé est le mot juste, car je sens le contenu qui fuit,' is his tragic lament, at a later period, to George Sand.
The attacks ceased in middle life, but recurred in later years, until one day he fell dead on his study table, strewn at the time with books of reference and the manuscript of a new novel.
The correspondence which is before us shows how this affliction was present to his mind at all times. In studying his literary work the recollection of his impaired health must never leave us, for there is no doubt it accounts for the intense gloom that pervades it. "The saddest mourning is not the one we wear upon our hats,' as he says.
Towards the end of the year 1849 Flaubert finished the Tentation cle Saint Antoine, and read it aloud to Du Camp and Bouilhet. The reading lasted thirty-two hours (eight hours a day for four days)
His friends were in a predicament. Neither ventured to tell him his work was hopelessly dull. At length Bouilhet plucked up courage. Mon cher,' he said, we think you ought to put that book in the fire, and not think any more about it. Flaubert took his friends' advice so far as not to publish Saint Antoine until long after in a completely different form. Out of this incident, however, arose one of the most important events in his history, and indeed in the history of the French literature of the day. Bouilhet, after his frank advice, suggested the subject which Flaubert gave form to in Mme. Bovary. Bouilhet had heard the story in Rouen. Charles Bovary had been an old pupil of Flaubert's father, and all the main incidents were taken from the life:—the young girl married to a plain, uninteresting husband; the crime, the misery, the debts; ending with the wife's suicide and the man's death, after discovering his wife's infidelity;--nothing can be imagined more tragic than the subject, nothing more cruelly realistic than Flaubert's treatment of it. The very supplementary title, Mours de province, startles us by its cynicism and bitterness.
So base, so mean, so vulgar are the manners and minds of the people whom he describes, that we feel inclined, a dozen times during the reading of the book, to lay it aside disheartened and irritated, and a dozen times we are charmed back again by the marvellous descriptions and touches of realism in which it abounds. There are days on the coast of his own Normandy that remind one of its pages-days dark and stormy, when the sea breaks with a ceaseless, mournful sound. You look round in vain for a bright spot in the leaden sky; when, suddenly, a flash of lightning reveals a whole landscape undreamed of before.
Both the public and private history of Mme. Bovary form curious episodes in the history of literature. On its publication in 1857, the Second Empire, like all governments who attain to power with not very clean hands, wished to show the extreme orthodoxy of its moral and religious views, and endeavoured to suppress the book. The lawsuit that followed it was vehemently attacked by the counsel for the prosecution, and eloquently defended by M. Sénart for the defence. The acquittal of the author was obtained with difficulty ; yet he was more than compensated by the publicity given to the book, and by its extraordinary and unprecedented success.
Its private history has been revealed by Guy de Maupassant. After five years of incessant labours Flaubert entrusted his manuscript to his friend Maxime Du Camp, who passed it on to LaurentPichat, editor of the Revue de Paris. Soon after, Maxime wrote to Flaubert to the effect that he and Laurent-Pichat, having read it, recommended him to allow them to cut out and shorten, as they saw fit, for publication in the Revue. They would concede him the right to publish it subsequently in any form he might like. If he did not
consent to this proposal, he was told that by the publication of a book overweighted with detail and involved in style, he would hopelessly compromise his literary reputation.
Be courageous [this remarkable letter ends]; shut your eyes during the operation, and have confidence, if not in our talent, at least in the experience we have acquired in dealing with affairs of this sort, and also in our affection for you. You have buried your story under a mass of matter artistic but useless. It must be unearthed. We will have this done under our own supervision by an perienced and skilful hand ; not a word shall be added to your copy-only portions cut out. It will not cost you more than a hundred francs, which can be deducted from your royalties, and you will have published a really good book instead of an indifferent one.
This letter was found religiously preserved among Flaubert's papers, with the one word "Gigantesque' written on it. He submitted to the operation, for a copy of the first edition of the book was found on which was written :
This copy represents my book as it left the hands of Sieur Laurent-Pichat, poet, and proprietor of the Revue de Paris,-GUSTAVE FLAUBERT, 20th April, 1857.
The alterations were noteworthy. Each page was covered with erasures ; paragraphs, entire pieces were cut out; almost all the original and striking passages ruthlessly expurgated. Flaubert at once took it out of their hands and published it in its entirety. Both the public prosecution and the private negotiation with Maxime Du Camp did much to embitter his views of 'la bêtise humaine.'
When a man 's got his limbs whole he can hear a smart cut or two;' but neither Flaubert's limbs por his mind were whole.
In his Opinions de Thomas Grandorge Taine describes a dinner at which a young diplomat, seated beside a stiff Evangelical English woman, attempts to defend French novels from the charge of immorality brought against them :
Miss Mathews, you judge us severely because you have not read us. Permit me to send you a French novel to-morrow, just published, the profoundest and most soul-stirring of all the moral writings of our time. It is written by a kind of monk, a Benedictine, who went to the Holy Land, and was even shot at by the infidels. This monk lives secluded in a hermitage near Rouen, shut up night and day, working incessantly. He is very learned, and has published a work on ancient Carthage. He ought to be in the Academy; it is to be hoped he will succeed Mgr. Dupanloup. Not only is he full of genius, but so conscientious. He studied medicine for some time under bis father, who was a doctor, and judges character by physique. If he has a fault, it is that he is too profound, too laborious to please frivolous readers. His end and object is to warn young women against indolence, vain curiosity, and indiscriminate reading. His name is Gustave Flaubert, and his book is called “ Mme. Bovary; or the Results of Bad Conduct.”. Miss Mathews looked pleased, asked the name of the editor: 'I will,' she said, • translate the book immediately on my return to London, and we will distribute it through the Wesleyan society for the advancement of morality.'