Familiar Studies of Men and Books

By Robert Louis

Page 0

...BOOKS***


Transcribed from the 1896 Chatto & Windus edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org





...

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... TO

...

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...so much realised as widely sought after among the late generations of
their countrymen; and to...

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...studio artifice. Like
Hales with Pepys, he must nearly break his sitter’s neck to get...

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...by the necessity
of the case, to write entirely in that spirit. What he cannot...

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...with the profoundest pity, but
with a growing esteem, that I studied the man’s desperate efforts...

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...of
many, my study was a step towards the demonstration of Burns’s radical
badness.

But second, there is...

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...best to
steer a middle course, and to laugh with the scorners when I thought they
had...

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...terms of his writings. There could scarce be a perversion
more justifiable than that; yet...

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...needs of his own
sorrow. But in the light of this new fact, those pages,...

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...work of Zola, the Goncourts, and the
infinitely greater Flaubert; and, while similar in ugliness, still
surpasses...

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...I
regret to find that Mr. Payne and I are not always at one as to...

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...last remark I have to offer. To Pepys I think I
have been amply just;...

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... ...

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...compared more justly
to the hand upon the dial of the clock, which continues to advance...

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...of resemblance between the men, it is
astonishing that their work should be so different. ...

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...in some sort approximate towards those of
painting: the dramatic author is tied down, not indeed...

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...a
physical action. He can show his readers, behind and around the
personages that for the...

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...all unknown
to him; he had not understood that the nature of the landscape or the
spirit...

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...in his own
spirit, instead of tamely followed. We have here, as I said before,...

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...end. We all know this difficulty in the case
of a picture, simple and strong...

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... It must be
felt in the books themselves, and all that can be done in...

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...a corner. It
is purely an effect of mirage, as we say; but it is...

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...it much less of actual
melodrama than here, and rarely, I should say never, that sort...

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...Galileo into
prison, even crucifying Christ. There is a haunting and horrible sense
of insecurity about...

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...ever attained to; the melodramatic coarsenesses that
disfigured _Notre Dame_ are no longer present. There...

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...is not how we feel with Gilliat; we
feel that he is opposed by a “dark...

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...what he will, but we know better; we know very well that they did
not; a...

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...“by order of the king” upon the face of this
strange spokesman of democracy, adds yet...

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...disgrace in the very
reading. For such artistic falsehoods, springing from what I have called
already...

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...and body forth to us.
We know how history continues through century after century; how this
king...

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...pages or so in which
the foreguard lays aside all discipline, and stops to gossip over...

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... Now the moral significance, with Hugo, is of the essence
of the romance; it is...

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...man is no longer an isolated spirit without antecedent
or relation here below, but a being...

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...He
stands so far above all his contemporaries, and so incomparably excels
them in richness, breadth, variety,...

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...poems and the man. Of _Holy
Willie’s Prayer_, Principal Shairp remarks that “those who have...

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...the man’s nature, for all its
richness, has fallen somewhat out of sight in the pressure...

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...mention the name of Andrew Fairservice, it is
only as I might couple for an instant...

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...attention and
remark. His father wrote the family name _Burnes_; Robert early adopted
the orthography _Burness_...

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...love ought to be; and he could not conceive a worthy life
without it. But...

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...professional Don Juan. With a leer of what the
French call fatuity, he bids the...

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...unearthly
school-master, against the influence and fame of the school’s hero?

And now we come to the...

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...like a fine lady from sleeplessness and vapours; he would fall
into the blackest melancholies, and...

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...conversation; when Jean, with a
somewhat hoydenish advance, inquired if “he had yet got any of...

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...which it
is equally wrong to break or to perpetuate. This was such a case.
Worldly...

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...an innocent and
gentle Highland nursery-maid at service in a neighbouring family; and he
had soon battered...

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...window to read it; a sudden change came over his
face, and he left the room...

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...that it is neither fit for weft nor
woof.” Ladies, on the other hand, surprised...

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...affairs. Even on the road to Edinburgh he had seized
upon the opportunity of a...

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...intermediate degrees between the distant
formal bow and the familiar grasp round the waist, I ventured,...

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...led to the famous Clarinda and Sylvander correspondence. It was
begun in simple sport; they...

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...but his transports somewhat rapidly declined
during an absence. I am tempted to imagine that,...

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... To Clarinda he wrote: “I this morning called for a
certain woman. I am...

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...If he had been
strong enough to refrain or bad enough to persevere in evil; if...

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...the publisher, travelling in the Highlands with Willie
Nichol, or philandering with Mrs. M’Lehose; and in...

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...of the man in these last years which need
delay us: and that was the sudden...

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...Kings,” and
celebrated Dumouriez in a doggrel impromptu full of ridicule and hate.
Now his sympathies would...

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...that the best was out of him; he
refused to make another volume, for he felt...

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...had passed him by. He died of
being Robert Burns, and there is no levity...

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...from Chaucer. The dialect alone accounts for much; for it was then
written colloquially, which...

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...special richness or aptitude in the dialect he wrote.
Hence that Homeric justice and completeness of...

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...and experience, which he has lacked the art to
employ in his writings. But Burns...

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... Are handed round wi’ richt guid will;
The canty...

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...gently scan your brother man,
Still gentler sister woman;
...

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...the present. As a sign of the times, it would be hard
to find his...

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...He conceived the idea of a Literature which was to inhere in the
life of the...

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...betwixt sleep and waking, of all the
pleasureless pleasurings and imaginary duties in which we coin...

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...at times of
choice, we must leave words upon one side, and act upon those brute
convictions,...

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...Our faith is not the highest truth that we
perceive, but the highest that we have...

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...of puling over the
circumstances in which we are placed. The great refinement of many
poetical...

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...poems, he tells
us, are to be “hymns of the praise of things.” They are...

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...enjoyable occupation.

Whitman tries to reinforce this cheerfulness by keeping up a sort of
outdoor atmosphere of...

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...revelation.” His whole life is
to him what it was to Sir Thomas Browne, one...

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...words: The desire of the moth for the star.

The same truth, but to what a...

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...love:—

“The dear love of man for his comrade—the attraction of friend...

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...remind us how good
we are. He is to encourage us to be free and...

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...it would
follow, that if you can only get every one to feel more warmly and...

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...braces
us, on the one hand, with examples of heroic duty and helpfulness; on the
other, he...

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...sides of
life, and they make us acquainted with a man whom it is an honour...

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...restless and flighty at night—often fancied himself with his
regiment—by his talk...

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...the mother’s face before his eyes, and saw her wincing in
the flesh at every word....

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...of how bad he can be at his
worst; and perhaps it would be not much...

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...trick
upon the artist. It is because he is a Democrat that Whitman must have
in...

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... But the
Philistines have been too strong; and, to say truth, Whitman has rather
played the...

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...mothers of families, read
these leaves (his own works) in the open...

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...or the smile was not broad enough to be
convincing; he had no waste lands nor...

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...given to all to bear so clear a testimony to the
sweetness of their fate, nor...

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...What we want to see is one who can breast into the
world, do a man’s...

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...and inclination in one, he
turned all his strength in that direction. He was met...

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...I did not teach for the benefit of my fellow-men, but simply for a
livelihood, this...

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...polite, gladiatorial convention, here is an assailant who does
not scruple to hit below the belt.

“The...

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...counter of a bank. And such
being his inclination he determined to gratify it. ...

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...his farm to dig, and for the matter
of six weeks in the summer he worked...

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...other. And there are many luxuries that we may
legitimately prefer to it, such as...

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...and warming
heat, commonly lost, which precedes the burning of the wood. It is the
smoke...

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...He
said well, “Life is not habitually seen from any common platform so truly
and unexaggerated as...

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...style of writing, if one has anything to
say it drops from him simply as a...

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...is the most comprehensive of the three. To hear a strain
of music to see...

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...afford a similar
relief to his readers, by mingling his thoughts with a record of
experience.

Again, he...

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...which all can read, like _Robinson
Crusoe_? and who does not see with regret that his...

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...sound, as we learn from the
echo; and I know that the nature towards which I...

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...a level higher than the actual characters of the
parties would seem to warrant.” This...

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...not to acknowledge those faults of which it is most
conscious. But his point of...

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...a manner
of elm-tree, he would have felt that he saw his friends too seldom, and
have...

Page 104

...the dispute about solitude and society,” he thus sums up: “Any
comparison is impertinent. It...

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...by a nearly equal
expense of virtue of some kind_.” Even although he were a...

Page 106

...the mind. But perhaps we
shall best appreciate the defect in Thoreau by seeing it...

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...and strangely characteristic of the nobility and the
eccentricity of the man. It was forced...

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...a party
however small, if his example had been followed by a hundred or by thirty
of...

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...the
authority of an intelligent Japanese gentleman, Mr. Taiso Masaki, who
told it me with an emotion...

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...it was firstly the defences of
Japan that occupied his mind. The external feebleness of...

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...and so he obtained leave to quit the district, and, by way of a
pretext, a...

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...to serve as an introduction. When he
reached a town he would inquire for the...

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...and renew Japan; and in the meantime, that he might be
the better prepared, Yoshida set...

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...boat to make
return impossible. And now you would have thought that all was over.
But...

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...but to him, who had done so much from under lock and key,
this would seem...

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...Thoreau’s mind, that if you can
“make your failure tragical by courage, it will not differ...

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...the illegality of his master’s rule; and people began to turn their
allegiance from Yeddo and...

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...last
scene was of a piece with his career, and fitly crowned it. He seized...

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... Only a few miles from us, to speak
by the proportion of the universe, while...

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...fall across a sheet of manuscript, and the name will be
recalled, the old infamy will...

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.... . At least, and whether he liked it or
not, our disreputable troubadour was...

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... The burlesque
erudition in which he sometimes indulged implies no more than the merest
smattering of...

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...good behaviour on this wild slip of an adopted son, these jesting
legacies would obviously cut...

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...bad companions round the corner.

Catherine de Vausselles (or de Vaucel—the change is within the limits...

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...tap at the lit windows,
follow the sound of singing, and beat the whole neighbourhood for...

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...good. Some
charitable critics see no more than a _jeu d’esprit_, a graceful and
trifling exercise...

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...called Gilles and a woman of the name of Isabeau.
It was nine o’clock, a mighty...

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...up to that moment he had been the
pink of good behaviour. But the matter...

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...be surprised to
meet with thieves in the shape of tonsured clerks, or even priests and
monks.

To...

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...to be
his first introduction to De Cayeux and Petit-Jehan, which was probably a
matter of some...

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...hand?

The rest of the winter was not uneventful for the gang. First they made
a...

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...at the sign of the Armchair, he fell into talk with
two customers, one of whom...

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...the de la Porte affair; Tabary had some breakfast at the Prior’s
charge and leaked out...

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...ecclesiastical commissary he was twice examined, and, on the
latter occasion, put to the question ordinary...

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...a very staggering and grave
consideration. Every beast, as he says, clings bitterly to a...

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...and saw the birds turn about him, screaming and menacing his
eyes.

And, after all, the Parliament...

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...taste for rural loveliness; green
fields and vineyards would be mighty indifferent to Master Francis; but
he...

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...would turn the head of a stocking-weaver, and set him jingling
rhymes. And so—after a...

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...his age and
country, and initiated modern literature for France. Boileau, long ago,
in the period...

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...home deep-laden ships and
sweeping rubbish from the earth; the lightning leaps and cleans the face
of...

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...he protests, drives men to steal, as hunger makes
the wolf sally from the forest. ...

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...terrible effects, and to enchance pity
with ridicule, like a man cutting capers to a funeral...

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...look in his eye, and the loose flexile mouth that
goes with wit and an overweening...

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...mad king Charles VI., lover of Queen Isabel, and the
leading patron of art and one...

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...that threw its light upon her as she
prayed. And there is scarcely a detail...

Page 146

...chançons, ballades, virelais et
rondeaux,” along with many other matters worth attention, from the courts
of Heaven...

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...together expressly for
this occasion. And no doubt it must have been very gratifying for...

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...remarkably hurried journey, with black care on the pillion.
And meantime, on the other side, the...

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...be the last words of counsel
and command she left behind her.

With these instancies of his...

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...the death of Philip the Forward, father of that John
the Fearless whom we have seen...

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...smoke
lifts, and you can see him for the twinkling of an eye, a very pale
figure;...

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...of
the day, and used with all consideration. On the way to Calais, Henry
sent him...

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...five-and-twenty years. For
five-and-twenty years he could not go where he would, or do what...

Page 154

...of an
intellectual tennis; you must make your poem as the rhymes will go, just
as you...

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...For the moment,
he must really have been thinking more of France than of Charles of
Orleans.

And...

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...I
had been slain at the battle where they took me.” {260} This is a
flourish,...

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...was so
anxious to stand well, was no other than his hereditary enemy, the son of
his...

Page 158

...a groom stands by holding two saddled
horses. And yet further to the left, a...

Page 159

...a deliverer that Charles returned to France.
He was nearly fifty years old. Many changes...

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...the festivities at Saint Omer had come to an end, Charles and his
wife set forth...

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...his well-ordered garden, or sit by the fire to touch the
slender reed. {269}



IV.


If it were...

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...deal of gentle piety, in
the feelings with which Charles gave dinner every Friday to thirteen...

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...turn it into the funniest of
rondels, all the rhymes being the names of the cases...

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...of any dignity and courtliness. Ballades are very admirable
things; and a poet is doubtless...

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...one Jean Fougère, a bookbinder, seems to have done a number
of odd commissions for the...

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...of a
kill-joy. I take it, when missionaries land in South Sea Islands and lay
strange...

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...the end
of time.



V.


The futility of Charles’s public life was of a piece throughout. He
never...

Page 168

...incapacity to see things with any greatness, this obscure and narrow
view was fundamentally characteristic of...

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...ring the changes through the
whole gamut of dainty and tender sentiment. But there is...

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...he shows
himself a duke is precisely by the absence of all pretension, turgidity,
or emphasis. ...

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...disproportioned to the
occasion, and words were laughably trivial and scanty to set forth the
feeling even...

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...of illustrative material. Sometimes we might ask a
little more; never, I think, less. ...

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...when he uttered his thoughts they were suitable to his
state and services. On February...

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...do not say who bought a roguish book, but who was
ashamed of doing so, yet...

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...and, to be just to him, there often follows
some improvement. Again, the sins of...

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...operation. Not Hazlitt nor Rousseau had
a more romantic passion for their past, although at...

Page 177

...we have the key to that remarkable attitude preserved by him
throughout his Diary, to that...

Page 178

...have perceived, as he went on, the extraordinary nature of the work
he was producing. ...

Page 179

... It
was his bosom secret; it added a zest to all his pleasures; he lived...

Page 180

...of the world and all the secrets of
knowledge, filled him brimful of the longing to...

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...true it was to him through life! He is only
copying something, and behold, he...

Page 182

...heighten pleasure; and the eye and ear must
be flattered like the palate ere he avow...

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...if a woman be good-looking and not painted, he will walk miles
to have another sight...

Page 184

...his boy’s reading, and did bless
God for him, the most like one of the old...

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...mistakes, but it can never be devoid of merit. The first and the true
function...

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...move”—“It is decreed, nor shall thy fate, O
Rome;”—open and dignified in the sound, various and...

Page 187

...a critical period and while the habits are still
pliable, of such a sweeping transformation as...

Page 188

...it,” he says, “so well writ as, I think,
it is too good for him ever...

Page 189

...duties of society haunt and burden their poor
devotees; and what seems at first the very...

Page 190

...and the story of his
oaths, so often broken, so courageously renewed, is worthy rather of
admiration...

Page 191

...his hands, and brings him face to face with the consequences
of his acts. For...

Page 192

...have no Diary to help us, and we have seen already how
little stress is to...

Page 193

...of death. They took no interest in politics as such; they
even condemned political action...

Page 194

...from
Thomasius, and dedicated a long note to the matter at the end of his
article on...

Page 195

...a privilege, or rather a duty, of free
love for great princesses, and carefully excluding other...

Page 196

...in pledge for
the sincerity of his doctrine, we had best waive the question of
delicacy, and...

Page 197

...done, that he can put his purpose into words as roundly as
I can put it...

Page 198

...for
Knox that he succeeded no better; it is under this very ambiguity about
Deborah that we...

Page 199

...the sustained metaphor of a
hostile proclamation. It is curious, by the way, to note...

Page 200

...and
tyranny had been effectually repressed, was thus left altogether in the
wind; and it was not,...

Page 201

...us to this day in narrow views of
personal duty, and the low political morality of...

Page 202

...sentiments of these loyal subjects of Elizabeth?
They professed a holy horror for Knox’s position: let...

Page 203

...a female child
into the direct line of inheritance, it is God’s affair. His strength
will...

Page 204

...with his
powerful breath but he had his eye seemingly on an object of even higher
worth....

Page 205

...His old congregation
are coldly received, and even begin to look back again to their place...

Page 206

...of God_,
_comforting His afflicted by means of an infirm vessel_, _I do
acknowledge_, _and the power...

Page 207

...it were but
foolishness in him to prescribe unto her Majesty what is to be done,”...

Page 208

...question should be reawakened. So the
talk wandered to other subjects. Only, when the...

Page 209

...thing unreasonable, that,
in this my decrepit age, I shall be compelled to fight against shadows,
and...

Page 210

...that, at the first hint, men would arise and
shake off the debasing tyranny. He...

Page 211

...own
disciplined emotions, underlying much sincere aspiration after spiritual
humility. And it is this confidence that...

Page 212

...same sex, requires no
ordinary disposition in the man. For either it would presuppose quite
womanly...

Page 213

...in the Reformer, testify also to a certain
survival of the spirit of the confessional in...

Page 214

...for to me ye are
all equal in Christ.” {368} Another letter is a gem...

Page 215

...both for his comfort and for the
trouble which you sustain by his coldness, which justly...

Page 216

...men; altogether, what with his romantic story, his weak
health, and his great faculty of eloquence,...

Page 217

...lament your sore trouble, knowing in
myself the dolour thereof.” {374a} Now intercourse of so...

Page 218

...understood, would enter into his ideal of a home. There were
storms enough without, and...

Page 219

...my heart that my life is bitter to me.
I bear a good countenance with a...

Page 220

...Calvin thought desirable in
a wife, “good humour, chastity, thrift, patience, and solicitude for her
husband’s health,”...

Page 221

...of license was extorted, as I have said, from Richard Bowes,
weary with years of domestic...

Page 222

...I.” {383} This may have been
Mrs. Locke, as I say; but even if it...

Page 223

...died in the interval, or was wearied, he too, into giving
permission, five months after the...

Page 224

...two shall return,” as well as liberty to
take all her own money with her into...

Page 225

...her, my mind was seldom quiet, for doing somewhat for the
comfort of her troubled conscience.”...

Page 226

...familiar acquaintance in Christ Jesus, which half
a year did engender, and almost two years did...

Page 227

...marry a very near kinswoman of the Duke’s, a Lord’s
daughter, a young lass not above...

Page 228

...women. I fancy the women knew what they were
about when so many of them...

Page 229

...this little note of
vulgarity is not a thing to be dwelt upon; it is to...

Page 230

...* * *

...

Page 231

...works, vol. i. p. xi.

{240b} Vallet de Viriville, _Charles VII. et son Epoque_, ii....

Page 232

...in his collected prefaces, Leipsic, 1683.

{333a} _Œuvres de d’Aubigné_, i. 449.

{333b} _Dames Illustres_,...