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his works-and yet, he is to be found whispered, “This can only end with at the foot of every newspaper which
blood. Each makes his small prayer in will accept his prose. He hates read. his great soul, • Why am I not delivered
from this discontented fellow, who never ing-rooms, ungrateful man, as if he did not live by reading-rooms—as if
praised me without restriction ?' and,
Why am I not freed from the indefati. all his books, large and small, were
gable mind which arranges five acts of not made for the circulating library, drama, and five of comedy, before I as if he could hope for other pur- have found a subject for my comedy, a chasers."
title for my drama ?' So do they murMonsieur Janin likewise observes, mur, as in Le Lemercier's tragedythat the disputed Tour de Nesle was written by Monsieur Gaillardet, be
"Qu'il tarde à sexplequer ! qu'il est lent à mourir. tween whom and Dumas there was
In answer to all these reports, so min. a lawsuit on the subject; that his
gled with agreeable hopes, we are forced “ Gaule et France” was plundered to tell you how this quarrel, wholly from Messrs. Michelet and Augustin literary in its principle, has not overThierry; that it was not he who pro- stepped literary bounds. Certainly, the posed discovery of the Mediterranean irritation on both sides was great, vioby subscription; or to the late Duke lent enough to inspire hope in those who of Orleans, to write the history of the
looked for a bloody result. If I must, regiments of the French army; but
indeed, tell every thing, (I ask the
Procureur du Roi's pardon)-a day had he extricates himself ill from his nis
been fixed, a place of rendezvous aptakes, he says they prove that he does
pointed, an hour named to meet there not copy his impressions de voyage in
a very pretty spot, I assure you-everyReichard's itinerary—that his having thing was settled. There only remained called Smyrna an island, does not make that you should secure your placesMonsieur Dumas' piece a comedy_he you, the natural audience to this kind again terms his reply “a market-wo. of struggle—and to win your bravos, man's letter." And saying he will not,
each of us would have done his best. according to his correspondent's choice
Unhappily, in accidents like these, one expression, “ take the bull by the
does not always act as one intended. At horns," since he feels more pity than
first, in our anger, we will have blood
we see our adversary already dead in indignation—more regret than con
our mind's eye-dead, to amuse a few tempt-he concludes by a reference to idlers. Yes; but after the first fury, it a piece to which he had consecrated often happens that, at the first meeting just two lines at the beginning of the of the two enemies, they seek vainly in feuilleton, which reference to the hero their souls for all this hatred which applies to Monsieur Dumas.
« He is
urged them on. There is no hatred left. amusing and jovial sword in hand At sight of each other, we only remem. but the reader may be tranquil_all
ber past friendship, mutual labours,
services rendered - we excuse mututhose he has killed are quite well."
ally the irritation, the cruelty which So far, the dispute seemed formidable,
a literary life brings along with it. likely to tend to something more than Come to fight-we are ready to for. a wordy conclusion ; but after a fort.
get. Such was my situation, as night's silence, apropos of nothing, on garded Monsieur Dumas, when, for the the skirts of a critique on Delacroix's first time since his letter, and my reply, Sketches from Hamlet, appeared the he and I met. Remembering his useful following, which we give this time
and laborious life, his unnumbered sucentire. Let Monsieur Janin colour it cesses, the literary promises he has kept, as he will, it appears very like an
and will keep, still I understood it was
impossible not to deplore all this past apology, which he hands up to where
anger. Doubtless, I could have wished Monsieur Dumas stands, some three
wiped out the annoyance he had caused or four steps above him on the critical
myself—but far rather, I would have and feuilletonic ladder :
cancelled the injury I had done him.
This kind of violence is not in my nature. “ Throughout the fourteen long days I know, while I maintain entire the rights which have
passed since our reply to the of criticism, that urbanity is one of its letter written by Monsieur Alexandre duties : but who is always master of his Dumas, I know not what strange fer. temper—who so firm, as not to follow ment agitates the two literary camps. his adversary on the ground that adver. We are met, and questioned, “How pro- sary has chosen ? Monsieur Alexander ceeds your grand quarrel ?' We hear Dumas, when, the other day, he placed
The chosen public of Paris, acute as that of Athens, concluded, from the names called, that both antagonists were right, and like the ape of Lafon. taine's fables“ Leur dit je vous connais de long ters, mes
amis, Et tous deux vous pairez l'amende Car toi, loup, tu te plains quoiqu'on ne t'ait rien
pris, Et toi Renard, as pris ce que l'on te demande."
his foot on the critic's fiery domain, was
ile and I, satisfied with our silent explanation, shook one another by the hand, without nevertheless abjuring that which we considered as a necessity, of the position we had made for ourselves—an armed reparation. It was, henceforward, the business of our seconds. But our seconds did not choose that the satisfaction should exceed
Of a duel, which now, more than ever, is a serious thing, they would not make a vain parade. They reserved to either adversary, the right which was his own— to the critic, the right of saying, in freedom of spirit and conscience, • this is bad'-to the poet, the right of defending his work with courteous arms, when attacked with courtesy: above all, they reserved to him entire, the right, excellent and noble, the poet's right, to compose fine works-so fine, that critics, even unjust critics, if such there be, must, per force, applaud. Such is this story. I tell it, because I am accustomed to tell you every thing. Here I am, forced more than before, to be severe on the works of Monsieur Dumas. He, if inclined to take bis revenge, will not lack the opportunity. In some years, no doubt, Monsieur Alexandre Dumas will be member of the French Academy. Let him wait till then. Per. haps, some fine morning, he will see his ferocious adversary arrive, to say, 'I want one vote to make up three or four, give me yours'-and the critic, if in truth he has done his duty throughout courageously, defending against each and all—against Monsieur Alexandre Dumas himself, historical men and things will bear away the vote, not, perhaps, of the author of the Demoiselles de St. Cyr, but of the author of Henry the Third, Charles the Seventh, and Christina at Fontainebleau."
Vol. XXII.-No. 132.
One word more ere we leave Mon. sieur Dumas, whom the panegyric and criticism of Monsieur Janin, place alike too high and too low. He is unquestionably a man of talent, not of genius, for he wants the delicacy and conscience in the work which show that exceptional artist—a man of quick wit, and broad jest, and double entendre, and over lively repartee, placed in the mouths of grave or refined personages, incongruously or no, so that the dialogue run lightly on-a man of expedients and resources, found any where and any how, so that the result be striking—who puts stage dresses on paradoxes, makes vice look modesty, and sensuality passion-an adept in combining situations and finding effects, having the qualities which make a stage-wright, and give scope to the success of an actor-unversed in the divination of nature, and the knowledge of the world, which make the great dramatist. His poetry, prose run mad; his prose having symptoms of incipient malady; so accustomed to exaggeration, that it has become to him a part of speech, a breath of his body, he reminds us of the frog, ever swelling itself to ape the ox, but his skin is so used to distension that no ill consequences follow. Even throughout his biography, the most interesting of his productions, we find this inflation still. His father was a natural son of the Marquis de la Pailleterie and a negress-a brave man, who, from step to step, rose to be a general offcer. He died, leaving a widow and this boy, totally unprovided for, possessing for whole fortune, their debts paid, a sum of 253 francs ; so at least says Alexandre Dumas, yet the widow of a general officer must naturally have received a pension. He tells us of his neglected education, and how, when his father died and his mother was left in poverty, he could ride the most vicious horse, and bring down a bird at thirty paces, and walk twelve
leagues to dance at a ball, but had cepted by the reading committee of scarcely acquired a smattering of Latin, the Theatre Français. Seeing that and had failed to master the four first its performance was deferred more rules of arithmetic. With fifty-three than he had hoped, young Dumas, francs in his pocket, besides letters for who was impatient and courageous, his father's former friends, and among wrote Henry III., played as soon as them one for General Foy, the youth presented. The Duke of Orleans started to seek his fortune in Paris. came to protect it in person, and its The friends had forgotton their old author, the clerk of 1200 franes a comrade, and looked coldly on his son, year, received 30,000 francs for his -the general received him kindly, but share of the profits, becoming, at a questioned him in vain. To all inqui- bound, the most brilliant and successries concerning his acquirements in ful and amusing of literary traders. mathematics, law, Latin, book-keeping, His facility, and reputation of facihe received the same reply, “ No, ge- lity, he has abused too much and neral ;" and while the youth blushed openly; it is physically impossible that to the brow, the protector was sorely he could have composed or dictated puzzled. He said, good-naturedly, one half of the novels, travels, tales, “Give me your address, and I will re. histories, dramas, and feuilletons which flect on what I can do for you ;" and bear his signature. We have heard while the youth wrote, he looked over that in the year 1840 he printed forty his shoulder.
6. This will save us," octavo volumes. Even where the work he exclaimed, “ you write a good is his own, he is far from scrupulous. hand." The next day Alexandre Du. Monsieur Dumas' success is of those mas filled a place of clerk, in the which do not become fame. bureaux of the Duke of Orleans, at Madame Emile de Girardin writes in 1200 francs a year, a fortune to him. the feuilleton of the Presse, of which His days and evenings fully occupied, her husband is editor. We may rememhe devoted his nights to studies hi- ber her as Delphine Gay, and how, when therto undreamed of, with a courage she was very young and beautiful, she and perseverance which were to find played the part of a Corinne, we think their reward. After three years so unwisely, reciting beneath Gros's magspent, the English actors, coming to nificent cupola in the Pantheon, her Paris, he saw them play Hamlet ;-it own ode in the artist's honour. Why placed him, he says, “in the situation she signs her “ Courrier de Paris," of a blind man restored to sight-of (the weekly correspondence which Adam waking after his creation, and comprehends politics, literature, and he exclaimed, . Shakespeare, I thank fashion,) " Vicomte de Launay," is to thee!'" We do not think this grati- us a mystery, since concerning the tude at all due to Shakespeare, and writer's identity, there is none, and we fail to discover any analogy be. her assumption of the male sex and a tween him and Dumas, who, before title, were altogether vain. It led this Shakspearian light displayed to her into the mistake of being neither him his sympathising powers, had pro- Vicomte de Launay, nor Madame Emile duced various vaudevilles. We adore de Girardin : the first seemed flippant the creations of the one, we applaud and effeminate overmuch, when ex. the other in spite of his. Antony and claiming, in the same breath, at the Teresa, and Angele, which are his breaking out of a revolution in Porworst performances in a moral light, tugal, and the appearance of two white are the best as specimens of his power, satin bonnets in the Tuileries—the last for they have dramatic situations which appeared not always feminine : not save them in spite of their absurdity, that we revive that trite and silly reand by the help of good acting, have proach which brands a woman as unfea deep and thrilling interest. From minine, because she has a mind she his very outset, Alexandre Dumas was makes use of, or an opinion she supe fortunate. Having devoted but three ports ; but we say this of Madame years to study, be produced a play, Emile de Girardin, because her sarand addressing himself to the kind casm sometimes points at an individual and warm-hearted Nodier, of whom rather than a vice If we were to he knew nothing', obtained through mention what we feel to be wanting him the needful introductions, and the in these letters, (just now collected in play of Christina was heard and ac- a volume under her own name,) we
should say it was simplicity—they have parents in our childhood, recognized a conceited flippancy which is disagree- in our skull, strongly developed, the able, and not always gay ; an ever- bump of mechanism." In our judgrecurring egotism, not existing there ment these letters are mechanical, and naturally, and therefore charmingly, so are the verses. Only when her symas in the old memoirs, but forcing it. pathies with humanity become stronger self ostentatiously forward ; and worse than her pre-occupation with self, when than all, they have an affectation which her feeling shall so rise as to sweep never wearies. Besides this, Madame away her affectation and vanity, will Emile de Girardin is always deter- Madame de Girardin become a poet. mined to be very amusing, and though When were rhymes poetry? In the she often succeeds, the constant glit- feuilleton written on the first performter wants repose, and we yawn when ance of Monsieur Dumas' Culigula, we are ordered to laugh. She is we find all her defects and most of writing a light article, and the positive her merits. “ Alexandre Dumas," she will that it shall be such, has now and tells us, “should naturally have given then a saddening effect, like that pro- an account of his own work in the duced by the poor muddy monkey, feuilleton—the double part of critic forced to skip piteously, while the rain and author, would have inspired him patters on his unsheltered back, when with a very piquant and spirituel artihe might be droll if permitted to tread cle ; but in a fit of modesty, wholly his native steps naturally. In the unaccountable, he yielded the office to affectation we complain of, she even Monsieur Mery;" and she goes on to affects want of feeling, though here tell us how the whole house was taken the truth might suffice. Thus, in a by Monsieur Dumas, therefore yielded letter written to examine the various to only a choice public the first row talents of Lamartine and Victor Hugo, of boxes, filled with the princesses of when we become interested in the the theatre, excepting only the royal analysis, or the reasoning, and she box, which was occupied by the Prinherself seems interested in Jocelyn or cess of Orleans and her husband, the Esmeraldo, we are startled from it by surprise having been known before exclamations_“ We will tell you in a hand, and that the poet's own manumoment that currant-coloured dresses, script ornamented with choice draw. spotted with black bouquets, are worn ings, a chef d'auvre of caligraphy, and and pretty," and, “ you shall soon hear perhaps of style, would be laid there for that Madlle. Boudran makes admira- the Duchess. If Monsieur Dumas has ble black velvet turbans ;" and else- glanced over these pages, he can scarce where, describing a pocket-handker- have found agreeable the excessive chief, she says, those with 'entre- amusement the writer derives from deux, please in all the various hours the acting, appearance, fat, and proof life, in grief or joy, they are so nunciation of Mademoiselle Ida, who very pretty, that a woman on the point has been about two years his wife. of weeping, is comforted by looking at The criticism, addressing itself chiefly them. Yet, notwithstanding this tri- to her size, is rather an unworthy one. vial trash, and although in her cor- Madame de Girardin also describes, respondence everything is touched, and for Monsieur Dumas' benefit, a medal nothing fathomed, though it wants the struck in commemoration of “ Caligufreedom of a letter, and the gravity of la's” success, and sold that night at the a criticism, it is but fair to say that it doors of the Theatre Français. Mais sparkling and amusing, and now and dame de Girardin has likewise written then witty, but the smile it rouses, is
some novels, and a play, “ L'Ecole rather that caused by a caricature, than des Journalistes," which has not been the harmony of a fine picture. There acted since. Wholly unfitted for the are even to be found in these letters stage, it is a bold and bitter attack on some few traits and touches of feeling, the vices of journalism, but unintebut choked by conceit, and very rare, resting and cold. The same task has so rare that we think the anecdote
been performed by M. de Balzac, with - Madame de Girardin gives, as against à power far more terrible, in his Gall's system, offers an argument in “ Grandhomme de Provence á Paris.” its favour. “ We compose verses, we
Monsieur de Balzac also is a feuillewrite feuilletons," she says, yet a ton novelist. We regret to see him disciple of Gall, consulted by our there. It seemed to us that the appearance of the last tale, thus gave that a young man, having suffered or increased its defects, and neutra- from an attempt at robbery or assassi. lized much of its merit. In spite of nation, would find a gendarme a bet. faults and failings undeniable, Mon. ter auxiliary than the flowers or tursieur de Balzac has shown rare and tle doves he might lose some time in admirable power ; he is of those we seeking. The imp of this tale is a may pass by as a feuilleton writer, and dark young creole, who sins for the pause before as a novelist.
pleasure of sinning, the impulse to Monsieur Eugéne Sue is the most iniquity wanting ; since through the prolific of all feuilleton writers. The two volumes we search vainly for ** Hotel Lambert,” the “ Mystères the master passion, covered but conde Paris,” we believe “ Theresa Du. suming, beneath the extraordinary noyer," appeared in this form of feuil. whim which holds the place of one, tetons. In “ Theresa Dunoyer,” Mon- prompting her to isolate her protecsieur Sue chose his personages in tress, that she may be alone in her love, middle or high life, but they are not and by her side, and pursuing her obtherefore more elevated or more pure. ject through years of crime and seThe book obtained notoriety at the crecy. Notwithstanding this, and other time, because it was circulated, we know blemishes, she stands forth darkly and not how, that the hideous incidents on forcibly drawn, through plot and unwhich it turns, are founded on true derplot, which mingle in strange conanecdotes. It would be a calumny on fusion and exaggeration, and in spite French society, in which Monsieur of lack of style and defects in compoSue, while he lets his pen run too sition, have interest and energy at rapidly, would not join. The main- times. In the “ Mystères de Paris," spring of the story could not be found the angel is one German prince, Roin real life, inasmuch as an article of dolph, the hero of nine volumes closed the code provides, that in cases where at last ; a sort of Don Quixote, who an husband is authorized to protest goes about redressing grievances, and against the birth of a child, he must administering justice, after his own do so (if on the spot) within a month views. That he may be fitted to mix after its birth-if absent, within the in the society he is to see and judge, two months following his return; so he has learned to box in Englandthat Monsieur Dunoyer could not dis- the art of the savate and the thieves' own his daughter, aged eighteen years. slang, in France. We are led by him Monsieur Sue is fond of demons and into most vile company; among murdemigods ; to be grotesque is less derers, who do not condescend to be troublesome than to be true. In each thieves ; women of no doubtful virof his novels, figure two or three tue ; indeed, the personages who figure angels and half a dozen fiends, and daily in the Gazette des Tribunaur, very little humanity. We like fairy are mild and moral, compared to those tales well, but not to hear them called of Monsieur Sue's improved copy. history. In the “ Hotel Lambert,” We should require to be clothed like the male angel is one Leon de Mor- Rodolph himself, in the garments of a ville, who has the head of an Antinous, mason turned house-breaker, to face a mind of mighty power, and a heart the kennels through which we are led. so soft that, says Monsieur Sue, “he Yet, though the pourtrayal of the had that horror of human crime, or worst crimes which brand humanity, rather of human hideousness, that he the display of the wounds and foul turned aside from guilt rather than bandages of its moral hospital, be do justice on it, and instead of crush- revolting, even to the reader, they ing an impure reptile, he would have lead from page to page, among those searched out some perfumed flower, scenes of horror where figure the emsome nest of a white turtle dove, to re- piric, who sells drugs to the weeping pose or recreate his eye. This system mother, and arsenic to the heir the of infinite commiseration,may expose to hideous portress, who connives for her be a second time stung, even while new-year's fee—the hag, who torgazing up at the blue sky to avoid the ments the fair girl's infancy and sells reptile's sight. The best things have her youth ; there are others of a retheir drawbacks.” We should, indeed, deeming nature. suppose this a dangerous mode of tra- We have so frankly given our opivelling over serpents, and can imagine nion of the dangerous tendency of