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their husbands have had anything to do with sentiments like the following, we leave the curious reader to judge: “L'union de l'homme à la femme devrait etre passagere dans les desseins de la Providence : tout s'oppose a leur association, et la changement est une necessité de leur nature.

Il y a un refuge contre les hommes-c'est le suicide : il y a un refuge contre Dieuc'est le neant.", These sentiments are sufficiently odious. But if Madame Dudevant makes use of such occasionally, she tries to make amends for them under other circumstances. This Balzac never does. In his essays, as well as in his novels, he is always the same libeller of woman, the same enemy of the marriage institution. In one of the former he gravely says, referring to his novels : "I have shown that it is almost impossible for a married woman to preserve her virtue in France qu'il est presque impossible à une femme marriée de rester vertueuse en France." The brief passage or two we have quoted from Madame Dudevant's Lelia are equally subversive of the chief bond of human society and happiness. But never, in her calm, serious moments, does she utter any such sentiments ; but, on the contrary, as an extract or two from her Lettres à Marcie will serve to show as examples :

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“It is strange that the most fanatical partizans for marrriage should severally make use of the argument the fittest to render marriage odious, Reciprocally the horrible error of promiscuous intercourse is professed by men who defend the equality of women, so that two incontestible truths, the equality of the sexes and the sanctity of their union, are compromised by their own champions. The clumsy aphorisms of masculine superiority have only become so bitter because the pretensions of women to independence have been so excessive. Women are unfit for those employments which the laws have hitherto denied them.

Man's organization assigns a part to him ; woman's assigns another part to her; one not less noble, not less beautiful, and which I cannot conceive she should complain of, unless her intelligence be depraved.

Women complain of being brutally enslaved, badly brought up, badly educated, badly treated, and badly defended. All this is unfortunately true. These complaints are just, and do not doubt, but that before long a thousand voices will be uplifted to remedy the evils. But what confidence can be inspired by women who, in advancing to claim for themselves that share of dignity which marriage denies them, and, above all, that portion of sacred authority over their children, which the law refuses them, denied, not domestic peace, not the liberty of maternal affection, but to spealc in the forum, to wear the helmet and sword, to participate in the condemnation of prisoners.

Madame Dudevant is as superior to Balzac in her style as she is in the general tone of her sentiments. It is not, indeed, diffi

cult to surpass him in this respect. Dialogue is the only form in which he is even tolerable, because in this he adopts the language of conversation. But when he attempts to describe, he is rarely otherwise than mechanical and affected. With him, dress is everything. A woman is beautiful or otherwise, according to the skill of her milliner, or the richness and variety of her toilet. In one of his descriptions of natural scenery, he compares nature not to a beautiful woman, but to a woman dressed for the ball (comme une femme parée qui va au bal). In nine cases out of ten, it is the milliner, and not nature, that gets the credit from Balzac, when a woman makes an agreeable impression; and when it is otherwise, the compliment paid is often equivocal. Thus, for example, in his Lys dans la Vallée, he makes Vandenesse exclaim, on seeing Madame de Mortsauf, "Aussitot je sentis une celeste odeur de myrrhes et d'aloes, un parfum de femme qui brilla dans mon cæur.” In describing Beatrix, standing on a rock, he scarcely omits a single article on her person : "Le visage adouci par le réflet d'un chapeau de paille de riz, sur lequel êtaient jetes de coquelicots et noué par un ruban couleur ponceau en robe mousseline á fleurs avançant son petit piet fluet chaussé d'une guetre verte, s'appuyant sur sa fréle ombrelle, en montrant sa belle main bien gante." Nothing contrasts more strongly with this than the exquisite style of Madame Dudevant. In no other writer are all the finer characteristics of the French language so felicitously combined. She is in turn witty, humorous, epigramatic, pathetic and playful. Her scenic descriptions are the most graphic, poetical and graceful to be found in any language. The misfortune is, that where she is most wonderfully poetical, she is also most immoral. This is the case in her Lélia, in which she describes lake and mountain scenery with the picturesque vividness of the painter. We have no room for extracts, save a sentence or two, which can be detached from the context like a verse from a poem, such, for instance, as “ Entendez-vous le son plaintif de l'eau qui se brise et s'ecarte? Entendezvous ces frêles gouttes qui tombent une à une en mourant derière nous, comme les petites notes grêles d'un refrain qui s'elogine? Combien de fois a l'entree de la nuit, au lever de la lune, on aux premieres clartés du jour-combien de fois, dans le silence de nuit et dans cet autre silence de midi, si accablant, si inquiet, si divorant, nai-je pas sen tis mon caur se précipiter vers un but inconnu, vers un bonheur sans form et sans nom, qui est au ciel, qui est dans l'air, qui est partout comme un aimant invisible comme l'amour !"

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But it will be asked, if Balzac does not possess charms of some kind, why has he been so mnch read? We have already indicated. one source of his popularity—the chief source—that is, the minuteness with which he describes scenes and situations which most other writers shrink froin alluding to. But he is also a great delineator of character. Herein lies his forte. He understands the secret motives of men and women, in all their actions, better than any other writer—not excepting George Sand. But he wants the passion of the latter. The heroes and heroines of Madame Dudevant err through love, jealousy or revenge ; but with Balzac,

; even the habitual seducer of married women, is actuated more by the love of gain, than any feeling of tenderness for his victim. In short, the lessons taught by Balzac, are the worst ever put into the market for a price ; since, if they were acted upon, there would be no such thing as female virtue, or conjugal fidelity—no religion, and very little, if any, honesty. Are the American people ready to accept such teachings ?—to admit into their family libraries, and into the hands of their wives and daughters, books so infamously licentious, as to have been deemed worthy, even in Paris, of being burned by the common hangman? It will not do to say that what is false, as applied to women in general, is true of French women. Such would be a gross libel on the latter, among whom are to be found as noble specimens of womanhood, as faithful wives and exemplary mothers, as any other women in the world. No other women have shown such heroic devotion to their husbands in their misfortunes. In what other country, ancient or modern, do we find the superior, in this respect, of Madame Lavalette ; and she is but one of scores who, in similar circumstances, were willing to submit their own necks to the guillotine in order to save those of their husbands. But were it even true that Balzac's countrywomen are as false and base as he describes. them, would it be well to teach the virtuous those arts by which such baseness is carried into practical effect to the detriment and disgrace of society? If, only for decency's sake, no lady should read such books, no matter how strongly recommended by “enterprising" publishers; she should assume a “virtue, if she have it not;" or as Moliere puts a similar sentiment into the mouth of Philante

" Mais quand on est du monde, il faut bien que l'on rende
Quelques dehors civils que l'usage demande."

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Art. IX.-NOTICES AND CRITICISMS.

BELLES LETTRES.

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Harrington ; A Story of True Love. By the author of “What Cheer," “ The

Ghost," “ A Christmas Story," "A Tale of Lynn," &c. 12mo., pp. 558.

Boston : Thayer & Eldridge. 1860. In no single volume that we have had time to examine, within the last year or two, have we found so many “isms," as there are in this. That, however, which predominates above all the rest, is fanaticism. This is to be found in all sorts of combinations ; but it has a greater affinity for abolitionism than for any of its crazy sisters. According to our author, the world has never yet been able to appreciate the Negro race. The Caucasians are, indeed, excellent people when they happen to live in the right latitude and longitude; and the nearer the North Pole the better they are. But if they happen to live south of a certain line, they degenerate in a similar ratio. They are seldom, if ever, actuated by generous emotions; they have little talent and no genius. But just in proportion as they are thus stupid and insensible to the more ennobling impulses of humanity, their Negro servants become ingenious, patriotic, religious, wise and good. In short, in “cruel bondage," as the latter are, their intellectual faculties are almost in as highly developed a state as those of their brethren of the fatherland, who enjoy all the benefits of African civilization, and who, no matter what certain ethnologists may pretend to the contrary, are most probably the descendants of those Egyptians who built the pyramids!

This is really no exaggeration of the manner in which our author constructs his abolition syllogisms. Such absurdities never served any cause ; but it is equally true that they can do no harm. Although evidently meant to be very serious, they are too much in the burlesque style to awaken much resentment even among the most jealous and sensitive defenders of the “peculiar institution.” But still more bombastic, if possible, is the praise bespattered on the Abolitionists, male and female, as with a trowel. Had it been the author's design to have them laughed at, he could hardly have succeeded better ; such is the extravagant adulation he has bestowed upon them.

But let us be just to him at the same time, and admit that if he is too often rather suggestive of a lunatic asylum, there is method in bis madness. If he says absurd things, it is not because he has not read, studied and observed. Of this he often gives agreeable and instructive evidence. Just as we are going to throw away his book, half in disgust, he glances off into some brilliant sketch or episode ; passes from the Elizubethian to the Alexandrian age, from Bacon to Aristotle, and from Aristotle to Macaulay. This done, one is ready to overlook most, if not all, of his extravagances; and all the more willingly, because he is an extremest on one ism, as well as another. Whether he talks of liberty, political or social, marriage, or Woman's Rights, the author

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ship of Hamlet, or the great reform which is to inaugurate the millennium, heis equally outré bombastic and whimsical. Yet, here and there we find a dialogue, a description, a portraiture, or a piece of lively, rapid narrative, with which we cannot help being pleased ; nay, sometimes we have to confess that we are under the influence of a genuine fascination. With the politics of “ Harrington" we have nothing to do; and as little

; with its ethics, which are rather of the “fast” kind—as much out of joint as the story, and as much unlike what we really want to render us good and happy, as the Negro is unlike the Caucasian. But it is only fair to admit, that without saying a word of either, we could find many passages in the book before us which, if they emanated from an author of established reputation, would receive no slight admiration. Having found so much fault, it would be hardly just to conclude, even so hurried a glance as this, without giving, at. least an extract or two. This we will do, merely premising that we must be guided in our selection much more by our space than by the merits of what we transcribe. The following sketch of Muriel is no indifferent specimen of the lively, hit-or-miss style of portraiture :

" Muriel bas a passion for liberal culture, and fencing is part of her programme.

“Isn't she glorious ?' cried Wentworth, with enthusiasm. "A woman a young goddess, , rather ! By Jovel the best swimmer of all the girls last summer at Gloucester. The best skater last winter on Jamaica pond. Climbed the mountains in October with the best of us. Runs like Atalanta. Dances like Terpsichore. Sings like a seraph. Talks in a voice liko Israfel's. Studies almost as hard as you do, Harrington. And now sho sences like an angel. I declare she's a perfect Crichtona. And yet how womanly, withal ! Not a touch of tho masculino about her. Gay,. free, strong, sweet-oh, fairy prince, thore's none like you-none !'

“ Harrington listened to this ardent celebration of the charms of her Wentworth called the fairy prince, in perfect silence, and with a secret astonishment in his pale, controlled countenance.. Ho believed Wentworth loved Muriel, but for the life of him he could not reconcile this lavish panogyrio with that belief. For love is reticent, and we let espressive silence muse the sweetheart's praise. How, then, could Wenthworth thus blazon his beloved ? Harrington was: puzzled.

"There's a curious element of surpriso in Muriel, too,' resumed Wentworth, with a musing air. She is so gentle, so reposeful and graceful, that when she flashes out in these courageous physical accomplishments I always feel a little astonished. Don't you, Harrington ?

"Oh, no,' returned Harrington. "She has a rich, vorsatile, inclusive nature. You know that this union of feminine gentleness and manly spirit is not so uncommon. There was the Countess Emily Plater, for example, the heroino of the Polish Revolution ; yet with all her bravery, she was pecullarly tender and gentle. Thoro, again, was tho Maid of Saragossa, who fought for her country over the body of her lovor ; but Byron, who saw her often at Madrid, says she was remarkable for her soft, feminine beauty. Muriel is a wonian of the same style, I suppose. Come, Richard, let's go.'

“ They saluted the old Frenchman, who stood with the Hungarian at tho pistol-bench, and left the room."-pp. 115, 116.

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Chapter the third, on Quarte and Tierce, in which Monsieur Bagasse acts the part of a fencing master-doing and saying some amusing things—is somewhat suggestive of Monsieur Jourdan's maitre d'armes, in the third scene of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, though the former is neither so natural, nor so. laughable as the latter ; especially that part in which Molière makes the fencing master, dancing master, and musician enter into an argument as to the relative merits and value of their respective arts. The gravity with which the fencing master of the Bourgeois Gentilhomme informs the music master that

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