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ment is in M. Karr's worst style. M. Chaumier, burgess of the little The substance of the offending por- town of Fontainebleau.” And here we tion may be inoffensively given in pause to remark that nothing can be very few words. Monsieur Lauter is more capricious and fantastical than a German, good, kind-hearted, gene- the general arrangement of M. Karr's rous, and resident at Chalons-sur- books. His chapters are of all lengths, Marne. An affectation of a stoical from six lines to any number of pages. and unbending character is his prin- We could point out some of two lines, cipal weakness. His wife, Rosalie, and of a line and a half, and that are a blooming Frenchwoman seventeen considerably shorter than their arguyears younger than himself, has ren. ment. Sometimes he devotes a chapter dered him the happy father of two to a letter to Jules Janin, or some beautiful children, son and daughter. other friend, or to the narration of an A few years after their birth he de- incident personal to himself, and entects her in an intrigue with an tirely unconnected with the book, or empty coxcomb, a new comer to the to gossip about a dog, a flower, or a town. Rosalie's character, although lizard - in short, to anything that tinged with coquetry, was previously comes uppermost. At first one smiles unsullied. Lauter forgets his stoicism, at the oddity of these digressions, and puts a pistol-case under his arm, and admires the neatness and independent walks out in the grey of the morning point that some of them possess; but with the seducer. From that day after a time they become wearisome, forward neither husband nor lover are the reader considers them as knots seen or heard of. This last sentence upon the thread of the story, and brings us to page 50, where the scene wonders why they are introduced, changes : a leap is taken over three unless with the purpose of swelling the years, and one reads far into the book volume—to the attainment of which before conjecturing the necessity of object the three line chapters, made a the preliminary incident. And when pretext for three pages of white paper, its intimate connection with the plot very considerably contribute. And of the novel at last appears, we are doubtless many of M. Karr's readers, under the charm of a most engaging puzzled to explain his vagaries, his narrative, delicately told; and the occasional crude sophisms and impercynical levity of the commencement, tinent assertions, end by imputing to already wellnigh forgotten, flashes him either an immoderate share of upon our memory as doubly offensive. affectation, or a slight derangement in The incident could hardly have been the cells of his brain, insufficient, howdispensed with, but it might have ever, to nentralise his amusing qualibeen very differently told, with a ties as a writer. If he has his defects, gravity and conciseness that would he, upon the other hand, carefully have greatly increased its effect. The avoids many to which his contempomanner is here the offence. Doubt- raries are prone. He is conscientiously less there are very few of the weak- brief in his descriptions, and scruples nesses and sins to which humanity is not to quiz Balzac unmercifully for his "liable of which the novelist may not long-windedness in this particular. A rightfully avail himself, with the lau. satirist by profession, the editor of the dable view of pointing a moral and Guèpes gives his brother novelist the warning from vice. But he should full length of his lash. Fortunately beware of missing his aim, and mak. poor Balzac's broad shoulders were ing that from which it is his duty to pretty well used to the thong, which deter, appear, even for the moment, is applied, moreover, with all good venial or attractive. The handling humour. Nobody will mistake the may constitute all the difference be- object of the following bit of parody, tween a wholesome lesson and a re- extracted from Une Histoire Inpugnant and dangerous picture. vraisemblable. A friend has been
Let us talk a little,” says M. reproaching M. Karr with a brevity Karr, by manner of heading to his too great for his own interest. “When tenth chapter, after effecting, in the you write romances," he says, “ arc last line of the ninth, the disappear- you not paid, like other people, by the ance of M. Lauter and his rival, of line, the page, the sheet?"
" Certainly," replies M. Karr; Watteau fan, would let the reader off " why should I not conform to the so cheaply. The most fertile of our established custom in such matters ?" novelists, (Balzac is here meant,]
" Conform to established custom who, after all, is a man of great as much as you like, but at least study talent, once built a house with the the masters of the art, and learn of price of the description of a chest of them not to squander your subject. drawers. There was nothing deficient Recollect that, paid by the line, in the house, except a staircase, but Larochefoucauld, if he had lived in that must not be attributed to the onr days, and lived by the produce of insufficiency of the drawers, but to the his pen, would have obtained by his absence of mind of the author, who, Marims scarcely a fortnight's subsist- being his own architect, had omitted ence. You have already brought upon the stairs in the plan he gave to the the scene an innkeeper, half-a-dozen masons — a circumstance which I travellers, a conscript and his family, neither invent nor exaggerate." This all of which were portraits to paint. is the sort of sarcastic gossip and And the inn! do you think one of the caricature indulged in by M. Karr, masters I speak of would have let off to an extent sometimes nearly as the inn as cheaply as you have done? tiresome as Balzac's interminable deFar from it. Every saucepan would scriptions of chairs and tables. To have paid him toll to the tune of ten return, however, to M. Chaumier, of sous, at the very least. And the Fontainebleau, the brother of Madame chimney! he would not give the Rosalie Lauter, who had married chimney for fifteen francu; and there against his will, and with whom he is also a carriage from which you had since held no communication. might have extracted a profit." Here is his house, as described by M.
“ Would you bave had me stop it Karr, who, himself an enthusiastic on the road ?"
lover of the country, of gardens, trees, “ No, but that carriage owes you and flowers, is very happy in sketches ten francs, which you might have paid of the kind. “ The entrance was yourself."
through an alley of acacias, with And the friend proceeds with cari. thick and tufted foliage, at the extrecatures of the verbose style of various mity of which was a little dark green literary celebrities. Thus instructed, door, where hung a deer's foot, by way M. Karr watches an opportunity to of bell.handle. When the door was profit by the valuable hints he has opened, you entered a court, each of received. Presently casual mention whose flags was surrounded by a fringe is made of a fan. The chance is too of grass. In one corner was a well, good to be lost. " This time," he so old that the stone brim was worn exclaims, “ the fan shall not escape away, and covered with reddishtoll-free; the fan shall not pass with green moss. At the bottom of the out paying a ransom. It is a fan in courtyard stood a two-storey house, white satin, with golden spangles. reached by a small flight of steps, Upon it are painted shepherds, but with a rusty iron railing; the groundwhat shepherds ! trees, but what floor comprising the dining-room, M. trees! sheep, but what sheep! The Chaumier's bed-room and study, and shepherdess has a sprinkling of powder the kitchen. On the first floor were on her hair! a boddice of pink satin, the bedchambers of little Rose Chauwith green ribbons ; & petticoat of mier, of her brother Albert, and of the same, puffed out over enormous Dame Modeste Rolland, M.Chaumier's hoops, and elegantly turned up with confidential housekeeper. The upper green bows, like the boddice. On her story served as fruit and store-room : feet she has little shoes, with high the linen was spread there to dry, and heels ; in her hand a crook, adorned sometimes Honoré Rolland, Modeste's with ribbons ; she is seated on blue husband, and a soldier by profession, grass, beneath the shadow of lilac occupied it for the rare intervals during trees," &c. &c., to the extent of a page which the state could dispense with and a half. “I do not know many his services. In rear of the house was of my cotemporaries," M. Karr then a large garden, of wild and uncnltiobserves, “ who, having caught a vated aspect. Before M. Chaumier
bought the property, the garden characters; the description of their had been perfectly cultivated ; but happy life in the little country-house since then, thanks to neglect, tbistles, and its wild old garden; the envy, nettles, and other weeds had choked hatred, and malice of Modeste Rolthe delicate flowers; the trees alone land, who racks her spiteful invention and a few vigorous plants had re- to devise annoyances for Madame sisted, and had even attained a re- Lauter, to whom she has vowed markable size. Two large apple- eternal detestation ; the long-suffering trees, a service-tree, over which a of Rosalie, who, humbly penitent and clematis twined, lilacs, enormous anxious for her children, courageously moss-grown rose-trees, formed the and patiently submits to the petty principal riches of the garden; poppies insults of her persecutor rather than sowed themselves every year, and at disturb the tranquillity of her brother's the angle of the coping of the wall, house — these and other domestic blossomed a bright cluster of wall- matters furnish M. Karr with several flower." Add to the persons men- charming chapters, tolerably free from tioned in this description Madame those unseasonable digressions and Rosalie Lauter and her two children, speculations with which, however, he Leon and Genevieve, and we at once never can entirely abstain from intergroup together all, save one, of the larding and deteriorating his volumes. prominent characters of the book. Leon and Albert go to study at Paris; Three years after her husband's dis Madame Lauter sells her last trinkets, appearance, Madame Lauter writes to that her son may have the same her brother. Herself ignorant of allowance as his cousin. In her letters Lauter's fate, she has lived repen- she urges him to work hard ; but Leon tant and retired, devoting herself to takes this for a mere matter-of-course her children. “By selling all I have,” recommendation, and attends more to she says to M. Chaumier, “I shall music than to books. He has a fine realise about thirty thousand franes. voice, and in a short time he becomes Will you let me go and live with you? a proficient on the violin. This purYou shall guide me in the employ- suit, and the recollection of his pretty ment of my little fortune, and in the cousin Rose, his childish partiality for education of my children; I will re- whom is merging in manly love, preplace, for yours, the mother they have serve him from the dissipation inlost—and thus surrounded, we will dulged in by Albert, who is of a more grow old in peace and affection. volatile and frivolous character. ReYour answer, my good brother, will buffed by a pretty widow, whose conrestore me to happiness or plunge me quest, in his boyish vanity, he fancied into deepest discouragement." In he had made, Albert retreats to russpite of the manœuvres of Modeste tication at Fontainebleau. And now Rolland, who purloins the letter from begin poor Genevieve's sorrows. She her master's pocket, and does all she loves her cousin with the purest affecdares to prevent compliance with its tion, and is repaid by indifference. _request, M. Chaumier, who, although Albert never dreams of regarding her
negro-emancipator and theoretical otherwise than as a sister, and is Tanthropist, is not quite dead to wholly unaware of her sentiments
more practical sympathies of towards him. He tortures her by manity, welcomes his sister and carving upon the trees of the forest
children. Madame Lanter has the initials of his disdainful Parisian Fer-estimated the probable proceeds beauty, and returus to Paris for his
her little property. It yields but last year of pretended stady and wenty thousand francs; and as she real idleness. All this time Leon lares not, and will not be a tax upon dreams of Rose, neglects his law her brother, she sinks this little sum books, and plays concertos. He is on upon her life, justifying the act in her the way to become a first-rate musiown eyes by the reflection that it will cian and no lawyer. An unexpected enable her to give her children a good letter from Genevieve gives him a education, which leads to everything. terrible shock. Madame Lauter is
The four cousins grow up together, dead, during the absence of her The development of their respective brother, to whom on the eve of her decease she dictates a letter,commend. happy, on my recommendation, to ing her children to his care. Two give you the few lessons you still days after her funeral, M. Chaqmier's need; call upon him to-morrow with fortune is trebled by the favourable a letter I will give you.' Kreutzer termination of a long-pending law, gave no lesson under twenty francs ; suit. He promises Genevieve and it was a piece of good luck Leon Leon to be a father to them, and would never have dared to hope for. keeps his promise tolerably well until He could not help admiring the Leon one day declares bis rooted punctuality and exactness of the aversion to the law, and his intention professor, who never abridged the to adopt music as a profession. lesson even by five minutes. And Whereupon his uncle desires him to what equally astonished him was, reckon no longer on his support, and that, whilst Kreutzer thus faithfully to keep away from his house—which fulfilled the duties of a friendsbip Leon accordingly leaves, after declar- such as is rarely met with, he never ing his love to Rose and obtaining an inquired after his friend. One day assurance that it is reciprocated. Leon and M. Anselmo met Kreutzer
Besides his cousin Albert and his in the street, "To whom did you student comrades, Leon has one bow?' said M. Anselmo to Leon. intimate, who is almost a friend. This " Did you not recognise him ?. is & fellow-lodger named Anselmo, "No." a fanatico per la musica, who, attract “ It was your friend, M. ed by Leon's musical skill, has sought Kreutzer. his acquaintance, and occasionally " I did not see him.' visits him to smoke a pipe and listen " . It is surprising.' to his violin. He makes long absences 6. Very surprising.' from Paris, and Leon has not seen "He passed close to us; but much of him, but has nevertheless neither did he seem to recognise conceived a sort of affection for him, you.' founded on the simple but dis. “ One morning M. Anselmo said tinguished manners of Anselmo, on to Leon— It is time for you to earn the interest he seems to take in his money; you have a fine talent; my affairs, and on the encouragement he friend Kreutzer will be so obliging gives him to struggle bravely along as to give you a few more lessons, the up-hill road of life. Indeed, and any advice you may need. But Anselmo shows a degree of good whilst thus perfecting yourself, you feeling and sympathy naturally capti- must make yourself heard, and give vating to a young and generous heart. lessons in your turn. Here is the After his rupture with bis uncle, Leon address of a pupil with whom you at once proceeds to consult his friend, will commence the day after toand to inform him of his project, or morrow; he will give you ten francs rather of his resolution.
a lesson. The price is almost ridicu“ M. Anselmo encouraged him, and, lous for a young professor; but you without ceasing to be bis assiduous should give no lessons at a lower auditor, entirely changed his manner rate. There are few real connoisof listening. It was no longer a seurs, and the majority estimate personal satisfaction he sought when music only by what it costs. Leon Leon played on the violin ; he no knew not how to thank M. Anselmo; longer gave himself up to the charm but M. Anselmo said to him— You of melody. He judged, criticised, owe me no thanks; one of my found fault, insisted on numerous friends, a very rich man, wishes his repetitions of the same passages. son to learn the violin. He asked Then, when there was an important me to tell him of a good professor ; opera, a good concert, or a great you were at hand : I must have gone artist to be heard, M. Anselmo out of my way not to render you always had, by chance, in the pocket this little service; and, besides, I know of his old brown coat, a ticket for few professors whose play pleases me the concert or theatre. One day he as much as yours. I am off to said to Leon- I am very intimate Germany, and shall not return till with M. Kreutzer; he will be most spring. Write to me sometimes, and
tell me of your success, for I am sure the shabbiness of his only coat, you will succeed. Farewell.'”
abounds in opera and concert tickets, M. Karr here skips over a year and has interest to procure, gratis, in three pages, occupied by gossip music-lessons usually paid at twenty about an ink-bottle and a barcarole. francs a-piece. About this time he In the interim, Genevieve had been returns from Germany, in the same forbidden to see her brother, had threadbare garb and ancient hat; declined obeying, and had gone to traces Leon to his new lodgings, live with him. Leon, whose reputa. secures a room in the same house, and tion daily augmented, and who earned becomes acquainted with Rose. His a tolerable income, occupied a little arrival was opportune to raise the apartment in the Rue St Honoré. spirits of the brother and sister. It His musical talent made him much was a Sunday evening; they had sought after in society; and his uncle, been to dine as asual at their uncle's, to whom he never failed respectfully and had found no one. M. Chaumier to bow when they met at a ball or and Rose had gone upon a party of concert, was not sorry sometimes to pleasure. As to Albert, he had not say: The young man is my nephew. been seen at his father's for a week. “ Once, when M. Chaumier had said Genevieve and Leon looked mournthis, he found himself puzzled to fully at each other. For them the reply to the very natural question Sunday was the festival that sup• Why do we never meet him at your ported them through tbe privations Sanday parties?' It was impossible and monotony of the other six days. to say - Because I forbade him my But their concern was more for each house; and I did so because he would other than for themselves. Under be a musician, and acquire the talent all disappointments, the tenderest you applaud, and of which I myself fraternal love supported them. M. cannot help being rather proud.' So, Anselmo happened to have opera one day M. Chaumier beckoned Leon tickets in his pocket. And this time, to him, and saidNephew Leon, by a lucky chance, it was a whole there is mercy for every offence. I box, instead of two places ; so that may have thought it right to punish Rose accompanied her brother and an outbreak of youthful wilfulness, his friend, who soon, by his kindness but I did not mean to banish my and attention, became her friend also. sister's children for ever from my One morning he came early to visit house. Rose and Albert-when we them. “ I have a walk to propose see Albert-speak of you two every to you,' he said. "I am the agent of Sunday, when there are always two Baron Arnberg, a rich German nobleplaces empty at table, which I do man, who proposes residing at Paris, not like to see. Come, then, next and I am having a house built for Sunday, with your sister, and let us him in the Champs Elysées. He has forget our little differences. By an given very exact instructions on all involuntary impulse, Rose threw her the principal points, but he leaves the arms round her father's peck, to details to me. The house is just thank him for this good thought, finished, but wants decorations, and which he had confided to no one. the garden has to be laid out. M. Leon thanked M. Chaumier aloud, Arnberg has a son and daughter, and Rose with her eyes and heart. whom he tenderly loves. Their apartThenceforward Genevieve and Leon ments must be fitted up, but I am dined every Sunday at their uncle's. old, and have forgotten what pleases
" Albert had bought a solicitor's a young man ; and I am entirely practice, and left everything to his ignorant as to the tastes of a young head clerk, whilst he himself thought lady. I want you, therefore, to help only of amusement."
me in my undertaking with your ad"M. Anselmo had written twice to vice. We will breakfast together at I.eon, who had forgotten to answer the Champs Elysées, and afterwards him."
we will visit the baron's future habil'erhaps the reader may already tation. On his return from the have his suspicions concerning this house, where, having received carte M. Anselmo, who, notwithstanding blanche as to expense, he and Gene