Puslapio vaizdai

stitches of this hemming were remarkable. He turned it over, conning it inch by inch: the succession of long and short stiches spelt out a message in the dashes and dots of the Morse code. It was brief. It contained the word "fight," and the code name they had invented for one of their trysting places forty miles away in the foot-hills.

He rummaged about still further, and found some mealie cobs. They were dry and hard, and seemed to have been overlooked for some time. With these and some water from a shallow well he staved off hunger. Filling his pockets with the last half-dozen, he set out on foot to the northward.

The steppe was not difficult walking, so he kept a couple of hundred yards from the trail and parallel to it. This meant a good deal of extra labour, since every now and then he had to hark back to make sure that he had not lost the direction. He tramped hard till the dawn rose over the mountains, to which he toiled.

grass. Soon he recognised Afzal and the Cossack Prikaznik. They welcomed him with joy, and explained that they had had to fight a Red party which surrounded the Sart's farm, and to retire to the spot fixed beforehand, a group of springs named Kizil Bulak. All was well; one of the Cossacks was slightly wounded, and they had ridden back with a spare horse to find him. That evening they reached Kizil Bulak, heartily glad to rest from all their troubles before a cheery but carefully-shielded fire. Their only anxiety now was about Xenia and Iwwaz Bai and the Plan, but the subaltern felt that the old man would pull through somehow. day he sent out three small patrols in likely directions to help them in. It was not till the morning after that they appeared, not only safe, but with the Plan intact, and escorted by half a dozen friendly smiling Kirghiz, who bowed low before Iwwaz Bai. How at last they reached the energetic young Cossack colonel who had succeeded the revered Ataman, how he welcomed the timely Plan, how they joined in the raids and attacks of the Irtysh Cossacks, and how


He rested a little, and marched on through the morning. It was well after noon when he spied three tiny dots on the vast sweep of the at last they achieved an imhorizon before him. In an hour they had become two horsemen leading a spare horse, coming towards him. He lay hid in some clumps of high

mense desert journey through the ancient cities of Samarkhara and Sogdiana to a remote British consulate in Persia, is another story.




THIS volume is the third of a series of Letters, the first of which were written by Ernest Renan as a seminarist, and the second principally from Saint-Sulpice between the years 1838 and 1846.

The third volume begins in the year 1846, when Renan was twenty-three, and gives his intimate personal history during four years in Paris. His correspondent was his sister Henriette, ten years older than himself, and, like many an elder sister, the devoted admirer, protector, and helper of her brilliantly-gifted younger brother.

Ernest was in the difficult position of having renounced a clerical career, while yet without other means of support, from the sole motive of intellectual honesty. The step he had taken was deplored by his mother, a lady of limited understanding, but quite alive to her own pecuniary interests. On the other hand, it was applauded by Henriette, a highlyeducated woman, with perceptions as clear, and a sense of honour as delicate, as her brother's. Long before he won his first distinction as a student of Oriental languages, she divined his genius, and her faith in his future never faltered.

Henriette belonged to that aristocracy of women to whom self-sacrifice is as natural as self-interest is to their inferiors. For the sake of helping her family, and particularly of providing funds to enable Ernest to continue his studies in Paris, she took a position for ten years in the family of a Polish count, and her exile from country, home, and friends was complete. What alleviations her lot contained we do not know, but some there must surely have been, or the delicate woman would hardly have survived those ten long years. In her letters she never speaks of any pleasures, either of scene or of society, but laments the bitter climate, the frozen soil, the heavy ceaseless snows of the six-months' winter. The people around her are referred to in a mass as " ces barbares," but by her younger brother, when his feelings are embittered on her account, as ces cannibales." She lived in his letters following his labours, trials, and triumphs. He writes to her of everything-that is, of everything that concerns himself, as is the way of youth, and he writes the more fully because she is his only confidante.


"You are perhaps the only

person to whom I tell my to his sister after one of his thoughts, besides one single first examinations; and the friend, my faithful and under- result of these was nearly alstanding Berthelot. When I ways the same-a fresh success, talk to other people, I simply and another friend. It was agree with them." fortunate, for he depended much on mental intercourse, and had no other recreation.

He was by no means expansive, this prudent young man. The times were very difficult, and his future as yet unassured. He lived with the utmost economy, cultivated the acquaintance of learned men, and laboured unceasingly, saving his moments as a miser saves gold. He was working for University honours, and at the same time preparing for publication a Hebrew Grammar, a project which had already won notice and encouragement from men whose notice was an honour. Whatever the stringency of outer circumstances, and however narrow his means, Renan never had to complain of neglect or indifference from the learned men of his day. M. le Clerc, the severe Latinist; M. Reinaud of the Bibliothèque Royale ; M. Cousin, that philosophic idol of his generation; and, above all, M. Durnouf the Orientalist, recognised the importance of Ernest Renan while he was as yet unimportant, undistinguished, almost unknown. They never failed to respect at first sight that scholarly thoroughness which makes irresistible appeal to the scholar.

"He seemed to think I had gone to the bottom of the subject" (la question lui a paru traitée à fond), Ernest wrote

"Minds are only formed by contact with minds," he thought. to have some exciting cause outside oneself." Like all enthusiasts in their youth, he enjoyed his solitary hours of work. "These are the fruits I gain from my solitary concentrated life: finding strength in myself, and inward activity to supply the place of outward. What, am I alone when I have Kant, Herder, Plato, Leibniz with me? Where will you find men like these, and where do they speak more familiarly than in their books? Talking with them, I exclaim to myself

""Tis so necessary

'How doth the sight of such exalt me in myself!'

and in my poor, little, bare, and lonely room I pass some moments of incredible fulness of happiness. Then sad realities occur to my mind; but they count for little with me when I begin to speculate. Ah! how I thank God for having placed my happiness in thinking and feeling!"

It is the language of youth, and perfectly sincere. At a later time, when he was placed for some weeks at Versailles, taking the place of the learned M. Bersot, and occupying his

luxurious flat, Ernest felt his heart yearn towards the bare walls and familiar wooden table of his poor old room. "I lived through so much there," he reflected; "I thought and felt so many things there."


And he was tempted to retake the poor old room when he should return to Paris. Perhaps, philosopher though he was, the fear of death withheld him since, in fact, he must have been almost frozen alive when he worked at night in that "glacial chamber," the thought of which was more paralysing to poor Henriette than the freezing winds of Poland. But who that has worked heart and soul at some congenial subject, with an exciting contest ahead, and all the uncertainties of competition, can fail to understand Ernest's affection for the room where he toiled at his Historical and Theoretical Essay on the Semitic Languages in general, and on the Hebrew Language in particular '? The subject was so ambitious, the labour it entailed so arduous, that he confided to no one except Henriette his project of competing for the Prix Volney; and the time, besides, was so short that he often sat up for half the night in that unwarmed room, visited by none except the faithful Berthelot, who would bring him hot tisanes to drink, inquire what number of pages he had finished, and give general sympathy and support. At last, on the morning of 15th March,

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But now came a heavy blow. He had counted and measured his competitors for the Prix Volney, and thought he had no serious reason to fear any of them. At the eleventh hour M. Pillon entered the lists, a celebrated Hellenist, sixty years old, whose works were already famous. It was quite unprecedented that a savant with a reputation of long standing should compete for this prize, which was always intended as an encouragement to young aspirants. It was as though M. Cousin should present himself at an examination in philosophy. To Ernest it seemed that his chance was gone. Without a trace of resentment in his deep disappointment, he remarked

"M. Pillon is an honourable and laborious savant if ever there was one. A whole life of labour, signalised by the production of most useful works, is assuredly more than enough to cause a decision in his favour at a competition like this; in addition to which I have heard elsewhere that M. Pillon is very little favoured in point of fortune, and this step alone is enough to prove it; for it cannot be in search of honour that he is entering

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Words which show an admirable temper in one at least of M. Pillon's opponents. The final result was a remarkable one, in fact unique, for the Commissioners were so much impressed by the merit, and more particularly by the scope of Renan's Essay, that they awarded him the prize and first mention; but to avoid any injustice to the veteran savant, a second prize of equal value was bestowed on him.

From that day Ernest Renan was no longer obscure. He remained poor, because he declined to accept any of the posts offered to him, since a post in the provinces would have put an end to his researches in Oriental languages, for which the materials existed only in Paris. With Henriette's full approval, he declined to improve his worldly position at the expense of his opportunities for study, and a post in Paris, with leisure for research, was difficult to obtain. He lived on in the bare-walled room, but not unnoticed there. In Ernest's eyes the chief gain of his brilliant victory in the Prix Volney was the acquaint

ance it brought him of M. Durnouf.

Hitherto his chief support had been M. Reinaud; but that excellent man had failed to grasp the real aim of his work in its widest interpretation, and had caused him besides acute suffering by insisting on his deleting certain pages of the great Essay, for fear of their giving offence to the orthodox. Ernest submitted, from prudence, and, as he confided to Henriette, replaced "two or three pages which were just what I considered the most delicate results of my work, with some perfectly insignificant platitudes."

M. Reinaud, most orthodox of men, applauded him cordially, but Ernest, with his unerring instinct for the root of the matter, felt that "praise on minor points gives small pleasure when one is conscious of having deserved it on the more important aspects of the question." (Les éloges sur les points accessoirs nous touchent peu, quand nous croyons les mériter par des côtés plus importants.)

All the greater was his pleasure in the perfect understanding of M. Durnouf, which he expresses with delighted precision. "To tell you the truth, I far prefer the deep satisfaction this has given me to all the other external advantages which may result from my success. And why, chère amie ? Because in his words I found confirmation of my own most

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