Puslapio vaizdai

A smaller mind than Renan's would have been anxious to insist on his own originality in the narrow sense of the word. Renan, whose object was to find the true method in research, was overjoyed at the discovery of M. Durnouf's anticipation of his own views. M. Durnouf in his turn did all in his power to advance Renan and bring him into notice among the elder, more experienced, and accredited intellects of his day. On his first entrance into this society Ernest was charmed with all he met, but less struck by the outward appearance and antique ceremonial that reigned at their séances than by the exquisite tone of mind that prevailed there.

inward thoughts, because he all the originality of my work proved to me that the princi- to consist. This is what M. ples and the method I had Reinaud did not in the least myself decided to work on up understand, having no value to the present are not by any for anything except the patient means the imaginary concep- philological collocations which tions of solitary labour, but I had made on certain points.' that they are in conformity with the ideas of most solid science-that, in short, they are those of all really learned and philosophic men. Partial successes have their value, no doubt, but they are nothing compared to the advantage of being in union with one's own century; this is the safest guarantee both of definite and lasting success, and what is more precious still, of truth in its most advanced forms. You understand how priceless in my eyes is this verification of the central control of my ideas by their coincidence with those of so eminent a man. Now I could not repeat to you, chère amie, the flattering terms he used in giving his approbation to all my views, assuring me that they were in perfect harmony with his own, and that this was the truly elevated philosophic method of thought. You may perhaps feel some surprise at the use of such expressions about a subject apparently of purely grammatical import. But my plan has been to resolve the technical details into a reasoned theoretical exposition, and to insist throughout on the historic side, which is so fertile in important glimpses of fact. Hence arises quite a new aspect of the case, in which I desired

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"It is not what you would call the tone of the great world; on the contrary, a man of the world would think this manner pedantic, old fashioned, and boring. It is something much less arbitrary than what constitutes a fashion; something that comes from an advanced degree of intellectual culture, much more than from that long habit which is the only thing that gives naturalness to the easy tone of society. All those old Academicians, with their robes and forms of an older day, their manners of

another world, their quaintness which sometimes makes you smile, are far indeed from representing the fashionable tone; but they represent something better, a delicacy in things of the mind, a fineness, an exquisite tact, and what is of even higher value, they represent science, thought, and philosophy."

He did not fail to remark, like a good Frenchman, that this perfect refinement of mind could not be met with outside Paris; but by the same stroke of the pen he unconsciously draws for some of us a reminiscence of Oxford, for others of St Andrews.

Henriette, in her far-off snowy solitude, heard and rejoiced. She offered him some sisterly advice. "Soigne aussi un peu la toilette, cher ami."

He had confessed, some time previously, that "un accident arrivé peu aprés ton départ m'avait obligé à l'achat d'un autre pantalon noir."


Henriette's advice on the subject of "la toilette" is sound. However elevated the subjects that may be occupying your mind, 'tis necessary in little matters of this sort to attend strictly to being like every one else. 'Tis quite futile, but yet indispensable, especially while you are young. Notice what other people are wearing, and be careful, I implore of you, to look exactly the same. Now as to warm clothes . . .'

And she backed her advice with a little present of five hundred francs. Ernest had

assured her that he was in no need of money (a rather improbable statement), but she cut the ground from under his feet by begging him not to be so unfeeling as to refuse hers-a familiar feminine plea, and suggesting that three hundred francs for the Sanscrit grammar, which he had only mentioned as a wild impossibility, would, in view of its furtherance to his studies, be a far-sighted economy which she strongly recommended. Henriette did nothing by halves. As she remarked, on some occasion of being put to unnecessary trouble by a friend, "Quand on oblige, il ne faut pas le faire à demi.'

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She was well-bred in every instinct, generous, sensitive, with the faithfulness of the Breton, perfectly disinterested, but alas! perfectly disillusioned. Life held nothing for her, except this young brother's love and his future. She had found her way through life a stony road, but she would not care if she could only make it smooth for him.

"Yes; things in this world are rough and thorny in my experience; but why must you know it so soon?" she said wistfully, forgetting that he was then twenty-four. But to her half-maternal feeling he was still in his tender youth.

There are some minds so curiously constituted as to be able, so they say, to discern the stain of selfishness in all human love. Married love is mere self-gratification, paternal

love the vanity of self-reproduction, maternal love a useful animal instinct, filial love the impulse of self-protection, and so on. But where could even these unenviably sharp-sighted sages perceive the stain in an elder sister's love? Surely it is the purest of human passions, and, strange to say, the only human passion of which Shakespeare left no picture; but it was pictured faithfully before the beginning of our literature in the old, lovely, fairy tale of Finola and the Swan-brothers.

published in a certain Journal pour les Jeunes Personnes,' which appeared to Ernest quite unworthy of the honour; for he admired his sister's productions, both for their substance and style.


"Let me congratulate you, chère amie," he says, on those articles of travel you wrote for the Journal,' especially on the last. 'Tis wonderfully well felt and expressed. Your style has something firm and masculine about it, very rare in a woman. You speak French like a person who knows Latin."

To descend to modern instances, what would have become of William Wordsworth There was a family likeness without his beautiful poet- in the writing of the brother hearted sister Dorothy? or and sister. Both had that of Charles Lamb without the clean-cut, temperate, well-modpoor often - demented sister ulated style which is seldom Mary, the care of whom was now to be admired on this side his own safeguard, and her of the Channel. We have sacred love his only home authors in abundance-able, Can we forget what the short- voluble, prolific, and picturlived genius of Maurice de esque; but compared with Guérin owed to the devotion these Renans-how the writing of that gracious elder sister, sprawls! Eugénie, living and longing for him in their ancient chateau in Languedoc ? Yet none of these loving sisters made a sacrifice as great as Henriette Renan's ten years of exile for her brother Ernest.

It is pleasant to think that his love and gratitude never failed her or grew cold; and Henriette was no weakling to repent her sacrifice. She was a woman of strong will and strong understanding. While in Poland she continued writing on historical subjects, sending the greater part of her work to be

The present offender renounces from this day all extravagance, and vows to take for motto and for warning Renan's brief commendation of his sister, "C'est dit et senti à merveille."

But Henriette continued to write for the 'Journal pour les Jeunes Personnes,' chiefly, one suspects, because it was edited by an old friend of her family, one Mlle. Ulliac, deaf, exceedingly cranky, and, as Ernest once complained, too handy with her scissors. This, he knew, must be understood as

an editorial virtue and necessity in one; but when she took to making additions as well as subtractions, he grew plaintive about her lack of respect for history. The faithful Henriette went so far as to admit that Mlle. Ulliac was perhaps not exactly all that she had ever been; then, repenting the severity of her strictures, implored Ernest to destroy that letter at once. "Ne laisse subsister aucun trace de ces tristes mots!" Such was Henriette: strong of intellect, soft of heart.

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Matters were at this stage when, on 21st February 1848, Ernest wrote to his sister that "Paris is very much upset just now. People are most uneasy about to-morrow's banquet of the 12th arrondissement, which the Ministry is resolved to prevent. Don't be uneasy, whatever happens. For one thing, the number of troops now concentrated in Paris is so formidable that no serious disturbance is possible."

So Paris believed, and on the 24th was enacted the first scene of the Second Revolution, the fatal shot, the carnage in the Boulevard des Capucines, followed so quickly by the attack on the Tuileries, the downfall of the Bourbons, the flight of Louis Philippe, and the proclamation of the Second Republic. When Ernest next wrote to his sister all was in suspense, and he was obliged to use very guarded language; but he did his best to reassure her by a promise of not going out of doors

except to the Collége de France, where that inestimable M. Durnouf continued his lectures to an accompaniment of shouting, trooping, and building of barricades. But the next time the two friends went together to the lecture-hall they found it occupied, and turned into a military post. M. Durnouf, turning sadly away, remarked that it would be a very long time before either of them would enter it again, as indeed it proved. Ernest's devotion to his real vocation remained unshaken.

"My resolution, whatever happens, will not weaken; at any cost I will pursue my own intellectual development. 'Tis the only thing I live by: feeling and thinking are my whole existence, my religion, religion, my God." (Je ne vis que par là; sentir et penser, c'est tout mon être, c'est ma religion, c'est mon Dieu.)

He kept his word. Paris was in tumult round him, and he found that it required great strength of will to continue research work in the whirl of deep emotions; but with the thunder of the guns deafening the air, he discussed the interesting question-whether Abélard knew Greek? He would seem a trivial creature to politicians, he was aware. "But to science, rightly understood, nothing is trivial." He continued working at the theses he was already engaged upon for his doctor's degree, though it was highly problematical if any degrees would be conferred that year,

or next year, or for longer still. All the savants were deeply depressed. Poor M. Cousin dwelt on the fate of Socrates. Ernest, on the other hand, reminded them that in the stormy days of the first Revolution there had been far greater development of intellectual forces than during the period of calm that followed. But the savants preferred their calm.

He tried to soothe as best he could the fears of Henriette, and wrote to her with admirable simplicity: "You know my character: when it's a question of struggling against brute force, I am prudent to the verge of timidity."

Whatever Henriette knew of his character it did not console her. She was distracted with anxiety. It was all very well for Ernest to assure her that he was no politician but a philosopher, that he strictly avoided political entanglements, and loathed the personalities of controversy. She could not perceive that the elevated detachment of his sentiments constituted any safeguard against stray bullets in the streets, and began to implore him to leave Paris and join the rest of their family at St Malo. Ernest, on his side foreseeing a European war and consequent difficulties in travelling, begged Henriette to return to France without delay, and prepared to give up his cherished plan of study in Paris, and to make some quiet little home for them both in the country. But Henriette

stuck to her post in Poland, and events in Paris grew ever more fast and furious.

The "prudent" young philosopher, who was perfectly sincere in his worship of wisdom and devotion to his own ideal of progress, had the clear sight and sagacity that are seldom found apart from intellectual honesty. He watched the seething passions of the Commune and the madness of the people; he also watched the measures of repression that were taken, ostensibly for the restoration of law and order," and his heart grew hot within him. On the 6th of June 1848 he wrote:

"I am beginning to detach myself from the old Left, with whom my sympathies lay during the first days of the Revolution. They behave with a selfishness and narrow-mindedness that are really extraordinary in people of cultivated minds. To the more advanced party it is men that are lacking. 'Tis with these I believe that our future lies. A new Third Estate has been formed; the bourgeoisie would be as foolish to fight against it as the noblesse were once, in fighting with the bourgeoisie. Liberty and public order are not enough now. We must have equality in the fullest possible measure: there must be no more of the disinherited, either in the intellectual or the political order. If inequality of fortune is a necessary evil, at least every man's life must be made secure, and the ways enlarged for all.

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