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Forty-Five" brings us to the Bourbons. Then come our “ Three Musketeers,” whose story is continued for us in “ Twenty Years After" and “The Viscount of Bragelonne.” “The Chevalier of Harmental ” tells of the last days of Louis XIV., A Daughter of the Regent” dates itself, “Joseph Balsamo" follows, and “The Queen's Necklace" brings us to Marie Antoinette.“ Ange Pitou” and “ The Countess of Charny." carry us onward to the Revolution, to varied aspects of which Dumas gives four novels —A Chevalier of the Maison-Rouge,” “ The Whites and the Blues,” “The Companions of Jehu,” and “The Red Rose.

But because Dumas wrote novels of the chief characters and events in Novels not based on French history, it must not be supposed that he based his stories on careful careful study. study of anything. They are all built, as is “ The Three Musketeers,” on hasty impressions of memoirs, decked out by an exuberant imagination into a sort of comedy of history, that lets fancy play around the evidences of the past and, in Dumas's own words, “ exalts history to the height of fiction.” None of this work shows grasp of character or psychologic insight; here again “ The Three Musketeers” is wholly typical; but they almost all show what “ The Three Musketeers” shows supremely, prodigious imagination, wonderful dramatic instinct. He fuses and recasts his material, and links together just as the old minstrels used to do, chaplets of episodes by turns frolicsome, wild, extravagant, breathless, impetuous, all on the slenderest thread of narrative plot.

In all these novels the women are subordinated to the men. Milady in “ The Three Musketeers,” his best female character, is so because she is most virile. But he subordinates character, even in his heroes, to plot, and he subordinates plot to action. We can see him skimming the surface of history like a light-hearted boy. He has no judgment nor discernment for historic fact, but he has unerring judgment and discernment for what is effective. He never fails to absorb the reader, and to excite an intense curiosity. He seizes the telling incident, and spins around it the silken thread of his fancy with a gaiety of style.

As Dumas became popular, demand for his work came from every side, Popularity of his and, indeed, there seems to have been in the early forties a demand for work. novels in France more general and more imperative than that country had known. Every daily paper had its slice of fiction “under the line" on the first page, the feuilleton. In this way Dumas began the publication of “Monte Cristo” in 1841, and before this was finished, in 1845, he had entered into contracts simultaneously with six newspapers to furnish more “ copy” than it was physically possible for him to produce. Men said he kept a novel factory, that he bought the work of unknown authors or translators, and it does appear that he was willing to buy ideas or even whole novels and plays which he would rewrite, infusing his own spirit into them. Later on he became even less scrupulous. But it is certain that none of those who claimed to share his honor as well as his profits ever produced anything like his work. And he was a man almost as industrious as he was fertile. He lived, says the romantic critic Jules Janin, “ without a moment's rest. Even while traveling he wrote, composed, planned. He was a slave of story-telling. His youth, his whole life, passed in obeying this taskmaster, the ogre that swallowed up his genius." There seems to have been no period of his life when he could not produce with astonishing rapidity, and if he employed assistants, he got far more out of them than they ever got out of themselves. “Gentlemen,” he once said good-humoredly to his detractors, “ the doors are open for you. The columns are ready. Write us a 'Three Musketeers,' a ' Monte Cristo.' Don't wait till I'm dead to do it. With all the books I have to write, give me the relaxation of reading yours.”

It is certain, however, that Dumas overestimated his power with a His best stories. vanity that was perhaps an inheritance from his negro grandmother. The years 1843 to 1846 witnessed the crown of his achievement in

to his profilin nastrious without a momen slave

Value of such journalistic work.

Entertainer rather than artist.

“Monte Cristo," “ The Three Musketeers,Twenty Years After," and “ Queen Margot.” He never approached the feeblest of these.

One effect of this mode of journalistic publication is immediately apparent to every reader of Dumas's novels who realizes that the work was produced day by day, often with the copy-boy at the writer's elbow. The value of such journalistic work depends on the independent interest that each fragment possesses. The artistic effect of the whole would in any case suffer from the accentuation of the parts. The attention of the reader is inevitably concentrated on details. The architectural effect of mass is lost upon him. The author becomes a raconteur, a sort of Scheherezade aiming at immediate effects, content that the impression of today shall be effaced by the impression of tomorrow. So such novels might continue to any length, and in fact France in the forties was, in the words of one of her critics,“ overwhelmed by some five or six huge compositions that embraced in their somber framework heaven and hell with all the most deadly passions of the human race.” These were the days of the “ Memoirs of the Devil,” of “The Mysteries of Paris,” “The Mysteries of London,” and “The Wandering Jew." The taste of the time was for novels in daily morsels in which characters reappeared every morning, so regularly and so long, that men came, as Gautier says, to regard them as part of daily life. I often used to hear men say," he tells us, “' Monte Cristo has done this or that. I think he was right' or possibly wrong, just as one would blame the acts of one alive.”

From this point of view Dumas is not so much an artist as an entertainer; not so much a quality as a quantity, or, as he said of himself, .“ only a vulgarizer.” But for this very reason he contributed more than any other to give French fiction a cosmopolitan audience in the great middle class. He extended its domain greatly and permanently, being indeed the most catholic-spirited novelist of his time in interest and in sympathy, and the greatest story-teller in all the western world.

Let us say a word of Dumas's life after “ The Three Musketeers,” before we pass to consider that novel itself. For a time he was possessor of a princely income, but he spent this and more with a phenomenal thriftlessness, for he had a sort of barbaric generosity, that made him a millionaire to a host of parasites, while to himself he was a beggar. He entered on contracts with thoughtless levity, became involved in lawsuits as costly as they were dishonorable, built a palace that cost half a million francs in 1847, sold it for debt in 1851, and from that year till his death became a pathetic wanderer, evading the sheriff and looking for “copy" in Belgium, England, Russia, the Caucasus, and Italy, till in 1866 he fell into the precarious poverty of senility, and was saved from a sordid end only by the persistent solicitude of his son, who had taken him rather as a warning than an example. He died at Dieppe on the day of the Prussian occupation of that town, December 5, 1870. After peace had come again he was solemnly interred at Villers-Cotterets.

Consider now “ The Three Musketeers,” that “Iliad of the feuilleton.It is based, with no pretense of disguise, on the “ Memoirs of D'Artagnan” by Coutils de Sandras, who was almost contemporary with the story he pretended to record with realistic detail. These “ Memoirs" furnished the main outline of “The Three Musketeers,” and behind the hero of both is still to be discerned the historical Charles de Batz Castelmare d'Artagnan, who was killed at the siege of Maestricht in 1673. Sandras, too, had been a pioneer in the kind of fiction that Dumas was to write. He first transferred the scene of romance frankly from fairyland to France. He first made rapid action take the place of tedious talk about action, and he made men speak in brisk dialogue, not in the elaborate and fantastic language of Scudéry. Altogether in the history of fiction his book is by no means negligible, though it would surely be neglected were it not for “ The Three Musketeers.” Here, as in the

Dumas's later life.

“ The Three Musketeers.'

“Memoirs,” D'Artagnan serves as a connecting thread, though he is no
more the center of action than Achilles is in the “Iliad.” The real
center is the triple-linked devotion of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, that
magnificent trio, who go through the world rescuing, punishing, duelling,
fighting, wounding, and wounded, but never losing their ebullient spirits
or their gasconading gallantry. We do not mind whence Dumas took his
facts and his fancies. He may steal from Sandras, he may even take his
very best scene, Milady tempting Felton, from his own drama “The Tower
of Nesle,” – we only say that it was well worth the repetition, and wish
there were more such plagiarists. Indeed, one has no heart for criticism
at all in the rush and excitement of this phantasmagoria of history. We
do not ask even that it shall be probable. We cease to expect when
Athos faints from loss of blood that he will be in bed the next day; we
are quite prepared to find him fighting a duel, or even sustaining an
unequal combat with the emissaries of the cardinal. Our moral sense,
too, reverts to its babyhood. We have not the heart to think ill of one
who steals the writ of his own execution and applies it in his own behalf,
if only Milady’s death can give us a romantic thrill or shiver. We are
willing to put all our historical criticism on the top shelf and believe for
the moment that Richelieu lays siege to La Rochelle because the fair
Queen Anne has turned her smiles from him to the Duke of Buckingham.
We should be even a littlé disappointed if these musketeers behaved like
men of ordinary clay, or endured only possible wounds and hardships.
We glory, with the author, in such wanton feats of daring as the lunch
in the bastion and the napkin turned into a flag of glorious defiance.
We delight to be hurried from one hairbreadth escape to another, sharing
the enthusiasm of this gasconading spirit, with its chivalrous fellowship,
its bold tricks, its jolly pranks, its bubbling humor, all set off against the
hardly less grotesque and comically sinister background of Milady’s
satanic inspirations and diabolical plots, till we rejoice at the healthy
thoroughness by which she is done to death at last by the great Three.
The morality of the story may something Smack to a captious critic, and
yet at the core it is sane, hale, and hearty. There are pages here that
are not for the ingenuous. It is barely possible that some might be
harmed by them. But as a rule even children glide lightly over what
they do not understand, and these blemishes fall as readily from the
kernel of the story, as the husk from the grain. The world is a safe
judge, and here for two full generations now the world has pronounced
its judgment. There may be touches of a finer nobility in “Twenty
Years After,” there is a vein of pathos in the sequel to that sequel
“The Wiscount of Bragelonne’’ where the dying D'Artagnan says “au
revoir” to those more kindred souls Athos and Porthos, but “good-bye
forever” to Aramis, a spirit more antithetically mixed; there are one
or two scenes of more sustained power in “Monte Cristo’’; but as a
whole none of these can touch “The Three Musketeers” which the boy
reads with eager interest, and the old man with a mellow Savoring of its
delight, while even the jaded critic and novel reader comes back to it and
bathes in it as in a spring of perpetual youth. “Childish,” you say.
Possibly; childlike surely. Yet “he who of such delights can judge
and spare to interpose them oft is not unwise.”
But if the critic turn from the book itself to consider its effects on
the development of fiction, he will be constrained to admit that it, with
its fellows, blighted the historical novel as a work of art by the very
qualities that gave it popularity. . Under the inspiration of Walter
Scott historical fiction in France had been conscientiously wrought by
Vigny, delicately chiseled by Mérimée, grandly elaborated by Hugo, but
this genre cannot bear vulgarization. Dumas's success evoked a Swarm
of imitators, and when they had passed to the back shelves of the provin-
cial libraries the historical novel in France was dead.

Improbable incidents.

Deeds of daring.

Blight of the historical novel.

THE INNER LIFE OF AFSCHYLUS.*

SK SK BY HAROLD N. FOWLER. SK SK

(Professor of Greek, College for Women, Western Reserve University, Cleveland.) - l ESCHYLUS, the son of Euphorion, was born at Eleusis, near Athens, about 525 B. C., the son of a noble family. The deme of Eleusis was the home of the Eleusinian mysteries, the deme in which more than anywhere else in Attica religious ceremonies =9 would naturally attract the attention of the citizens and occupy their minds. Everywhere in Greece, to be sure, religious observances formed a part of the daily life of every state and every individual, for no undertaking was begun or even planned without consulting an oracle, or at least performing a sacrifice or pouring a libation, but the ceremonies connected with the Eleusinian mysteries were distinct from those of ordinary worship, and were inspired by thoughts and sentiments of a different kind.

In the centuries that had passed since the Homeric times the Greeks had advanced in civilization and culture. With this advance some change and progress in religious ideas was naturally connected, and something of this progress must be understood before we can understand the conditions of religious thought under which AEschylus was educated. In the Homeric poems we find the gods portrayed as human beings with enlarged Early status of the powers, but human in all their passions, caprices, and frailties. These gods. gods do not always agree one with another, and their treatment of human beings is the result of personal considerations, not of any general laws or principles. There is, to be sure, the restraining power of Zeus, who is stronger than the other gods, but Zeus is himself subject to the same passions and caprices as the rest. Themis, or abstract right, and Fate, or destiny, were not unknown to the Homeric age, but they were relegated to the background of religious consciousness, or rather they had not yet come forward as clear or important ideas. The gods were worshiped, but there was no logical or rational scheme of the universe in which the gods played a ruling part, nor was there any general rule - of human conduct which the gods enforced by rewards and punishments, either in this world or the next. As regards the next world, the Homeric conceptions were peculiarly vague, involving hardly a hint of

future requital for good or bad conduct in this life. Changes in religious Such crude and imperfect beliefs could not continue to satisfy the ideas. Greeks as they advanced in civilization, but must themselves be changed, revised, and improved as time went on. The Hesiodic poets did much to systematize mythology and to give it a consistent form, which was accepted in its main features throughout Greece. Then, too, as men felt more strongly than in former times the burden of the sense of sin and the fear of an offended deity, rites of purification were introduced, partly through the influence of the Delphic oracle, which tended to strengthen the feelings to which they owed their origin and to impress upon all the need of refraining from wrong-doing, and of appeasing the gods when wrong had been done. These changes had taken place in the public religion, and at the same time there seems to have been, in connection with the worship of deceased ancestors, an increase in the strength of the belief in the future life. But the gods still retained their former character, and there

>3

*This is the seventh CHAUTAUQUAN study of the Inner Life of Historic Figures in France and Greece. Fénelon appeared in October; Pascal was published in November; Madame Guyon appeared in December; Corot's life was studied in January; The Chevalier Bayard was the character studied in February; in March Odysseus was the subject.

[graphic]

was still little in the religion of the ordinary man to raise him above the
level of the Homeric age.
But in the sixth century a different movement is seen in the religious life
of the Greeks. Pythagoras developed his philosophy and his half mystical
religious doctrines, the Orphic sect multiplied its votaries, and at Eleusis
the mysteries of Demeter and Persephone, with solemn rites unknown to
earlier days, gave a new direction to the religious thought of Athens.
How far the rites of the Orphic and the Pythagorean sects agreed with
those of Eleusis, how far their doctrines were accepted or rejected by
the Eleusinian priesthood, or what the ceremonies at Eleusis were, we
need not discuss. About these matters there are many theories, but
little certain knowledge. We do know, however, that those who were
initiated took part in ceremonies from which the uninitiated were
excluded, and that they believed themselves to be made more holy by
initiation and participation in the sacred, mysterious rites. It is true
that the Greater Mysteries, which alone were celebrated at Eleusis, took
place only once in four years, but the influence they exerted was undeni-
ably great in all Attica, and must have been intensified at Eleusis itself.
But aside from the fact that he was born at Eleusis, where the
Eleusinian mysteries had their seat, Æschylus had ample reason for
religious seriousness. He lived in stirring times. In his boyhood fell
the assassination of Hipparchus, and the expulsion from Athens of Hip-
pias, which restored the government of the state to the citizens, and
was the second beginning of Athenian democracy. In his early manhood
came the revolt of Ionia from the Persian dominion, which brought down
upon Greece the anger of the great king on account of the part taken by
Athenians and Eretrians in the burning of Sardis. The first attempt of
the Persians to wreak their vengeance upon the Greeks was frustrated
by the elements, and the expedition accomplished nothing. The second
attempt was, however, far-reaching in its results, though not in the way
intended by the Persians, for this expedition ended with the battle of
Marathon. This may well be regarded as the most important battle in
the history of the world. Without it, Thermopylae and Salamis would
have been impossible, the freedom of Greece would have been destroyed,
the Macedonian empire would never have come into being, and Rome, not
finding a superior civilization before which her victorious eagles must
bow down, could have developed little but brute force and material
luxury. The victors in this battle were a little band of ten thousand
Athenians, aided by one thousand Plataeans. The Lacedæmonians, who
claimed for themselves the leadership of Hellas, and the Argives, with all
their pride in the mythical glory of Agamemnon, remained aloof from
this struggle, while Thebes succumbed ingloriously to her fear of the
invader. Athens alone,—a city of no great military renown, a city
moreover in which a faction favored submission to the overwhelming force
of the East, — Athens alone stemmed the tide of invasion and turned its
billows in broken masses back to their source in the Orient. No wonder
the Athenians were proud of their victory. No wonder that “Marathon
became a magic word,” or that Æschylus is said to have mentioned in
the epitaph he wrote for himself that he had fought at Marathon.
For ten years after their defeat at Marathon the Persians gathered
their vast resources for another invasion of Greece. Their wonderful
bridges spanned the Hellespont, and their innumerable hosts swept along
the shores of Thrace, carried with them the powers of Macedonia and
Thessaly, overwhelmed the heroic rampart of martyrs at Thermopylae,
spread like a destroying flood over all central Greece, only to fall back in
shattered retreating masses from the stern, fierce rocks of Salamis.
Athens, though destroyed by the invaders, had for a second time saved
Greece.
Plataea saw the last attempt of the Persians to overcome the free cities

Various doctrines.

Stirring times in
Greece.

Persian invasion.

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