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such, as with false Ciceronians, but quite Coming slowly or quickly, when it comes, as simply and honestly for the word's adjustment it came with so much labour of mind, but also to its meaning. The first condition of this with so much lustre, to Gustave Flaubert, must be, of course, to know yourself, to have this discovery of the word will be, like all ascertained your own sense exactly. Then, artistic success and felicity, incapable of strict if we suppose an artist, he says to the reader, analysis: effect of an intuitive condition of - I want you to see precisely what I see. mind, it must be recognised by like intuition Into the mind sensitive to "form," a flood of on the part of the reader, and a sort of imrandom sounds, colours, incidents, is ever mediate sense. In every one of those maspenetrating from the world without, to be- terly sentences of Flaubert there was, below come, by sympathetic selection, a part of its all mere contrivance, shaping and aftervery structure, and, in turn, the visible thought, by some happy instantaneous convesture and expression of that other world it course of the various faculties of the mind with sees so steadily within, nay, already with a each other, the exact apprehension of what partial conformity thereto, to be refined, was needed to carry the meaning. And that enlarged, corrected, at a hundred points; and it fits with absolute justice will be a judgment it is just there, just at those doubtful points of immediate sense in the appreciative reader. that the function of style, as tact or taste, We all feel this in what may be called inspired intervenes. The unique term will come more translation. Well! all language involves quickly to one than another, at one time than translation from inward to outward. In literanother, according also to the kind of matter ature, as in all forms of art, there are the in question. Quickness and slowness, case absolute and the merely relative or accessory and closeness alike, have nothing to do with beauties; and precisely in that exact proporthe artistic character of the true word found tion of the term to its purpose is the absolute at last. As there is a charm of case, so there is beauty of style, prose or verse.
All the good also a special charm in the signs of discovery, qualities, the beauties, of verse also, are such, of effort and contention towards a due end, only as precise expression. as so often with Flaubert himself - in the In the highest as in the lowliest literature, style which has been pliant, as only obstinate, then, the one indispensable beauty is, after all, durable metal can be, to the inherent per- truth: — truth to bare fact in the latter, as to plexities and recusancy of a certain difficult some personal sense of fact, diverted somethought.
what from men's ordinary sense of it, in the If Flaubert had not told us, perhaps we former; truth there as accuracy, truth here as should never have guessed how tardy and expression, that finest and most intimate form painful his own procedure really was, and of truth, the vraie vérité. And what an after reading his confession may think that eclectic principle this really is ! employing for his almost endless hesitation had much to do its one sole purpose — that absolute accordwith diseased nerves. Often, perhaps, the ance of expression to idea — all other literfelicity supposed will be the product of a ary beauties and excellences whatever: how happier, a more exuberant nature than Flau- many kinds of style it covers, explains, bert's. Aggravated, certainly, by a morbid justifies, and at the same time safeguards! physical condition, that anxiety in "seeking Scott's facility, Flaubert's deeply pondered the phrase,” which gathered all the other evocation of “the phrase,” are equally good 'small ennuis of a really quiet existence into a art. Say what you have to say, what you kind of battle, was connected with his life- have a will to say, in the simplest, the most long contention against facile poetry, facile direct and exact manner possible, with no art — art, facile and flimsy; and what con- surplusage: -- there, is the justification of stitutes the true artist is not the slowness or the sentence so fortunately born, “entire, quickness of the process, but the absolute smooth, and round,” that it needs no punctuasuccess of the result.
tion, and also (that is the point!) of the most elaborate period, if it be right in its elaboration. Here is the office of ornament: here
also the purpose of restraint in ornament. 1 those who regard Cicero's style as the only As the exponent of truth, that austerity (the correct model
beauty, the function, of which in literature
Flaubert understood so well) becomes not one acceptable word, recognisable by the the correctness or purism of the mere scholar, sensitive, by others “who have intelligence" but a security against the otiose, a jealous in the matter, as absolutely as ever anything exclusion of what does not really tell towards can be in the evanescent and delicate region the pursuit of relief, of life and vigour in of human language. The style, the manner, the portraiture of one's sense. License again, would be the man, not in his unreasoned and the making free with rule, if it be indeed, as really uncharacteristic caprices, involuntary people fancy, a habit of genius, flinging aside or affected, but in absolutely sincere appreor transforming all that opposes the liberty of hension of what is most real to him. But beautiful production, will be but faith to one's let us hear our French guide again. own meaning. The seeming baldness of “Styles,” says Flaubert's commentator, Le Rouge et Le Noirl is nothing in itself; the “Styles, as so many peculiar moulds, each of wild ornament of Les Misérables? is nothing which bears the mark of a particular writer, in itself; and the restraint of Flaubert, amid a who is to pour into it the whole content of his real natural opulence, only redoubled beauty ideas, were no part of his theory. What he - the phrase so large and so precise at the believed in was Style: that is to say, a certain same time, hard as bronze, in service to the absolute and unique manner of expressing a more perfect adaptation of words to their thing, in all its intensity and colour. For matter. Afterthoughts, retouchings, finish, him the form was the work itself. As in will be of profit only so far as they too really living creatures, the blood, nourishing the serve to bring out the original, initiative, body, determines its very contour and external generative, sense in them.
aspect, just so, to his mind, the matter, the basis, In this way, according to the well-known in a work of art, imposed, necessarily, the saying,3 “The style is the man," complex or unique, the just expression, the measure, the simple, in his individuality, his plenary sense rhythm – the form in all its characteristics.” of what he really has to say, his sense of the If the style be the man, in all the colour and world; all cautions regarding style arising intensity of a veritable apprchension, it will out of so many natural scruples as to the be in a real sense "impersonal.” medium through which alone he can expose I said, thinking of books like Victor Hugo's that inward sense of things, the purity of this Les Misérables, that prose literature was the medium, its laws or tricks of refraction: characteristic art of the nineteenth century, nothing is to be left there which might give as others, thinking of its triumphs since the conveyance to any matter save that. Style youth of Bach,' have assigned that place to in all its varieties, reserved or opulent, terse, music. Music and prose literature are, in abundant, musical, stimulant, academic, so one sense, the opposite terms of art; the art long as each is really characteristic or expres- of literature presenting to the imagination, sive, finds thus its justification, the sumpiu- through the intelligence, a range of interests, ous good taste of Cicero being as truly the as free and various as those which music man himself, and not another, justified, yet presents to it through sense. And certainly insured inalienably to him, thereby, as would the tendency of what has been here said is have been his portrait by Kafiaelle, 4 in full to bring literature too under those condiconsular splendour, on his ivory chair.
tions, by conformity to which music takes A relegation, you may say perhaps -- a rank as the typically perfect art. If music relegation of style to the subjectivity, the be the ideal of all art whatever, precisely mere caprice, of the individual, which must because in music it is impossible to dissoon transform it into mannerism. Not so ! tinguish the form from the substance or since there is, under the conditions supposed, matter, the subject from the expression, for those elements of the man, for every linea- then, literature, by finding its specific exment of the vision within, the one word, the cellence in the absolute correspondence of
the term to its import, will be but fulfilling la famous novel by Stendhal (Henri Beyle, the condition of all artistic quality in things 1783-1842), whom Flaubert greatly admired everywhere, of all good art. 2 by Victor Hugo (1802-85) 3 by the celebrated French naturalist, Buffon (1707-88) 4cf. note 1 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), one of on Browning's One Word More, 1. 5
the greatest of modern composers of music
Good art, but not necessarily great art; dows, the very scent upon the air of it, was the distinction between great art and good with him in sleep for a season; only, with art depending immediately, as regards litera- tints more musically blent on wall and floor, ture at all events, not on its form, but on the and some finer light and shadow running in matter. Thackeray's Esmond, surely, is and out along its curves and angles, and with greater art than Vanity Fair, by the greater all its little carvings daintier. He awoke dignity of its interests. It is on the quality with a sigh at the thought of almost thirty of the matter it informs or controls, its com- years which lay between him and that place, pass, its variety, its alliance to great ends, yet with a flutter of pleasure still within him or the depth of the note of revolt, or the at the fair light, as if it were a smile, upon largeness of hope in it, that the greatness of it. And it happened that this accident of literary art depends, as The Divine Comedy, his dream was just the thing needed for the Paradise Losi, Les Misérables, The English beginning of a certain design he then had in Bible, are great art. Given the conditions view, the noting, namely, of some things in I have tried to explain as constituting good the story of his spirit — in that process of art; --- then, if it be devoted further to the brain-building by which we are, each one of increase of men's happiness, to the redemp- us, what we are. With the image of the tion of the oppressed, or the enlargement place so clear and favourable upon him, he of our sympathies with each other, or to fell to thinking of himself therein, and how such presentment of new or old truth about his thoughts had grown up to him. In that ourselves and our relation to the world as half-spiritualised house he could watch the may ennoble and fortify us in our sojourn better, over again, the gradual expansion here, or immediately, as with Dante, to the of the soul which had come to be there - of glory of God, it will be also great art; if, which indeed, through the law which makes over and above those qualities I summed up the material objects about them so large an as mind and soul that colour and mystic element in children's lives, it had actually perfume, and that reasonable structure, it become a part; inward and outward being has something of the soul of humanity in it, woven through and through each other into and finds its logical, its architectural place, one inextricable texture — half, tint and trace in the great structure of human life.
and accident of homely colour and form, from the wood and the bricks; half, mere soul
stuff, floated thither from who knows how FROM THE CHILD IN THE HOUSE far. In the house and garden of his dream
he saw a child moving, and could divide the As Florian Deleal walked, one hot after- main streams at least of the winds that had noon, he overtook by the wayside a poor played on him, and study so the first stage in aged man, and, as he seemed weary with that mental journey.. the road, helped him on with the burden The old house, as when Florian talked of it which he carried, a certain distance. And afterwards he always called it (as all children as the man told his story, it chanced that do, who can recollect a change of home, soon he named the place, a little place in the enough but not too soon to mark a period in neighbourhood of a great city, where Florian their lives), really was an old house; and an had passed his earliest years, but which he element of French descent in its inmates had never since seen, and, the story told, descent from Watteau,' the old court-painter, went forward on his journey comforted. one of whose gallant pieces still hung in one And that night, like a reward for his pity, of the rooms - might explain, together with
a dream of that place came to Florian, a some other things, a noticeable trimness and dream which did for him the office of the comely whiteness about everything there – finer sort of memory, bringing its object to the curtains, the couches, the paint on the mind with a great clearness, yet, as some- walls with which the light and shadow played times happens in dreams, raised a little above itself, and above ordinary retrospect. The 1 Jean Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), a celtrue aspect of the place, especially of the ebrated French painter of elegant and graceful house there in which he had lived as a child, shepherds and shepherdesses (courtiers in disthe fashion of its doors, its hearths, its win- guise)
so delicately; might explain also the tolerance garden-walls, bright all summer-time with of the great poplar in the garden, a tree most Golden-rod, and brown-and-golden Walloften despised by English people, but which flower — Flos Parietis, as the children's French people love, having observed a certain Latin-reading father taught them to call it, fresh way its leaves have of dealing with the while he was with them. Tracing back the wind, making it sound, in never so slight a threads of his complex spiritual habit, as stirring of the air, like running water.
he was used in after years to do, Florian The old-fashioned, low wainscoting went found that he owed to the place many tones round the rooms, and up the staircase with of sentiment afterwards customary with him, carved balusters and shadowy angles, landing certain inward lights under which things half-way up at a broad window, with a most naturally presented themselves to him. swallow's nest below the sill, and the blossom The coming and going of travellers to the of an old pear-tree showing across it in late town along the way, the shadow of the April, against the blue, below which the per- streets, the sudden breath of the neighbourfumed juice of the find of fallen fruit in autumn ing gardens, the singular brightness of bright was so fresh. At the next turning came the weather there, its singular darknesses which closet which held on its deep shelves the best linked themselves in his mind to certain china. Little angel faces and reedy flutings engraved illustrations in the old big Bible stood out round the fireplace of the children's at home, the coolness of the dark, cavernous
And on the top of the house, above shops round the great church, with its giddy the large attic, where the white mice ran in winding stair up to the pigeons and the bells the twilight -- an infinite, unexplored won- - a citadel of peace in the heart of the derland of childish treasures, glass beads, trouble all this acted on his childish fancy, empty scent-bottles still sweet, thrums' of so that ever afterwards the like aspects and coloured silks, among its lumber
incidents never failed to throw him into a space of roof, railed round, gave a view of well-recognized imaginative mood, seeming, the neighbouring steeples; for the house, actually to have become a part of the texture as I said, stood near a great city, which sent of his mind. Also, Florian could trace home up heavenwards, over the twisting weather- to this point a pervading preference in himvanes, not seldom, its beds of rolling cloud self for a kind of comeliness and dignity, an and smoke, touched with storm or sunshine. urbanity literally, in modes of life, which he But the child of whom I am writing did not connected with the pale people of towns, and hate the fog, because of the crimson lights which made him susceptible to a kind of exwhich fell from it sometimes upon the chim- quisite satisfaction in the trimness and wellneys, and the whites which gleamed through considered grace of certain things and perits openings, on summer mornings, on turret sons he afterwards met with, here and there, or pavement. For it is false to suppose that in his way through the world. a child's sense of beauty is dependent on So the child of whom I am writing lived on any choiceness or special fineness, in the there quietly; things without thus ministerobjects which present themselves to it, ing to him, as he sat daily at the window though this indeed comes to be the rule with with the birdcage hanging below it, and his most of us in later life; earlier, in some de- mother taught him to read, wondering at gree, we see inwardly; and the child finds the ease with which he learned, and at the for itself, and with unstinted delight, a differ- quickness of his memory. The perfume of ence for the sense, in those whites and reds the little flowers of the lime-tree fell through through the smoke on very homely buildings, the air upon them like rain; while time and in the gold of the dandelions at the road- seemed to move ever more slowly to the side, just beyond the houses, where not a murmur of the bees in it, till it almost stood handful of earth is virgin and untouched, in still on June afternoons. How insignificant, the lack of better ministries to its desire of at the moment, seem the influences of the beauty.
sensible things which are tossed and fall This house then stood not far beyond the and lie about us, so, or so, in the environgloom and rumours of the town, among high ment of early childhood. How indelibly, as
we afterwards discover, they affect us; with 1 short lengths
what capricious attractions and associations
they figure themselves on the white paper, So powerful is this instinct, and yet accithe smooth wax, of our ingenuous souls, as dents like those I have been speaking of so “with lead in the rock forever,” ? giving form mechanically determine it; its essence being and feature, and as it were assigned house- indeed the early familiar, as constituting our room in our memory, to early experiences of ideal, or typical conception, of rest and secufeeling and thought, which abide with us rity. Out of so many possible conditions, ever afterwards, thus, and not otherwise. just this for you and that for me, brings ever The realities and passions, the rumours of the the unmistakable realisation of the delightful greater world without, steal in upon us, each chez soi ;' this for the Englishman, for me and by its own special little passage-way, through you, with the closely-drawn white curtain and the wall of custom about us; and never after- the shaded lamp; that, quite other, for the wards quite detach themselves from this or wandering Arab, who folds his tent every that accident, or trick, in the mode of their morning, and makes his sleeping-place among first entrance to us. Our susceptibilities, the haunted ruins, or in old tombs. discovery of our powers, manifold experiences With Florian then the sense of home be
our various experiences of the coming and came singularly intense, his good fortune being going of bodily pain, for instance - belong to that the special character of his home was in this or the other well-remembered place in the itself so essentially home-like. As after many material habitation that little white room wanderings I have come to fancy that some with the window across which the heavy parts of Surrey and Kent are, for Englishmen, blossoms could beat so peevishly in the wind, the true landscape, true home-countries, by with just that particular catch or throb, such right, partly, of a certain earthy warmth in a sense of teasing in it, on gusty mornings; the yellow of the sand below their gorseand the early habitation thus gradually be- bushes, and of a certain gray-blue mist after comes a sort of material shrine or sanctuary rain, in the hollows of the hills there, welcome of sentiment; a system of visible symbolism to fatigued eyes, and never seen farther south; interweaves itself through all our thoughts and so I think that the sort of house I have depassions; and irresistibly, little shapes, voices, scribed, with precisely those proportions of accidents — the angle at which the sun in the red-brick and green, and with a just permorning fell on the pillow — become parts of ceptible monotony in the subdued order of it, the great chain wherewith we are bound. for its distinguishing note, is for Englishmen
Thus far, for Florian, what all this had at least typically home-like. And so for determined was a peculiarly strong sense of Florian that general human instinct was reinhome — so forcible a motive with all of us forced by this special home-likeness in the prompting to us our customary love of the place his wandering soul had happened to earth, and the larger part of our fear of death, light on, as, in the second degree, its body that revulsion we have from it, as from some- and earthly tabernacle; the sense of harmony thing strange, untried, unfriendly; though between his soul and its physical environment lifelong imprisonment, they tell you, and final became, for a time at least, like perfectly banishment from home is a thing bitterer still; played music, and the life led there singularly the looking forward to but a short space, a tranquil and filled with a curious sense of mere childish goûter 3 and dessert of it, before self-possession. The love of security, of an the end, being so great a resource of effort habitually undisputed standing-ground or to pilgrims and wayfarers, and the soldier in sleeping-place, came to count for much in the distant quarters, and lending, in lack of that, generation and correcting of his thoughts, and some power of solace to the thought of sleep afterwards as a salutary principle of restraint in the home churchyard, at least — dead in all his wanderings of spirit. The wistful cheek by dead cheek, and with the rain soak
yearning towards home, in absence from it, ing in upon one from above.
as the shadows of evening deepened, and he
followed in thought what was doing there * The comparison of the infant mind to a sheet from hour to hour, interpreted to him much of blank paper ready to be written upon, orig- of a yearning and regret he experienced afinated with the philosopher John Locke; it is terwards, towards he knew not what, out of practically the same as Aristotle's figure of a smooth wax tablet. ? cf. Job, xix: 24 taste