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At another time, both before the actual tient might be making, and found Dr. operation and after, he was ready Charlton the only occupant of Mrs. enough to talk about it, and immensely Copman's parlor. The doctor was in a pleased with the importance that the meditative mood, gravely regarding the sad condition of his “Louisy" seemed stuffed fox, but thinking, so at least to give bim; but for the moment the the Vicar presumed, of his patient uptrouble of his mind was too great to stairs. The Vicar inquired how she let him think of words to say, or to was doing, only to be met with a let him listen to what others said to brusque reply that at present it was him. After a time that seemed inter- impossible to tell. The tone of the anminable to those who were waiting be- swer suggested that the question was a low, the doctor's step was heard de- foolish one. The Vicar, however, was scending the stairs.
well used by this time to the other's “Well," Miss
Carey demanded manner. He showed no resentment of breathlessly, "was the operation suc- the tone employed, but seated himself cessful?”
in the bird-cage-backed armchair which “Oh yes, madam, so far as the opera- Mrs. Copman commonly occupied in tion goes it was successful enough," her rare hours of leisure, and disposed the doctor replied. “Whether the ul- himself to the perilous task of yet furtimate result will be a success it re ther interrogating the doctor on his acts mains for time to show and largely for and motives. The moment, however, Nature to determine."
appeared to be not ill-chosen, the doc"Say rather God, Richard," Miss tor accepting a placid discussion with a Carey suggested gently.
comparative amiability which was not "I shall not, Amelia,” he snapped as usual with him as many of us in back quickly. “I shall say whatever I Barton might have wished. please."
"I cannot conceive," the Vicar began He went through the parlor and out hastily, “how you can endure to face at the street door without courtesy. death, to look on the face of death
"Poor Richard,” Miss Carey said to I would almost say, with your the the Vicar. “What a terrible respon- ories." sibility to be sure, for him to The doctor rubbed his hand over his bear."
stiff-growing gray hairs, which stood The Vicar accepted the remark and up almost en brosse, as if by the friction acquiesced in it as an apology for the to electrify them into an even more agdoctor's lapse of manners.
gressive demeanor. A caustic answer "I do not know," he said, “that almost certainly was on his lips. Sud
can do any good by waiting denly, according to the subsequent acfurther."
count of the interview given by the "Perhaps not," Miss Carey agreed. Vicar, he appeared to change his mind, "You, at least, have work that I am and a like change came over his exsure you want to see to. I will wait pression. here till Phæbe comes, so that Mrs. "I face death, sir,” he replied, in a Copman shall not be alone in the house tone of quiet argument, “as one has to with the poor girl, if anything is face many things in this life that are wanted."
inevitable-with regret, but without For the time being the Vicar went fear. Why should I, with my theories, away, but he was not able to stay long as you say, fear to face death, which to absent. In a short while he was back me (again, as you say) is but another again to inquire what progress the pa- name for annihilation? To me (on
your theory of my views) it is a synonym of sleep-a sleep that has no waking. One may regret, in a busy time, the necessity of a few hours' sleep-a temporary annihilation; but one does not fear it. Why should one fear, much as one may regret, the sleep that is eternal?"
The Vicar shrugged his shoulders helplessly. "It is impossible," he said despairingly, "to argue with you men of science. You will believe in nothing of which you cannot explain the causes and the reasons."
"Oh, pardon me, sir, pardon me," the doctor replied quickly. "There you do me wrong. I throw a stone into the air-I see it fall to the ground owing to a force that we have agreed to call gravity. I believe the fact, but I understand nothing at all of the cause. Show me proofs of a fact, and I will admit it freely, no matter how mysterious are its causes. We live in the midst of mysteries. The greatest of human achievements is to discover truth among these mysteries, and to proclaim it."
"And yet," said the Vicar, with a note of triumph in his voice, as though he rejoiced to have detected the man of science in an inconsistency, "and yet you are content to go about in this parish and never by your arguments, I will not say by your example, have ever tried to turn one of my people (so far as I have ever heard) from their faith in a religion which you believe to be an error and a delusion."
The doctor rose to his feet and rubbed his hand yet again over the aggressive stubble of his scalp in some perplexity. He smiled, as though a certain humor in the situation appealed to him. "And you can say this to mecan upbraid me with this?"
But is it not an inconsistent attitude with the theories you have just pronounced?"
"It is inconsistent, sir; I admit it," the doctor replied at length, with the air of one who confesses a truth reluctantly. "Man is but human, which is as much as to say that he is inconsistent. Often and often I have put to myself the question that you are practically putting to me now, whether it were not my duty to preach to your people the truth that is in me, even as you preach to them the truth that is in you-that all this religion in which they trust is nothing but a delusion; I will not say a snare. No, it is because I cannot say that it is a snare that I do not preach to them that doctrine. perceive the comfort that it is to them in their lives. and in their deaths. I perceive even that it makes for the decent conduct and morality, as well as for the happiness, of their lives, and I say to myself, is it my duty to take away from them, even for the noble sake of truth, a delusion that works for so much good? I cannot convince myself, sir, I admit it, what my answer ought to be to my question, and until I see my answer more clearly I am content to let the people go, to say no word to turn them from a delusion which works for SO much good. Does that explain
"Not upbraid," said the Vicar. from it. I have thanked God often that you were content to leave it so.
my position to
The Vicar sat a moment or two in silent thought. Then he rose to his feet. "Good-night, doctor," he said, holding cut his hand, which the other shook cordially. "You have taught me several things to-day. Yes, I think I understand your position perfectly. I understand you certainly better than I ever did before."
"Thank you, sir," said the doctor, as he showed him out. "I may say that the better understanding is mutual." Then with a returning access of his caustic humor, which for the life of
him he could not help, he added, "I He shut the door behind his departing am glad you did not conclude with say- visitor, and then remarked to himself ing you would pray for me."
grimly, “But I am sure he will." (To be continued.) Horace G. Hutchinson.
RECENT FRENCH PLAYS.
On looking at the plays which have ground of the old myth of King Pen-recently been produced in France, we theus. notice a remarkable tendency towards The opinion of the critics as to this idealism, and a great effort to revive revival is divided, vacillating and often the drama. Besides pieces dealing contradictory. Charles Méré, in his with social matters and mordant com- very interesting, although not too lucid edies, we often find works of a purely essay, La tragédie contemporaine, speaks literary value. Dainty plays by Porto of the modern effort to revive tragedy, Riche, who reminds one of the classical and tries to forecast the principal theatre, but with quite modern charac- characteristics of the drama of the futeristics, depict the everlasting strength ture. He shows the progressive develof love which nothing can resist. To opment of tragedy from the most rethe same sentiment, after long wander- mote times, and its congruity with the ing, the talented modern dramatist, milieu. As the tragedies of Corneille Maurice Donnay, has also come back or Racine depicted their contempo in his last comedy L'Escalade. Camille raries with their aspirations, so the de Saint-Croix sings in its honor in tragedy of the present day is the picture Arminde, which, one may say, is the of the people of to-day, whatever the eruption of love. In those works the characters it represents. There are subject is love, not degrading or vicious, some people for whom the classical of which there is plenty in French lit- theatre is alpha and omega; for such erature, but a sentiment that ennobles the alliance of the two words “modern" the heroes. The same tendency may and "tragedy' is a heresy and nonsense; be seen in Renarde's comedies; and but such people are lacking in the histhere is no lack also of successful at- torical sense, for every tragedy in its tempts to return to classical themes. turn was something new; it was the Such is Jules Bois's Hypolite, the au- expression of the aspirations and senthor of which has not feared to take timents of the new epoch in which it up a subject twice treated in tragedies
written. Consequently tragedy by great masters; and he has come out has a large field for its creative power, victorious by creating a character, a but its axis is the conflict between the little modernized, but thoroughly orig- will of an individual and destiny, no inal and more comprehensible by us. matter whether we call it the ancient Such a play, again, is Cinthia, by a fate or divine Providence, or social orProvençal poet, Meunier, a work of re- der, or the implacable law of heredity; markable value, enchanting us by its always the collision of those two moral harmonious poetry and full of the powers in man's soul is the indispenwarmth of the South. Such, finally, is sable condition of the tragic. The moCasquet's Dionysius, a religious and ment however, we substitute for that symbolic drama, built up on the back- conflict the struggle for an idea, philo
sophical reasoning, or literary and heart and the circumstances, the imitascientific quarrels, in that moment we tion of old writers, solemn dialogue, all are dealing with a work which, how- that was so fascinating for the courever interesting and eloquent, cannot tiers of the seventeenth century has be called tragedy. Consequently neither little interest for us. Exaggerated rhetLavedan's Le Duel, nor Fabre's Les oric and the pompous tirades of romanVentres dorés, nor Maeterlinck's plays, tic heroes do not move us. Modern nor Ibsen's, nor any of the dramatic tragedy will be different; poetry, the productions which we are accustomed light of which illuminates men and to call modern tragedy, deserve that things, will supply it. The poetry of great title.
man in nature; the echoes that resound Modern tragedy is in decadence; but in his soul; seasons and landscapes; the there are many writers who have
contrast of the serene sky and the understood its evolutionary tendency, stormy soul; impressions of day, dusk and, instead of barking back to old and night; inspirations produced by a forms, which is almost impossible, de- hurricane, by the sun and stars, all pict in their works the modern strug- that is sung in lyrical poetry; but there gles of man with instincts and other is no dramatic work that a harissé unknown factors which direct our jusqu'à la vie et l'action: — 80 says the lives. To such a type of tragedies be- poet I have mentioned in the Mercure long Hervieux's La Course du Flam- de France. beau; Daudet's L'Arlésienne also repro- But the poetry of man in society, duces wonderfully well that mystic which he himself has created, his joys feeling which is necessary for tragic and sorrows, his delights and weariawe. The tragedy of the future will ness, his feelings and the changes he show us proud and rebellious man, tor- undergoes under the influence of fate mented by doubts or passive in mis- and circumstance, all this has hitherto fortune, struggling with internal and been dealt with in the novel; but only external impulses that make up his poetical drama can give it beauty and destiny. Metaphysical and moral ten- make it last. Poetry of his dencies, as well as social, the whole thoughts, ideas and reminiscences, network of invisible factors limit his doubts and faith; hereditary impulses will. It is not an individual, but a and tortures of the mind, conflict of insymbol of human kind, base or heroic, stincts and thoughts, flights of genius in contact with the unknown.
and inspiration, miseries of frenzy and With regard to the external form, agonies of memory, all these scenes we verse is not absolutely necessary for read in philosophical and medical estragedy; rhythmical prose may possess says; but once personified on the stage all the qualities of true poetry. With they will act on us with a startling this view Paul Souchon, a young poet, force of truth. who has written the tragedy Phylis, Therefore the atmosphere of the new does not agree; in his opinion verse drama will be poetry—that is to say, alone is able to conjure sublime senti- the very essence of all beings, living ments into immortal form, but it does or resuscitated, of all factors, visible or not follow that we must return to the hidden, and not of a few privileged senæsthetics of Racine or Victor Hugo. timents only, as was the case in the Neither classical tragedy nor romantic epoch of classicism, or of a few ex. drama corresponds with our modern ceptional situations, as was the case tone of thought. The struggle between when romanticism prevailed. A poetlove and duty, the conflict between the dramatist will endeavor to bring forth
from his subject the whole of its beauty. It is his concern to make choice of the material afforded him by legends, history, the experience of life and imagination. He has unlimited freedom, provided his work is poetical and beautiful. That time is coming. and it will show a glorious bloom of poetical drama..
Jules Bois expressed the same hope in his essay, La littérature contemporaine; and many literary productions show that we are entering on a new period of literary activity, the result of artistic culture, affecting larger and larger circles of people, who now willingly patronize classical as well as poetical plays because they find in them wholesome spiritual nourishment
his adversaries as false and antiquated, the fault lies in the lack of creative talent, and of ideals, of a faith which would arouse the sentiments now overpowered by the influence of material. ism.
Enthusiasm, however, once aroused, grows from more to more; and there is now an almost feverish animation in the field of drama: a whole pleiad of young dramatists, who write in verse, is grouped round Armand Bour. Thanks to the energetic efforts of a few enthusiasts for art, thanks to such poets as Catulle Mendès, François de Ninon and the Countess de Noailles, a company of actors, under the direction of Armand Bour, have succeeded in producing purely poetical works. First, in the Trianon, a new small theatre in Montmartre, and then in a beautiful building called the Bouffes Parisiens, Armand Bour began a series of representations, not with the aim of winning the applause of the public, but of producing the works of able but unknown writers. It is a similar effort to that of Antoine, who twenty years ago started the Théâtre Libre with the object of opening the door to realism on the stage.
Among the most talented writers of that group I may mention Jacques Richepin-not to be confused with Jean Richepin-who has met with success in his Cadet Roussel and Falstaff. The subject of the latter play he naturally took from Shakespeare, from whom he has appropriated episodes of the adventurous life of the hero; but he has managed to find some new scenes and to combine them very cleverly. In his technique and verse one may perceive Rostand's influence, but, notwithstanding that, both plays show that the author of them has talent of his own.
Those ideas, which one may regard as a kind of manifesto of the younger play writer, will describe one of the tendencies of the modern French theatre. It cannot be denied that this movement, if not originated, was at least strengthened, by Cyrano de Bergerac. The then youthful poet raised great hopes in all who had had enough of materialistic drama and of the comedy of manners with its everlasting trio: husband, wife and friend. A new
was pompously announced, and when the prediction was not realized they began to belittle M. Rostand unjustly. It is true that Cyrano de Bergerac has not started a new epoch, but I cannot agree with those critics who deny him any influence and maintain that his play has nothing in common with contemporary drama. That is another extreme view, reached by the adherents of the social drama. The seeds sown by Rostand were not lost, and if they have not so far produced a work as good as Cyrano de Bergerac, the fault is not with the direction indicated by its author and stigmatized by
Rabelais, a humorous poem in three acts, is something like Cyrano de Ber