Lapas attēli

communication than the north (although there are many parts to which this observation does not apply); and hence there are undoubtedly greater obstacles in the way of industry. Something, too, is attributable to political causes, of which the influence is still felt after the lapse of many centuries. The south of France neyer fully recovered the destruction of its nationality by the northern învaders of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Its municipal franchises were abolished, its noblest families extirpated by the sword, its cherished and elegant language degraded into a provincial dialect. The most disastrous epoch,' says M. Thierry, 'in the history of southern France, is that in which its inhabitants became Frenchmen, and in which the monarch, whom their ancestors had known by the name of the King of • Paris, began to designate them as his subjects of Langue d'Oc.?*

But a more radical cause of this difference lies in the character of the different races to whom this fine portion of Europe fell as an inheritance at the beginning of known history. To the west and north-west the Celto-Gauls or Kymrians, or Gallo-Cambrians to give only a few of the host of names by which modern antiquarians have baptized this much debated people); to the south-west the Aquitanians, or Basques, whom Strabo represents as resembling Spaniards rather than Gauls ; to the south-east the Ligurian race, also of Iberian descent; are the three principal families who have peopled southern and western France. Differing from each other in many respects, they all and especially the two latter) yield in most of the sterling qualities of social life to the Belgian race, and to the Gauls proper; by whom the northeast and east of France were respectively settled. The Frenchman of the south, with talent, energy, and vivacity, is deficient both in the disposition to industry and in the power of close reasoning; and not less so in the higher inventive faculties. In science, in literature, in the arts, his inferiority is plainly discernible. We do not recollect, at this moment, that those great and truly original writers to whom France owes her chief literary distinction--with the exceptions only of Montaigne and Montesquieu, both Gascons, and Pascal, an Auvergnatwas born in the southern half of the kingdom. Even in the ordinary labours of the literary profession, almost all the best work is turned out by artisans from the north. Crébillon the younger, who acted as censor of the press


many years, used, according to Mercier, to estimate beforehand the probable excellence of a poem by the geographical position of the poet's birthplace. The

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passage is rather an amusing one, although in Mercier's usual overwrought manner:

•Crébillon was in the habit of opening his door every morning • to a number of versifiers and beginners in authorship. He said

to me one day—“Stay with me till a quarter to one; that is the time when the poets bring me their manuscripts.".

•I sat down. The bell rung : Crébillon opened. Eater an . author, with an air of ease and vivacity; he presents himself • with some grace, talks well; he takes a chair, and draws a manuscript from his pocket. Conversation begins—and our author

says some good things. “What country do you come from ?” • asked Crébillon, who, in the way of business, approved some • forty or fisty thousand verses a year. "From the neighbourhood of Toulouse," replied the author, “Good: leave your manuscript; send, or come to-morrow, and the approbation will be regularly entered.”

When this writer was gone, Crébillon, holding the manuscript in his hand, said to me “I do not know what there is inside this : you have heard the young man; he talks readily, • and has wit. Will you allow me to bet you that his work is • without rhyme or reason ?” Why so hasty a judgment ?” • "You shall know. Let us read it together.” In fact, the piece * presented for the exercise of Crébillon's censorship had not com6 mon sense.

The bell rings again : another author enters. He stops at the door; he does not know how to come in, or to talk, or to sit · down; he moves as if he was afraid to bend his joints; he scarcely escapes upsetting the censor's breakfast-table. It is ' quite a scene to get him to take a chair; he tries to speak, and only stammers; he answers our questions at random. After looking five minutes at his pocket, swoln with his manuscript, he • draws it out awkwardly~lets his hat and cane fall in presenting it-looks about for his umbrella as if he thought it was stolensticks the point of his sword into my leg by a clumsy movement "--and at last succeeds in saying, “I beg you to be speedy, sir, • for I have been told that you are very obliging." Crébillon takes

the packet with his usual politeness, puls his author at his ease as * much as possible, and makes the same enquiry. “I come from • the neighbourhood of Rouen.” “Good: in three days I shall • have approved your manuscript.” He leads him out, and assists

him to find his umbrella. The door seems too small for the • exit of the poet, for he sways to the lest, makes a false step on • the landing-place, and tumbles down stairs ; after pushing s back his censor four or five times with his hand, from excess of Norman politeness. “What a brute!” said 1: "and that ani

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I have had many

6 mal writes." Well,” says Crébillon, “you have seen him, you have heard him, or rather have not heard him. Will

you • take my bet that his work is not without merit?” Then

you • know him ?" « No more than the other. I never saw him

before; let us read." We did so: the production of the clumsy • Norman had ideas, style; in short, it was a very respectable

performance. As I remained astonished at the spirit of divinastion which had seized on our censor, he said, “Many years' ex

perience has shown me that out of twenty authors from the • south of France, nineteen are detestable: while, out of the saine

number from the north, half at least have the germ of talent, • and are capable of great things. The worst possible verses are • made between Bourdeaux and Nismes. That is the latitude of bad poets. All these writers have in general nothing but wind in their heads; while those of the north have good sense and na• tural talent wbich only wants cultivation.' • occasions to apply Crébillon's observation, and have rarely found • it fail. Southern heads (making allowance for exceptions), * seem to me unfit for composition--they want logic.'

Yet this inferiority is not without compensation in other respects. It is quite remarkable how much of the peculiar character which has long distinguished the élite of the French nation—the tincture of the old court, the tone of elegant and witty circles, the form and pressure' of polished society-have been derived originally from the south. Wherever south and north have been brought into contact, on a stage where external advantages-quickness, and wit--were likely to predominate over essentials-as at Paris and Versailles-the first has almost invariably beaten bis more solid rival out of the field. Our own popular notion of the French character is almost wholly derived from l'homme du midi, and is utterly untrue of the Norman, the Picard, or the Lorrainer. This has been especially the case since the reign of Francis I., with whom the courtly bistory of France begins. 'Ever since the end of the 15th century, to quote again from M. Thierry, 'the class of men in favour, which was formerly • termed in France noblesse de cour, has been always composed,

in great majority, of Gascons and southern families in general.? And, whether this bereditary connexion with courts has given them also a peculiar aptitude for politics—or whether it be true, that the qualities most necessary for a political leader are not the sounder faculties of the mind, but boldness, readiness, and enthusiasm,-it is certain, as the same writer observes, that political power seems to fall, by a kind of destiny, almost invariably to candidates from the left bank of the Loire. In our own days, De Cazes, Villèle, Martignac, Polignac, Périer, Soult, Guizot, have maintained in turn this prescriptive right of their countrymen.

But a closer examination shows that these two great regions (thirty-two departments of northern, and fifty-four of southern France comprehend many sub-divisions which merit a particular examination, from the distinctness of the features which they exhibit. In the following short survey we have partly followed M. d'Angeville's generalizations; and partly endeavoured to correct them for ourselves by reference to the statistical data on which he founds them.

The inhabitants of Normandy are a peculiar race, differing in many characteristic points from their neighbours, both on the east and west; a sort of cousins of our own, both in temper and descent, and

Still from either beach,
The voice of blood doth reach,

More audible than speech.' They deserve, therefore, our special investigation. Nor is it a kindred of which we have any reason to be ashamed; although the evil as well as the good results of a blood above average

strength,' to use a Scottish phrase, are mingled in their composition. Normandy is unusually circumstanced with respect to the progress of population. Deaths, on the whole, are fewer, , births also fewer than in other extensive districts of France. The increase of numbers is very slow; one department, and that rich and commercial (l'Eure), presents the singular aspect, in Europe, of a community quite stationary in numbers amidst the highest apparent prosperity. Lise is long; the standard of subsistence high; the race is above the average of France in point of stature; but, by one of those contradictions of which we have hinted an explanation, it does not appear to M. d'Angeville to be robust. A rigorous purist would not perhaps be delighted with the moral phenomena which these tables present with regard to this province. Although instruction is common, crime is, relatively speaking, more common still; the number of bastards and foundlings is also considerable. Notwithstanding all their education, the Normans have among them a considerable spirit of resistance to the law; taxes are not very easily collected, or conscripts raised; they are, in short, mouli forts a justitier as their countryman, Wace, represented them six hundred years ago; when he very plainly recommended for them a much rougher course of treatment than is fashionable among modern political philosophers:

Foler et plaisier,' (ouler et ployer) 'lor convient,
Si en toz temps soz piez les tient,
E ki bien les defolt et poigne

porra fere sa besoigne ! On the other hand, M. d'Angeville's tables show distinctly

enough that they retain also their ancient character of litigiousness; their departments are among the blackest in the map of esprit de chicane; and, in this respect, as well as in their aversion to military service, they exhibit rather a southern than a northern character. They are not very zealous either in the matter of politics or religion. On the whole, the results which are displayed by statistical enquiry into the condition of the Normans, correspond with the character generally attributed to them; a disposition marked by shrewdness, energy, independence, and some selfishness, but softened by the influence of wealth and intelligence.

Picardy, Artois, and the other departments of the Belgian frontier, form one of the most valuable portions of the kingdom; both from the wealth and from the moral and physical character of the inhabitants. The blood of the old Belge here preserves the same marked superiority which it exhibited in the days of Cæsar. over that of the other Celtic races. In point of manufacturing and commercial industry, no district of similar extent approaches this.

Its population (especially in the departments of le Nord and Pays de Calais) is very dense, and increasing with moderate rapidity. The people are well sed, and the average duration of life long, except in the large towns. In point of education these departments scarcely figure so well as might be expected from their wealth and industry; and pauperism is the eating sore of this part of France. Crimes are frequent in Picardy, rare in le Nord [French Flanders), notwithstanding its dense civic population. The department du Nord ranks highest of all in M. d'Angeville's columns, both with respect to the quality of the food consumed in it, and the average stature of the conscripts (one mètre 682 millimètres, or more than five feet six inches English). This department is the Lancashire or Yorkshire of France, in point of manufacturing industry; and it is well known that those counties furnish, in like manner, the tallest specimens of Englishmen; sufficient answer, is one were needed, to the notion that such industry has a general tendency to produce physical deterioration in mankind.

Alsace and Lorraine, that corner of Germany of which German patriotism still regrets the loss-dem Kaiser und dem Reich 'geraub'are inhabited by a mixed population, different from the purely Celtic French in habits, and partly in language. Descended from the most warlike races of the ancient worldthe semi-Teutonic Belge of the Rhine and Moselle---the fierce Alemanni, who, when these had become Roman and degenerate, trampled them under foot in the fourth and fifth centuries,--they are a bold and peculiarly energetic people, with the faults as

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