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COURTILZ DE SANDRAS: BIOGRAPHER OF D'ARTAGNAN.
romantic vein, let the curious read the lively story of "La Marquise de Fresne," which is one of the few novels which the harassed exile found opportunity to print.
Somebody has called Courtilz de Sandras "the French Defoe," and the comparison is not inapt. For, while Courtilz lacked the Englishman's illuminating genius and only lives to-day in the light of reflected fame, he shared with Defoe the power of imparting an intense air of reality to his romantic narratives his literary style, described as inelegant by Bayle and other classicists of his day, is strongly suggestive of Defoe's-and, as in the case of Defoe, his independence of thought brought him into continuous conflict with the government. Perhaps, if Courtilz had not been compelled to spend nearly all his working life either in the Bastile or as an exile from France, he would have left something more worthy of his powers than the hurriedly written, badly edited volumes which bear his name. Indeed, among the thirty manuscript books of his which remain at Paris unpublished and unexamined, there may exist material calculated to render Courtilz at least as posthumously famous as Pepys. With regard to the man's peculiar skill at characterization, it has had an immense, if indirect, influence upon the popular mind. The prevailing impressions which remain of Richelieu and of Mazarin are those which he left in his writings. Dumas took his two cardinals bodily out of the pages of Courtilz, merely emphasised their salient qualities, good or bad, and so bequeathed them to us to-day. Critics ascribe to the great Creole's imagination the many discrepancies between the Richelieu and Mazarin of romance and the Richelieu and Mazarin of gravely reticent history. But, as a matter of fact, Dumas merely engraved his cardinals' portraits from the originals by their contemporary Courtilz.
The average reader takes his idea of Courtilz from "Les Mémoires de M. d'Artagnan," a portion of which was recently done into English. The tendency is to compare this excerpt from the parent work with "Les Trois Mousquetaires," greatly to the disadvantage of the former. Disappointed reviewers have found the "Mémoires" mere "dry bones, clothed with life by the magician Dumas." These authorities apparently forget the widely different natures of the books. Dumas was writing romance, and writing it with such freedom that he allowed himself, for artistic effect, to bring D'Artagnan to Paris twenty years before that doughty Béarnais was born. Now Courtilz described the real doings of a real Charles d'Artagnan, his patron and friend. Rochefort, Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and Miladi were to him actual persons. His were memoirs, not romances; and naturally this fact hampered the dramatic interest of the work. Suetonius is scarcely so enthralling as Sienkiewicz, just as Philippe de Comines is less fascinating than Walter Scott. As an example of Courtilz in the purely
The autobiography of Courtilz would make interesting reading; pity 'tis that he did not write it. Gatien de Courtilz "de Sandras"-the last his mother's name, which he added in imitation of D'Artagnan-was born in the Rue de l'Universitè, Paris, early in 1644. He was cadet of an ancient family settled in Ile de France and the Vexin, his parents being Messire Jean de Courtilz, Sieur de Tourly, and the Dame Marie de Sandras. From his elder brother, Jean, springs the present Comte de Courtilz; he himself inherited a younger son's portion, the small property of Verger, near the village of Chuelles, in what is now the arrondissement of Montargis. A gentleman named Coste, who resides in the little chateau, can show the cell in which Courtilz hid from the archers sent to take him to the Bastile. By right of his land, Gatien styled himself "Sieur de Verger" ("Squire of the Orchard" one might render it), and went to Paris to seek his fortune. Luckily his aunt Madeleine, wife of Claude de Courtilz, happened to be a very dear friend of M. d'Artagnan, then lieutenant-commander of the Musketeers. Good D'Artagnan took the boy under his casaque, obtained for him a place in the first company of Musketeers, and eventually had him appointed captain in the regiment of BeaupréChoiseul. Courtilz has repaid the honest Béarnais well for these favors. Through him, by fosterage of Dumas, the name of D'Artagnan has become immortal and celebrated wherever French or English is read or spoken.
The appearance and character of Courtilz at this time are summed up by Pere Le Long: "He was tall and good-looking, a great reader of books and men. Talent he had to a great degree; but his tastes were for plot and intrigue, as one may well gather from his works." It was during the inaction following the peace of Nimegue, in 1678, that these works began to appear-the earliest being simply satirical ballads aimed at Louvois or the Montespan. Very soon the Government traced these ribald songs to the gallant captain's quarter's in the Ile Notre Dame, and in 1683 Courtilz was obliged to resign his commission and fly to Holland. At La Haye, in the same year, Hendrik van Bulderen published for him an attack upon the policy of Louis XIV., entitled "Conduite de la France depuis la paix de Nimégue." There was nothing unpatriotic in the author's attitude, but the French were greatly incensed, and for the next ten years he was forced to skulk about the frontier at the risk of his life, fighting many duels with swashbucklers who impunged his honor, and living precariously by means of the stream of books and pamphlets which flowed from his pen. The "Conquetes Amoureuses du Grand Al
candre," a mordant satire on the King, was followed by readable lives of Admiral Coligny and Turenne, and in 1686 by the inception of a weekly journal called the Mercure Historique et Politique. The last was continued for several years, and proved a sad thorn in the side of the French. In 1687 he brought out the first of those gossipy memoirs, purporting to be entirely autobiographical, by which he is best known to-day. This was Memoires de le C de R" (that is, Comte de Rochefort), giving the life history of that interesting personage who acted so long as chief of Richelieu's secret agents. The materials for these chronicles Courtilz had from Rochefort himself. The famous spy was his near relative, and they lodged together for two years while in exile at Cologne. Consequently the intimate study of Richelieu herein contained has a decided historical value. Dumas, as I have pointed out, accepted it in full; and the novelist also made free use of Rochefort himself, as well as taking from this book the episode of Miladi and Athos in "Les Trois Mousquetaires."
Between 1687 and 1693 Courtilz published five volumes, and continued to edit his Mercure. But the longing for home had grown upon him until it became insupportable; and in January, 1693, he dared the wrath of the French Court, crossed the frontier under cover of a protracted snowstorm, and after hiding for two months at his chateau of Verger, at last moth-like to the flame-ventured into Paris. On April 18, 1693, M. de la Reynie wrote to the Commissioner Labbé: "In the King's service you are to go forthwith to the Abbé Deschamp's house, Rue de Berry in the Marais; and in the room which Courtylz occupies there you and M. Desgrez are to make a thorough search for incriminating papers. Seize everything suspicious, and bring with you all. cassettes and locked boxes." On the same evening Courtilz was arrested at the Galant Vert Tavern, in the Rue des Fossoyeurs (the old lodgings of D'Artagnan), and committed to the Bastile. I find from the records that "at half after nine on the morning of April 23, Courtilz, sieur de Verger, was consigned to Cell I., Tour de la Chapelle." He was accused of "atrocious calumnies against the King and the Ministry." At first his imprisonment was rigorous; but in February, 1694, he obtained leave to see his wife in the courtyard, and in October, 1697, the rules were so far relaxed as to allow of his composing books and sending them (after due censorship) to be published in Holland. Perhaps the King missed his amusing memoirs; perhaps he had gained new friends at Court. At any rate, on Monday, March 2, 1699, at 10 A. M., he was released from the Bastile after an imprisonment of nearly six years. Although ordered to leave France forever, judicious behavior secured him a complete pardon in the following year. The "Mémories de M. d'Artagnan" had been written in prison, and were
published for the first time in Cologne in 1700. At a hint from Court, however, Courtilz chose rather to write romances during his closing days. The best of these published is "La Marquise de Fresne " (Amsterdam, 1701), the story of a beautiful Frenchwoman sold by her husband to the corsairs. Others of the same sort followed; but the romancing was varied by the translation into French of "The Imitation of Christ." Another of his works which should possess interest for Englishmen and Irishmen remains unpublished at Paris. I allude to "The Personal Memoirs of the Duke of Tyrconnel." During the extra liberty which he was accorded at the Bastile, he had made a friend of "Talbot the Dog," James II.'s Irish viceroy. Talbot, it appears, dictated to him his private version of the events leading up to and following the Battle of the Boyne; and these recollections are to be found in the manuscript remains of Courtilz.
The first wife of Gatien de Courtilz was Aimée d'Aramits, niece or cousin of that Henri d'Aramits, the musketeer, whose name he misspelt "Aramis,” so that Dumas took it for a nom de guerre, and transformed its owner into the "Abbé d'Herblay," although he was only an "abbé-laicque," and very probably a Huguenot. This lady died childless, and in 1678 Courtilz married Louise Barbe Pannetier, daughter of a clerk to the Master of Requests. Lastly, on February 4, 1711, he espoused Marguerite Maurice, widow of Aimable Auraye, and acquired with her the prosperous book-publishing business left by her husband. But our author did not live long enough to show his capabilities as a publisher. The records of St. André des Arcs state that, on May 8, 1712, there was interred in that church "the noble Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras, écuyer, seigneur de Verger, paroisse de Chuel." His death occurred in the Rue de Hurepois, Paris, probably at Number 15, which remained a publishing house until the period of the Revolution; and, although the great M. Dumas once talked of erecting a tablet to his memory, that kindly project was forgotten, and the remains of D'Artagnan's biographer rest in a nameless grave.
-GERALD BRENAN in Literature.
FIRST AMERICAN "RUBAIYAT.”
Sir: An advertisement published in a recent issue brought me an offer of a copy of an edition of "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam," printed at Columbus about 1870. The title page is without date, but is lettered "second edition," and the book is a fairly good reproduction of the second (London) edition of 1868. The Columbus edition, which was, I am told, very small, probably is the first American edition of the poem, and if so, is of very great interest to bibliographers and lovers of first editions. The first English edition fetches about $100 and the second English edition but a little less. I shall be glad if any reader can give the history of the edition which elicits this note.
DEWITT MILLER in Ohio State Journal.
SOME TRIED COMPANIONS.
Since taking to writing as a profession I have lost most of the interest I had in literature as literature pure and simple. That interest gradually faded and "Art for Art's sake," in the sense the simple in studios are wont to dilate upon, touches me no more, or very, very rarely. The books I love now are those which teach me something actual about the living world; and it troubles me not at all if any of them betray no sense of beauty and lack immortal words. Their artistry is nothing, what they say is everything. So in the shelf to which I mostly resort is a book on the Himalayas ; a Lloyd's shipping register; a little work on seamanship that every would-be second mate knows; Brown's Nautical Almanacs; a Channel Pilot; a Continental Bradshaw; many Baedekers; a Directory to the Indian Ocean and the China Seas; a big folding map of the United States; some books with strategy, and some touching on medical knowledge, but principally pathology and especially the pathology of the mind.
Yet in spite of this utilitarian bent of my thoughts there are very many books I know and love and sometimes look into because of their associations. As I cannot understand (through some mental kink which my friends are wont to jeer at) how any one can return again and again to a book for its own sake, I do not read what I know. As soon would I go back when it is my purpose to go forward. A book should serve its turn, do its work, and become a memory, To love books for their own sake is to be crystalised before old age comes on. Only the old are entitled to love the past. The work of the young lies in the present and the future.
But still, in spite of my theories, I like to handle, if not to read, certain books which were read by me under curious and perhaps abnormal circumstances. If I do not open them it is due to a certain bashfulness, a subtle dislike of seeing myself as I was. Yet the books I read while tramping in America, such as Sartor Resartus," have the same attraction for me that a man may feel for a place. I carried the lucubrations of Teufelsdrockh with me as I wandered; I read them as I camped in the open upon the prairie; I slipped them into my pocket when I went sheep-herding in the Texan plateau south of the Panhandle.
Another book which went with me on my tramps through Minnesota and Iowa was a tiny volume of Emerson's essays. This I loved less than I loved Carlyle, and I gave it to a railroad "section boss" in the northwest of Iowa because he was kind to When "Sartor Resartus" had traveled with me through the Kicking Horse Pass and over the Selkirks into British Columbia, and was sucked dry, I gave it at last to a farming Englishman who lived not far from Kamloops. I remember that in the flyleaf I kept a rough diary of the terrible week
I spent in climbing through the Selkirk Range with sore and wounded feet. It is perhaps little wonder that I associate Teufelsdrockh, the mind-wanderer, with those days of my own life. And yet, unless I live to be old, I shall never read the book again.
The tramp, or traveler, or beach-comber, or general scallawag finds little time and little chance to read. And for the most part we must own they care little for literature in any form. But I was not always wandering. I varied wandering with work, and while working at a sawmill on the coast, or close to it, in the lower Fraser River in British Columbia, I read much. In the town of New Westminster was a little public library, and I used to go thither after work, if I was not too tired. But the work in a saw-mill is very arduous to every one in it, and while the winter kept away I had little energy to read. Presently, however, the season changed, and the bitter east winds came out of the mountains and fixed the river in ice and froze up our logs in the "boom," so that. the saws were at last silent, and I was free to plunge among the books and roll and soak among them day and night.
The library was very much mixed. It was indeed created upon a pile of miscellaneous matter left by British troops when they were stationed on the British Columbian mainland. There was much rubbish on the shelves, but among the rubbish I found many good books. For instance, that winter I read solidly through Gibbon's "Rome," and refreshed my early memories of Mahomet, of Alaric, and of Attila. Those who imported fresh elements into the old were even then my greatest interest. preferred the destroyers to the destroyed, being rather on the side of the gods than on the side of Cato. Lately, as I was returning from South Africa, I tried to read Gibbon once more, and I failed. He was too classic, too stately. I fell back on Froude, and was refreshed by the manner, if not always delighted by the matter.
After emerging from the Imperial flood at the last chapter, I fell headlong into Vasari's "Lives of the Painters," in nine volumes. Then I read Motley's "Netherlands" and the "Rise of the Dutch Republic," always terrible and picturesque since I had read it as a boy of eleven.
At the saw-mill there was but one man with whom I could talk on any matters of intellectual interest. He was a big man from Michigan and ran the shingle saw. We often discussed what I had lately read, and went away from discussion to argument concerning philosophy and theology. He was a most lovable person; as keen as a sharpened saw-tooth, and a polemic but courteous atheist. His greatest sorrow in life was that his mother, a Middle State woman of ferocious religion, could not be kept in ignorance of his principles. We argued ethics sophistically as to whether a convinced agnostic might on occasion hide what he believed.
Sometimes this friend of mine went to the library with me. He had the penchant for science so common among the finer rising types of the lower classes. So I read Darwin's "Origin of Species," and talked of it with my Michigan man. And then I took to Savage Landor and learned some of his "Imaginary Conversations" by heart. I could have repeated "Esop" and "Rhodope."
But the one thing I forever fell back upon was an old encyclopædia. I should be afraid to say how much I read, but to it I owe, doubtless, a stock of extensive, if shallow, general knowledge. Certainly it appears to have influenced me to this day; for, given a similar one, I can wander from shipbuilding to St. Thomas Aquinas; from the Atomic Theory to the Marquis de Sade; from Kant to the building of dams; and never feel dull.
Now when I come across these books I am filled with a curious melancholy. The "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" means more to me than to some: I hear the whirr of the buzz-saw as I open it; even in its driest page I smell the resin of fir and spruce; Locke's "Human Understanding" recalls things no man can understand if he has not worked alongside Indians and next to Chinamen. As for Carlyle, I never hear him mentioned without seeing the mountains and glaciers of the Selkirks; in his pages is the sound of the wind and rain.
There are some novels, too, which have attractions not all their own. I remember once walking into a store at Eagle Pass Landing on the Shushwap Lake and asking for a book. I was referred to a counter covered with bear skins, and beneath the hides I unearthed a pile of novels. The one I took was Thomas Hardy's "Far from the Madding Crowd." And another time I rode into Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California, and, while buying stores, saw Gissing's "Demos" open in front of It was anonymous, but I knew it for his, and I read it as I rode slowly homeward down the Sonoma Valley, the Valley of the Seven Moons.
These are but a few of the books that are burnt into one's memory as by fire. All I remember are not literature; perhaps I should reject many with scorn at the present day; nevertheless, they have a value to me greater than the price set upon many precious folios. I propose one of these days to make a shelf among my shelves sacred to those books which I read under curious circumstances. I cannot but regret that I often had nothing to read at the most interesting times. So far as I can recollect I got through five days' starvation in Australia. without as much as a newspaper. How precious a cookery book might have been to me then!
MORLEY ROBERTS in Literature.
One of the most famous cases on record of insects boring through books is that reported by M. Peignot, in which he states that twenty-seven folio vol
umes were pierced through in so straight a line that a cord might be passed through them and all the volumes raised by means of it. Concerning library pests no less than eleven groups are accused of injuring books and bindings. juring books and bindings. None of these bear any resemblance in any period of their existence to worms, and the term bookworms is a misnomer.
STEVENSON, "FATHER" DAMIEN AND DOCTOR HYDE.
November 11, last, the Literary World speaking of the death of the Rev. Dr. Hyde of Honolulu, used this language:
"Some of the newspapers announce the event as the death of "Father Damien's traducer." This language is due to the fact that Dr. Hyde felt it to be his duty to make a public statement of what he believed to be the truth regarding Father Damien of the leper colony at Molokai, and that he was bitterly attacked therefor by the late Robert Louis Stevenson, in a letter which has been preserved in permanent form by Mr. Mosher of Portland. A more vindictive letter than this perhaps was never penned. We are able to say upon very high authority that Mr. Stevenson was led before his death to see the subject in a somewhat different light, and even went so far as to admit that in his treatmemt of Dr. Hyde he had laid himself open to very heavy penalty. That he ever retracted the letter, or modified its language, we are not prepared to say, but we believe he regretted its publication."
February 17th, the same journal had this additional paragraph to add re the same subject:
"This statement, so far as it related to Stevenson's regret for his letter to Dr. Hyde, or something to the same effect in the columns of the Boston Congregationalist, was rather peremptorily denied by an exchange. Lest we should have misunderstood the information upon which our statement was based, and so unintentionally have misrepresented the facts, we have taken the pains to determine the truth by fresh and explicit inquiry, and we now repeat the statement, without modification or qualification, as a statement of fact, and we do this upon the written authority of a witness of the highest personal character, whose carefulness and veracity are not to be questioned, a friend of Stevenson, whose letter lies before us saying: You are entirely right in your Stevenson paragraph as to regret for the Damien philippic. I have the substance of it from Stevenson's own lips."
Recently, in New York, Charles Dickens's own copy of Lytton's comedy, "Not So Bad as We Seem," London, 1851, uncut, profusely annotated in the margin with Dickens's suggestions and stage directions, sold for $150.
"First editions" vanish in interest before volumes having such associations.
A COMPARISON OF PRICES.
From "The Romance of Book Collecting."
The important sale to which reference was made in the last chapter is that of the library of John, Duke of Roxburghe, which was dispersed on May 18, 1812, and forty-one following days, by Robert H. Evans, a bookseller of Pall Mall. This sale is of extreme interest for two reasons. In the first place, the collection was the most extensive, varied, and important that had hitherto been offered for sale in England, or, indeed, anywhere else; and, secondly, it may fairly be regarded in the light of a connecting-link between the old state of things and the new. The Roxburghe library was not "erected," as Gabriel Naudæus has it, on tradional principles; it was of a general character that appealed to all classes of book-men. On the other hand, it was not quite such a library as a collector of large means might be expected to get together at the present day, for the tendency is now to specialize, and in any case many of the books that the Duke obviously took an interest in are of such little importance now, and so infrequently inquired for, that they would most assuredly be refused admission to any private library of equal importance and magnitude. Even a general lover would hardly be likely to manifest much interest in a number of volumes on Scots laws or to hob-a-nob with Cheyne, who in 1720 wrote a book on the gout, or with Sir R. Blackmore, notwithstanding that eminent physician's great experience of the spleen and vapors. That lore of this kind has its merits I dispute in no way, but it is not exactly of a kind to interest the modern collector, who, even if he aim at all branches of literature alike, would much prefer to have his legal and medical instruction boiled down, so to speak, to the compass of a good digest or cyclopædia.
Nevertheless, May 18, 1812, is among the fasti of those who to a love of letters add a passion for books. It is the opening day of the new régime— the birthday, in fact, of those who revel in first editions and early English texts. Brunet said that the "thermometer of bibliomania"-objectionable word!"attained its maximum in England" during these forty-two days of ceaseless hammering, and Dibdin went perfectly insane whenever he thought of this "Waterloo among book-battles," as he called it. Everyone of course knows the chief episode; that struggle between Earl Spencer and the Marquis of Blandford for the 1471 Boccaccio, in its faded yellow morocco binding, and how the latter carried it off for £2,260, a most idiotic price to pay, as subsequent events abundantly proved; for seven years later, when Lord Blandford's library came to be sold, the coveted volume was acquired by his former rival for considerably
less than half the money. It now reposes in state at Manchester, or, as some choose to say, is in prison there, though it is perhaps too much to expect that all good things should be forcibly removed to London, as some greedy Metropolitans wish them to be.
The Duke of Roxburghe's library comprised rather more than 10,000 works in about 30,000 volumes, and the auctioneer's method of classifying this large assortment was so peculiar that he feels constrained to apologize for it in a rather extensive preface.
"For instance," says he, "the Festyvale' of Caxton, printed in two columns, of which no other copy is at present known, may be found classed with a small edition of the Common Prayer of one shilling value."
The "Festival" brought £105, and the little Prayer Book, which proves to have been printed at London in 1707, 8s. 6d., which is more than it would be at all likely to sell for now. But what about Caxton's lordly tome; how much might that be expected to bring in case it should once again find its way into the open market? Judging from the present price of Caxtons, perhaps five or six times the money would not be an impossible figure, but there is no telling. It might bring more, even though it has the misfortune to belong to the second edition, for only six copies are known, and several of those are imperfect. Of the first edition of 1483, only three perfect copies are to be met with, and that is, of course, quite a different matter. The auctioneer need not, as it happens, have sought to excuse himself so energetically for placing good and bad books side by side, for the whole catalogue is arranged under subjects, and to do otherwise would have been manifestly impossible. He might, however, have entered somewhat more fully into detail as to condition and binding, for some of the books were, confessedly "thumbed to tatters," and a suspicion that this or that "lot" may be so afflicted lurks in every page of the catalogue.
The first book brought to the hammer at this sale; the preliminary bombshell which, to pursue Dibdin's metaphor, was the signal for a furious cannonade, consisted of the "Biblia Sacra Græca," printed by Aldus in 1518. This is the first complete edition of the Bible in Greek, and an important book on that account. It brought £4 15S., and any book-hunter might heartily pray for half a dozen copies now, on the same terms, for the present auction value runs to about six times as much. In fact, a sound copy sold only the other day for £27. So, too, Schoiffer's Latin Bible, printed at Mayence in 1472, folio, would be considered cheap now at 8 8s., assuming nothing was wrong with it. In 1893 a copy in oak boards brought £20 exactly. On the other hand, Baskerville's Bible, Cambridge, 1763, was excessively dear at £10 15s., seeing that a very fair copy can be got at the present Collectors of Bibles are retime for about £1 10S.