Tins summer, before separating for the season, those who think that a good book is a good friend must have felt a singular * Bogdan: lirlanges et Ldllre.c. Buie, 1876. Calman Ltvy, Editeurs. 2 vols. pleasure in turning over the pages of two handsome volumes which found their way rapidly into the hands of people of taste. Not that either the title or the author could exercise that irresisti- ble attraction, for even amongst those who flattered themselves that they were thoroughly acquainted with the French literary world there were certainly but few for whom the name of X. Doudan, whose correspondence, together with some essays, is now before us, was not quite unknown. Even the names of his literary godfathers, notwithstanding that they are those of no less persons than D'Haus- sonville, De Sacy, Cuvilier-Fleury, are not in themselves sufficient to explain this rapid success. It is entirely due to the originality of the man, who, during the period of forty-five years over which this correspondence extends, treated a variety of subjects with a profound learning, a sustained brilliancy, a freedom of thought, and an elevation of view which never stoop to flatter the caprices or powers of the day. Doudan was born with the century, he died at the age of seventy-two, he possessed most remarkable gifts as a writer, and nevertheless he published nothing during his life. This alone would be sufficient to inspire interest, at a time in which nearly everybody is so devoured with the thirst for literary fame that those who have nothing to produce exhibit at least themselves. This unbroken silence seems to have extended itself over Doudan's entire life. The son of a family of small for- tune, which occupied at Douai honourable positions in the magis- tracy and in commerce, he went to Paris with the intention of devoting himself to education. There he became acquainted with M. de Sacy, as tutor at the College Henri IV. At that time, the modest young teacher, whose only desire was to read and augment his knowledge, had already become intimate with those among his young contemporaries who were destined to leave their mark upon their country. Saint Marc Girardin, amongst others, became his friend, and remained so till death separated them. In his political convictions, Doudan be- longed to the school of Royer-Collard ; in his literary tastes, although himself a classic, he had for the young romantic school an indulgent sympathy which M. de Saey found it hard to pardon ; personally, he felt for philosophical and metaphysical studies an attraction which was lasting, though not exclusive. Thus passed away in poverty and austerity a youth to which those who were best able to judge have applied, as indeed to his whole life, the beautiful line of Racine,— "Le jour n'est pas pins pur que le fond de mon mon"
In 1826 the course of his life took the direction in which it was destined to remain. At the instigation of Saint Marc Girardin, Villemain recommended Doudan to the De Broglie family, who were then looking out for some one to whom they could entrust the education of the son whom Madame de Steel had by the mar- riage which she contracted late in life with M. de Rocca. The tutor soon became a friend from whom they never separated.
The Due Victor de Broglie, he whom M. Thiers still calls, with faithful veneration, "le grand Duc de Broglie," was then in the prime of his life. A concurrence of circumstances united in him distinctions the most various. His old family traditions were above all things military ; the house of De Broglie had given suc- cessively three Marshals to France, and a soldier to the cause of American independence. After the return of the latter to his country, he received the last privilege accorded by France to the descendants of an ancient race,—his head fell on the scaffold during the Terror. His son, Victor de Broglie, then a little child, was present in a red cap and wooden shoes at the sale of the last remnant of his hereditary property, and received from the younger Robespierre, by way of charity, an assignat of 10,000 francs, which would hardly have procured for him the necessaries of life. He managed, however, to live, and a few years later his mother married again, a D'Argenson, grandson of the Minister of Louis XV. He brought up Victor de Broglie as if he had been his own son, and represented, in the variety of opinions which surrounded the young man without ever attaining the mastery over him, the most advanced Socialist doctrines, professed, for once at least, with perfect sincerity. One of the first literary pleasures of De Broglie's life was the perusal of " Delphine" and "Atala," and his first employment was that of auditeur imperial in the Ministry of War, after which he went in an administrative capa- city to Germany, Poland, Spain, and Dalmatia. Accustomed from an early period to rely upon himself, he soon made his way in the world, and acquired a deep knowledge of men and things. The Restoration caused him to remember that he was the head of one of the great French noble families, and called him to the House of Peers. Notwithstanding this sudden change of fortune, it was only later that he took an active part in politics. Moved by a sincere admiration for Madame de Steel, he had become one of the frequenters of her salon, and conceived an attachment for her daughter Albertine. The marriage took place in 1816, and many years after, M. Guizot rendered to the Duchesse de Broglie the testimony " qu'elle fut une creature du premier rang dans l'ordre intellectuel, comme dans l'ordre moral, en qui le don de plaire Ur& le moindre de ceux qu'elle avait recus de Dieu." (Guizot, " Le Duo de Broglie.") The Due de Broglie's political career really began during the ministry of Villele. The tone of his mind, not less than experience, caused him to feel a profound aversion for arbitrary power, with the evil consequences of which he was inti- mately acquainted, and he found himself naturally inclined to associate with that group of men, who tried to solve the pro- blems arising out of the new order of things in a spirit of sincere attachment to liberty and law. Thus it came to pass that the Due de Broglie became a doctrinaire. After having exercised all his energy to reconcile the ancien regime with modern France, he only began to despair when he saw the government of the country in the hands of Polignac. After 1830, the first office which he held was one of the most difficult in those times of trouble, the Ministry of Public Worship and Education. Then, in 1832, he was placed at the head of the Foreign Office, in the Cabinet which was destined to carry out the resolute and con- sistent policy of Casimir Wrier, and in 1835 he became the head of that Government.
During the whole time that the Due de Broglie was Minister, M. Doudan was his private secretary, and in that position he found ample opportunity to display his remarkable talent in his relations with the most distinguished men of the day. In difficult and delicate negotiations the Due de Broglie relied on the soundness of his judgment, and when in 1836 he left the Ministry, a seat in' the Conseil d'Etat was offered to Doudan. It was at this moment, which most men would have chosen as the starting-point of a brilliant career, that he refused to pursue his own.
In his correspondence, he once acknowledges playfully that he always gave advice of a romantic character ; so much is certain, that for himself be always acted in that spirit. Without ambition or desire to attract notice, he neither expected nor wished for honours or fortune. Sincerely devoted to the distinguished man who had become his friend, and whose tastes and convictions he shared, he preferred the ties which attached him to his family to everything else. These feelings increased when misfortune came upon it, and when the death of the Duchess de Broglie caused her husband a sorrow which only ended with his life, and which was the reason of his retiring from politics for ever. Assisted by Doudan, he devoted himself to the education of his three children. The present Duc de Broglie, his brother, at first a distinguished naval officer and then a priest, and a daughter, married to Comte d'Haussonville, and known for having, like the rest of that family of distinguished writers, contributed to litera- ture, have all acknowledged the part played in their intellectual development by the remarkable man who devoted to them his talents as well as his affections. Much as their gratitude honours them, it does not exceed the value of the gift they received. The letters addressed by Doudan to the generation which grew up under his eyes, reveal more clearly than even their panegyrics its nature and extent. Speaking one day of M. de La Mennais, he expresses himself thus :—" He reserves all his mental powers for his books ; I have often noticed that this economy is a bad sign, and the proof that, for such a man, literature is a mere trade, and that his inmost self is a stranger to the impressions he feigns in his books." And then, faithful to- his usual habit of enforcing a true observation by a happy image, he adds :—"Nothing more dismal than those country drawing- rooms where the fires are only lit when distinguished visitors are in sight." The perusal of his letters shows how closely he followed the precept. For the exclusive benefit of intimate friends he lavished on the most various topics, on religion, history, politics, art, literature (classic and contemporary), floods of information, elegance, and wit, which others would have deemed sufficient to fill volumes and found a reputation. In the rich and harmonious fullness of his style nothing is missing but prejudice or self- preoccupation, and in the lofty independence of his thoughts, as well as in his unfailing good-sense, there is a profound aversion for mere phraseology and for everything like partisanship. "Ideas," he says, " enter one's mind by a thousand different ways and under as many different forms. I don't believe that the same reason can be made use of for convincing two minds." (Vol. II., p. 51.) Having denied himself the applause of the public, he had a right to make no concession to its whims, and to remain true to himself. In fact, there is no trace of conventionality in his appreciation of men or events. When be heard that his friend Rossi, who had
been one of the usual guests of the Hotel de Broglie, had fallen a victim to self-devotion, he wrote :—" It is not often that the world loses men of that stamp, and those who pretend to know what political morality means, and who so often condemned him, are most likely not to be compared to him in any way, and assuredly they will never show for a better cause the intrepidity which cost him his life It is very likely that the Rome we know will come to an end with Rossi." (Vol. IL, p. 203.) But when, thirteen years after, he heard the news of Cavonr's death, he said :—" Now-a-days, we have not many oaks of that size, and it is melancholy enough to witness the fall of one of them, what- ever one may think of Italian affairs. How difficult it is to trace the philosophy of history, and to find out why God spares one man and takes another away !" (Vol. IL, p. 341.) On another occasion, speaking of Sainte-Beuve, who himself used to call Doudan " un esprit delicat, ne sublime," he said of him, " What a strange being he is! He has a violent inclination to kill those who are already hit. No sooner does he hear that a man has come to grief in the street, than he leaves the house, provided with a pin-cushion, in which he puts the sharpest needles, for the 'purpose of pricking the victim's flesh." Doudan himself had quite the contrary inclination. His impartiality did not pre- vent him standing to his colours. " Don't let us concede to any- body," he says, " the inferiority of our friends on one point or another. Narrow minds would not understand our meaning. I shall always aim at those who attack the camp in which I live. It is in this camp, after all, that reside the men who represent mankind most honourably." (Vol. II., p. 274.) And in confirmation of this, he mentioned the names of Gnizot, Remusat, De Sacy. It was with no less fidelity that he remained faithful to his literary predilections, and confessed that in his eyes " the paths along which Homer and Dante travelled were the most beautiful." But as free from exclusiveness in literary as in political matters, he thought " that during the last fifty years the human mind had acquired precious qualities," and spoke of his contemporaries in a spirit of impartial justice. The judgments he passed on De Maistre, La Mennais, Chtteaubriand, Victor Hugo, Lamartine, Renan, are well worth noticing. What he says of Madame de Maintenon is perhaps amongst the very best criticisms ever passed upon her :-
" I have read," be says, " the excellent lady's biography, and am really fond of that well-controlled nature, so neatly arranged, whose very steps are measured, and whose language and manners retain, nevertheless, a graceful charm of their own. She had found so little help and sympathy at her entrance into the world, that she promised herself to promote solely and as much as possible the interests of Madame de Maintenon. She made her way softly, quietly, with un- tiring mildness and invincible perseverance, feigning at first all sorts of good feelings, which she ended by really possessing. Contrary to the general opinion, I am quite certain that she was a better woman at
sixty than at thirty No sooner had she succeeded in making her own little royal fortune, than she saw how this also was not worth the trouble, and chose in entire sincerity the part of renunciation. To renounce the world, it is necessary to have had one's share in it. She began by taking it herself, because nobody helped her, and then she acknowledged that she had gained a deceitful good, and looked out for something better, with a spirit somewhat overcast and melancholy, like a person who is tired of having worked hard and in vain." (Vol. L, p.360.)
The grave and serious tone displayed here is not always Doudan's manner. Very often be finds the happy expressions which characterise men in a few words, and in his voice there is the true comic ring, as free from bitterness as from passion. Speaking, for example, of Renan, whose great gifts in other respects he knew how to value, he says :—" 11 donne aux hommes de sa generation ce gulls desirent en touter choses : des bonbons qui sentent l'infini." Another time, he says of universal suffrage :— "Dependre du suffrage universel, c'est se tenir stir le dos d'une baleine ; cela va bien tent qu'elle ne prend pas la phantaisie de plonger." Then, speaking of one of his best friends and corre- spondents, the excellent, enthusiastic M. Ranlin, whom he was so fond of teasing about his love for botanic and Byzantine Madonnas, he writes :—" Il est aimable comme de eoutume, et moddrd jusqu'k l'emportement, suivant son habitude." M. de Lamartine also, whose over-sonorous eloquence was so little to
his taste, does not escape untouched. He calls L' Histoire des Gircmdins "un magnifique delire," and exclaims, after the pub-
lication of one of his poems, " La chute de son Ange est deplor- able. Cet Ange tombe dana le vide. L'imagination de M. de
Lamartine eat une imagination de grant, grosaiere, monotone, et puerile. II prend Is grosseur pour in grandeur." And he adds, " C'est aussi un pen Perseus du temps." Much later, towards the end of the Second Empire, he advises M. E. Offivier to have his own head engraved on his seal, and to choose fbr its motto the words of Galileo, "Et pourtant elle tonne.". Before taking our leave of Dondan, we must venture, however,- to address an observation to his editors :—" It seems to us that there is at the most important moments of that correspondence a reticence sometimes distinctly indicated, and sometimes only dis- cernible by the long intervals between the dates. This reticence is conspicuous when Dondan speaks of ecclesiastical matters. We insist on the word, because, on the subject of religion itself, he states his views with every desirable clearness, not only in his- letters, but also in his essays." (As, for instance, in Vol. L, p. 14," De l'Autoritd des Ecritures.") Like the Duo de Broglie, he was a sin- cere Christian. In the course of his correspondence he often quotes Scripture, and particularly the Psalms, which responded so well to his deep conviction of the vanity of life. But in religion, above all, he refused to be a party man. While admiring those " qui prevaient heroiquement le Christianisme an pied de la lettre " (Vol.
p. 572), he made no secret of his aversion for the ecclesiastical policy of the day. Long before the reign of M. Venillot, in the midst of the emotions of 1848, be wrote to Prince Albert, now- Duo de Broglie, " Gouverne-t-on le clerge ? Pent-etre Bien et to le sais mieux que moi, si cela eat." (Vol. II., p. 186.) In this respect, opinions must have differed between him and the future Minister of Marshal MacMahon, to whom experience may have since shown that his old friend's doubts were not unfounded. If- K D'Haussonville keeps his word, and if other writings of M. Doudan are published, it might perhaps be just to his memory that on this subject, as on all others, his real opinions should be- made known.