this more true than in French literature.
The clever woman who said that nothing was worse than French immorality except French morality, simply failed to go below the surface; for in France
the family feeling is so potent that the actual destruction of the domestic tie is often punished with cruel severity, even by the most tolerant novelists.
The retribution in Madame Bovary
, for instance, is almost too merciless, since it wreaks itself even upon the body of the poor sinner after death, and pursues her unoffending child to the poorhouse.
No one has painted a climax of unlawful passion more terrific than that portrayed in the closing pages of Monsieur de Camors
, the guilty pair, false to every human obligation, successful in their wishes to their own destruction, numinibus vota exandita malignis
, detached by their crime from all the world and finally from one another, wander like gloomy shadows amid an earthly paradise, meeting sometimes unwarily, but never exchanging a word.
Yet both these novels are sometimes classed among the bad books, simply because the guide-board is omitted and the reader left to draw his own moral.
The same misjudgment is often passed for the same reason upon Tolstoi