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[258] so vivid and precious. And St. Simon, one of the great masters of the picturesque, lets us into the secret of his art when he tells us how, in that wonderful scene of the death of Monseigneur, he saw ‘du premier coup d'oeil vivement porte, tout ce qui leur échappoit et tout ce qui les accableroit.’ It is the gift of producing this reality that almost makes us blush, as if we had been caught peeping through a keyhole, and had surprised secrets to which we had no right,— it is this only that can justify the pictorial method of narration. Mr. Carlyle has this power of contemporizing himself with bygone times, he cheats us to

Play with our fancies and believe we see;

but we find the tableaux vivants of the apprentices who ‘deal in his command without his power,’ and who compel us to work very hard indeed with our fancies, rather wearisome. The effort of weaker arms to shoot with his mighty bow has filled the air of recent literature with more than enough fruitless twanging.

Mr. Masson's style, at best cumbrous, becomes intolerably awkward when he strives to make up for the want of St. Simon's premier coup d'oeil by impertinent details of what we must call the pseudo-dramatic kind. For example, does Hall profess to have traced Milton from the University to a ‘suburb sink’ of London? Mr. Masson fancies he hears Milton saying to himself, ‘A suburb sink! has Hall or his son taken the trouble to walk all the way down to Aldersgate here, to peep up the entry where I live, and so have an exact notion of my whereabouts? There has been plague in the neighborhood certainly; and I hope Jane Yates had my doorstep tidy for the visit.’ Does Milton, answering Hall's innuendo that he was courting the graces of a rich widow, tell us that he would rather ‘choose a virgin of mean ’

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