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beauty, I am furious with my own stupidity, and with my own respect. Practice and routine would have given me that ease, lightness, and assurance, without which the natural gift and impulse dies away. But on the contrary, I have developed two opposed habits of mind, the habit of scientific analysis which exhausts the material offered to it, and the habit of immediate notation of passing impressions. The art of composition lies between the two ; you want for it both the living unity of the thing, and the sustained operation of thought.

25th October 1875. — I have been listening to M. Taine's first lecture (on the Ancien Régime) delivered in the University hall. It was an extremely substantial piece of work — clear, instructive, compact, and full of matter. As a writer he shows great skill in the French method of simplifying his subject by massing it in large striking divisions ; his great defect is a constant straining after points; his principal merit is the sense he has of historical reality, his desire to see things as they are. For the rest, he has extreme openness of mind, freedom of thought, and precision of language. — The hall was crowded.

26th October 1875. — All origins are secret; the principle of every individual or collective life is a mystery — that is to say, something irrational, inexplicable, not to be defined. We may even go farther and say, — Every individuality is an insoluble enigma, and no beginning explains it. In fact, all that has become may be explained retrospectively, but the beginning of any. thing whatever did not become. It represents always the “fiat lux,' the initial miracle, the act of creation ; for it is the consequence of nothing else, it simply appears among anterior things which make a milieu, an occasion, a surrounding for it, but which are witnesses of its appearance without understanding whence it comes.

Perhaps also there are no true individuals, and, if so, no beginning but one only, the primordial impulse, the first movement. All men on this hypothesis would be but man in two sexes; man again might be reduced to the animal, the animal to the plant, and the only individuality left would be a living nature, reduced to a living matter, to the hylozoism of Thales. However, even upon this hypothesis, if there were but one absolute beginning, relative beginnings would still remain to us as multiple sym

bols of the absolute. Every life, called individual for convenience' sake and by analogy, would represent in miniature the history of the world, and would be to the eye of the philosopher a microscopic compendium of it.

The history of the formation of ideas is what frees the mind.

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A philosophic truth does not become popular until some eloquent soul has humanised it or some gifted personality has translated and embodied it. Pure truth cannot be assimilated by the crowd ; it must be communicated by contagion.

30th January 1876. — After dinner I went two steps off, to Marc Monnier's, to hear the Luthier de Crémone, a one-act comedy in verse, read by the author, François Coppée.

It was a feast of fine sensations, of literary dainties. For the little piece is a pearl. It is steeped in poetry, and every line is a fresh pleasure to one's taste.

This young maestro is like the violin he writes about, vibrating and passionate; he has, besides delicacy, point, grace, all that a writer wants to make what is simple, naïve, heartfelt, and out of the beaten track, acceptable to a cultivated society.

How to return to nature through art: there is the problem of all highly composite literatures like our own. Rousseau himself attacked letters with all the resources of the art of writing, and boasted the delights of savage life with a skill and adroitness developed only by the most advanced civilisation. And it is indeed this marriage of contraries which charms us; this spiced gentleness, this learned innocence, this calculated simplicity, this yes and no, this foolish wisdom. It is the supreme irony of such combinations which tickles the taste of advanced and artificial epochs, epochs when men ask for two sensations at once, like the contrary meanings fused by th smile of La Gioconda. And our satisfaction too in work of this kind is best expressed by that ambiguous curve of the lip which says:- I feel your charm, but I am not your dupe ; I see the illusion both from within and from without; I yield to you, but I understand you; I am complaisant, but I am proud ; I am open to sensations, yet not the slave of any; you have talent, I have subtlety of perception; we are quits, and we understand each other.

1st February 1876. — This evening we talked of the infinitely great and the infinitely small. The great things of the universe are for so much easier to understand than the small, because all greatness is a multiple of herself, whereas she is incapable of analysing what requires a different sort of measurement.

It is possible for the thinking being to place himself in all points of view, and to teach his soul to live under the most different modes of being. But it must be confessed that very few profit by the possibility. Men are in general imprisoned, held in a vice by their circumstances almost as the animals are, but they have very little suspicion of it because they have so little faculty of self-judgment. It is only the critic and the philosopher who can penetrate into all states of being, and realise their life from within.

When the imagination shrinks in fear from the phantoms which it creates, it may be excused because it is imagination. But when the intellect allows itself to be tyrannised over or terrified by the categories to which itself gives birth, it is in the wrong, for it is not allowed to intellect, - the critical power of man, – to be the dupe of anything.

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