The Genius of France

I HAVE lately been making a map of France on a rather novel plan. On this map, instead of place names there are only names of men, all together over one hundred and fifty of the most illustrious Frenchmen of the last five centuries. Each man is placed on the spot, not necessarily his birthplace, in which there is reason to believe that he had sent down his deepest ancestral roots. When his father belonged to one region and his mother to another, his name is to be seen in both places: this is, for instance, the case with Victor Hugo, who may sometimes, perhaps, have characteristically imagined himself, with one foot on the mountains of the Vosges and another by the sea in Brittany, striding across the whole of France. Again, omissions have been made in the case of individuals whose ancestry is so mixed that it is difficult to find anything like a taproot: this may be said to be the case with Molière and Saint-Simon ; there are doubtless many such instances which we cannot detect. For a similar reason, I have omitted many eminent persons who are not only of mixed, but largely of foreign ancestry : Ronsard, Alexandre Dumas, George Sand, and Zola are a few of those excluded by this rule. Finally, all Parisians are omitted, for the fact that a man was born in any large capital, or even that his parents were born there, tells us nothing as to his racial affinities. François Coppée, for instance, belongs on his father’s side to a family which has been settled in Paris for several generations, but it is perhaps not fanciful to trace in his poetic work the characteristics of the Belgic race to which he ultimately belongs. Such austerity in omission is necessary if we wish confidently to place a man among his own people. In the selection of names, the only criterion has been fame : the names of earlier days have been sifted by posterity; in selecting from the names of our own day, a foreigner may share some of the privileges of posterity.

On looking at this map, one is struck in the first place by the barren character of the interior of the country. If we take the triangle formed by Paris at the apex, with Bordeaux and Lyons at the base, and covering about a fourth of the whole country, we find that outside this triangle the genius population is thick, more especially in the northwest, in the southwest, and along the whole eastern frontier. Within it only a few scattered names are to be found : the chief of these are Rabelais, Regnier, and Pascal, all three near the edges of the triangle, and all three set down merely on the strength of the uncertain guarantee of their birthplace. The barrenness in genius of this central region, which contains some of the richest and most picturesque parts of France and some of the finest monuments of architecture, is not unaccountable, but it is certainly surprising to find it so well marked.

If we look again at the map, we find that the names fall into numerous more or less distinct groups : the Breton group, the large Norman group, in the northeast the vaguely outlined Belgic or Flemish group fluctuating around Rheims and Valenciennes, the three allied groups of Lorraine, Burgundy, and Dauphiny along the eastern frontier, the Provençal or Ligurian group along the Mediterranean, and the extensive southwestern group, including Guienne, Gascony, and part of Languedoc, which may be called Aquitanian. I propose to investigate these groups in turn.

We may start at the northwestern peninsula with the men of Brittany. They form a strong and well-defined group ; even between the Bretons and the neighboring Normans there is a broad, vacant band on the map. The Bretons are a vigorous, tenacious race, fierce in their conservatism, sometimes fierce in their radicalism ; while very religious, sacrilege has also flourished among them ; their chief vice is drunkenness. They are a blue-eyed people, on the whole rather dark, but in some parts fair, especially on the coast, which is probably inhabited by the Britons who long ago fled from England, and in the Morbihan, which is the second fairest department in France. They are a seafaring folk, and the spirit of the sea has passed into their blood ; they are adventurers, initiators in thought, — above all, idealists, dreamers, and poets. Saint-Malo, their great seaport, was founded by British colonists, but the English, in spite of many attempts, have never been able to take it. The men of Saint-Malo have sent out discoverers all over the world ; they discovered Canada, the Falkland Islands, took possession of Rio Janeiro, visited so many lands that English sailors, whenever they lighted on some remote island, came to call it a maloon. In the region of thought, especially a kind of impassioned and poetic thought, Brittany has produced Abélard, Descartes, Maupertuis, La Mettrie, Broussais, Lamennais, and Renan,—a more brilliant group of thinkers than any other part of France can show. The Bretons are not painters, and they lack the plastic and architectonic qualities of art, though they have produced one notable sculptor, Michel Colomb, while the original and eccentric artist, Odilon Redon, a kind of French Blake, belongs to Brittany on his father’s side. Of recent years, however, numerous painters, mostly of the third rank, have come from this part of the country, and have clannishly banded themselves together in a society. The Bretons are above all a race of poets. Their land is harsh and barren and granitic ; the fleur d’ Armor is the gorse, and, as one of their own poets has said, that flower that one never gathers is indeed the symbol of the Breton people : —

“ Cercle de dards autour d’un cœur d’or.” Chateaubriand, a very characteristic child of the soil; Victor Hugo, by his Breton mother; Villiers de l’Isle Adam; Leconte de Lisle, of Breton race, though born abroad ; Pierre Loti, belonging to La Vendée, are among the chief names in the literary annals of Brittany ; there are very many of less note. The Breton may soak himself in brandy, but the ideal is always with him. Brittany is the great Continental centre of Celtic glamour. Souvestre, himself a Breton, celebrated this fact in his Derniers Bretons; and more recently, Renan has, in numberless ways, given expression to the latent poetry of Brittany. The latter, a blue-eyed Celt belonging to the old British colony at Tréguier, while inheriting all the gifts of his native land, had in him also something of the southern vivacity of his Gascon grandmother, which enabled him to survey the Breton within him from outside, with such incomparably delightful results.

The blank gulf which separates on the map the men of Brittany from their neighbors of Normandy corresponds to the radical difference in the character of the two races and of their lands. The Bretons, among the menhirs and dolmens of their bleak moors, are idealists, living with their traditions and legends. The Normans, a large and well-favored race, living in a rich and picturesque country, one of the most prosperous parts of France, are sturdy materialists. Stendhal, who himself belonged to the opposite side of France, thought that while Normandy was not the most spirituelle part of France, it might be considered the most civilized. While very prosperous, as usually happens, it has also been from very early times the most obstinately criminal region of France; certain parts of Brittany, like the Morbihan, on the other hand, being among the freest from criminality. Normans are not great poets. Songs, indeed, they possess in abundance, — their chansons, it has been said, are almost as numerous as their apples, — but one misses the profound poetic emotion of the Bretons. Tiersot, who has exhaustively studied the popular songs of France, has sought in vain from Avranches to Dunkerque for the song of sentiment; the Norman’s chanson d’amour is merely a chanson de galanterie. Usually, when the men of Normandy have wanted to sing, it has been of their apples and their cider; they are “ fort experts en beuverie,” and Olivier Basselin, the poet of perpetual drinking, is perhaps the most characteristic Norman singer. In recent days, the writer who has chiefly undertaken to sing of Normandy and its people, André Lemoyne, is himself a Breton. Malherbe, Delavigne, and Vacquerie are among the Normans, but the greatest of Norman poets is certainly Corneille. He is the majestic representative of all that is finest in the proud, individualistic, self-sufficing Norman. The answer in Médée to the question, “What protection have you against so many enemies ? ” “ Myself ! ” contains the essence of the Norman spirit; and it is a spirit not unfamiliar to the Englishman, who both by his virtues and his vices is in many respects allied to the Norman. The land itself recalls to us neighboring parts of England, and in the Cotentin peninsula, which stretches out towards England, and is inhabited (as Topinard has shown) by the fairest people in France, we find on every side names which are familiar to us in England and in English history. The Normans are great painters, and the temper of their art has usually been found congenial to the Anglo-Saxon spirit. Millet, who belonged to the part of Normandy nearest to England, is the chief of the later Norman painters. But Poussin was also a Norman, as was Géricault, and from Normandy and allied districts up the coast come Jules Breton, Cazin, and many wellknown painters of recent times. Normandy has been fertile in distinguished writers. Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Fontenelle, Mademoiselle de Scudéry, Octave Feuillet, Barbey d’Aurevilly, are among the Normans. Molière can scarcely be called a Norman, but the Poquelins belonged to Beauvais, which lies in a district closely allied to Normandy in character. Guy de Maupassant, with his solid materialism and concentrated laconic art, was a true Norman. The greatest of Norman writers, however, is Flaubert; half a Norman by blood, he was more than half a Norman by the temper of his work. Laplace and Le Verrier are first among the Normans in science. Charlotte Corday was a Norman, as also was her victim, Marat.

The Norman men of genius do not entirely coalesce with those of Picardy. We may, however, regard the latter as representing the extreme left of the Norman spirit. Picardy is not an attractive country, and its inhabitants, as a race, are not, perhaps, among the most lovable in France. They are rough, independent, taciturn, not apt to cultivate the social graces of life, with a reputation for mauvaise tête ; though quarrelsome, they are not so fond of litigation as the Normans; at the same time they lack the Norman’s audacity and his love of adventure. They are a very positive race, with much good sense and perseverance, sound at the core, but with an element of savagery in them sometimes, not easily aroused, but hard to subdue when once it is aroused. Zola laid the scene of his Germinal in this district. They are observant and caustic, good story-tellers ; they possess a picturesque patois, now disappearing, and are said by those who know them well to represent the old esprit gaulois. It may well be that there is a strong aboriginal Celtic element among the Picards ; they are certainly not ethnically identical with the Normans, for while the department of the Eure - Inférieure on the Norman side of them is the third fairest in France, and the Pas-de-Calais on their Flemish side stands fifth, the Somme, which corresponds to the greater part of Picardy, stands twenty-second on the list. Henri Martin, the historian, a Saint-Quentin man, — cold, shrewd, narrow, a firm believer in the virtues of individualism, — is a typical representative of Picardy, and has been described as a typical Celt. From Picardy, and even more from the neighboring Artois, where the Picard blends with the more sympathetic Fleming, have come many able writers, thinkers, and men of affairs : Sainte - Beuve, English on his mother’s side, belonged to Boulogne through his father ; Condorcet was half a Picard; Malebrance belonged to Artois, as also Sugar and Daunou. The somewhat sombre, narrow, and fervent Picardy spirit is favorable to religion, though of late fervid belief has largely given way to fervid unbelief, without, however, abolishing superstition. France, on the whole, is far from being a land of fanatics, but the Picard’s moral character is the soil on which fanaticism flourishes. It can hardly be an accident that the three most famous and influential fanatics of Europe were all born within fifty miles of one another, in Picardy or on its borders: Peter the Hermit belonged to Amiens, Calvin to Noyon, Robespierre to Arras. Damiens, the would - be regicide, also came from this region. The men of Picardy are not poets. There is no province in France, says Tiersot, where the popular song is so neglected; the only chanson held in honor is the chanson grivoise. It was not so always ; Picardy was once a centre of musical evolution, but this was probably due to Flemish influence, which has now receded. Gresset and Voiture are the chief poets Picardy has to show, patient artisans of language, whose work reminds us, it has been said, of the skillful and delicate handicrafts of Picardy and Artois. In recent times, Bourget was born at Amiens. It seems to me, on the whole, that the artistic impulse in this region is due chiefly to the Flemings. In the Middle Ages, all Artois and half Picardy up to Amiens, perhaps to Abbeville, were Fleming. In the seventeenth century, according to Reclus, the Flemish zone still reached Boulogne, and north of a line from Boulogne to Saint-Omer this Teutonic speech was general. Arras still has the characters of a Flemish town.

The people of French Flanders are a brave, industrious, and independent race, more sociable than the Picards. A tall, full-bodied, fair race, —as they were long ago described, and as they remain to-day, —they are fond of good cheer, and are the chief beer-drinkers in France. Soon angry, they are soon appeased ; easily won by gentleness, they have never yielded to force. The women are beautiful, with more esprit than the men, enjoying the same freedom as the men, and with all the Flemish passion for cleanliness. It is noteworthy that Flanders has produced more distinguished women than any other part of France. Marceline Desbordes - Valmore, the poet, whose reputation is still growing, came from here ; so did Madame Bourignon, a mystic of the finest temper, as well as several actresses whose fame still lives, including Clairon ; Madame Adam, also, who has for many years been the most conspicuous woman in France, belongs to Picardy. This race has strong artistic aptitudes both for poetry and design. During four centuries these northern provinces of France, together with Belgium, were the field in which modern music developed. The most celebrated trouvères of the Middle Ages also belonged to this country, and a rich harvest of ancient popular melodies, sacred and profane being here closely allied, has been found. In old times the Flemish weaver used to accompany his solitary task with a song, often plaintive in character; today, in no part of France are choral societies and concerts of all kinds so popular. There is also a great love of piclures in Flanders. Picture galleries are numerous, and Baudrillart assures us that an innate love for drawing and color is frequently found among the young peasants ; this quality has often been displayed in the delicate fabrics of Flanders. The Fleming or Belgic race which possesses this quality has produced a group of the greatest masters of subtle and delicate art which France can show. Froissart, who chronicled mediæval chivalry so delightfully, was a native of Valenciennes, while Monstrelet belonged to Cambrai, not far off. John of Bologna, the sculptor, belonged to Douai. Watteau, the chief representative of the Belgic spirit in painting, belonged to Valenciennes, and J. B. Pater was born close by. Racine came from over the border in the Isle of France ; La Fontaine, who was born still farther south, is perhaps related to the group ; while Coppée belongs to a Walloon family who came from Mons over the Belgian frontier, and Félicien Rops, one of the most original of modern artists, is also Belgian, and spiritually allied to the same group. The chief recent representative of the group is Verlaine (" espèce de mauvais Racine,” as he has called himself), who belongs to Arras by his mother, to the forests of Ardennes by his father, whose name is that of a Belgian town not far over the frontier. It seems, to me at least, that this group possesses a peculiarly distinctive individuality as a group. Their art is not robust, not usually profuse or expansive, but it is never weak or insincere ; it, is singularly free from any mixture of base artistic alloy. It is the art of a race of weavers and musicians, seeking more or less unconsciously to express their racial traditions. Both Watteau and Verlaine, the most typical men of their tribe, seem to have been haunted by some ideal of musical harmony. Nuance is their chief canon of technique, and Verlaine’s L’Art Poétique sets forth the real aspirations of the whole group. At the same time, we feel that this exquisite art is a flower that has coarse roots deep down in the exuberant energy of a rough and vigorous race. We are reminded sometimes of the savagery that has been seen in Picardy, and the terrible gayety of Rubens’s Kermesse. All such delicate flowers of art, vital enough to live, have roots below that are coarse enough.

As we leave Flanders we come down the eastern side of France, where we find at least three main groups of names on the map in Lorraine, in Burgundy, and in Dauphiny. Here we find a different race, a large, fair people, though less fair than the men of the northern coast, in many respects Teutonic. They also differ from the people of the west of France in traditions. Thus, while the Aguilaneuf fête, that of the winter solstice, between Christmas and Epiphany, is celebrated chiefly in the western provinces from Normandy to Gascony, in the east May Day is the most solemn festival. This fair race came into France by the valley of the Moselle, leaving a much darker race in the north of Lorraine (protected from invasion by the Ardennes), spreading out in Champagne, and mingling with the fair people of Flanders near the eastern frontier. The Alsatians are a thoroughly mixed race, now practically homogeneous. The undoubtedly large Germanic element in the mixture is perhaps well indicated by the fact that the national dance of Alsace is the waltz, which could scarcely take popular root in a less Teutonic region. The people or Lorraine are also mixed, though less thoroughly. As Collignon has shown, they are tall and fair like their eastern neighbors, broad-headed like their western neighbors. The tallest Frenchmen come from the highlands of the Jura at the south of Lorraine. These eastern people generally are a solid, deliberate race, fond of work, and very tenacious of their freedom ; they succeeded in preserving their autonomy until a much later date than the people in any other part of France. The free com - munities o£ the Jura energetically resisted the armies of Louis XIV. ; FrancheComté became really French only at the Revolution. We do not find that violent political revolutionaries come from this part of France (although some extreme idealistic social revolutionaries), but rather the men of sturdy republican principle, not apt for mere revolt. The main character of the Lorraine genius, as one contemplates the map, seems to be a certain pure idealism, little touched by that earthiness which often gives sanity, and sometimes a certain coarseness of fibre, to the French genius. It is not the concrete poetic idealism of the melancholy seafaring Bretons, but the more abstract idealism of an independent mountaindwelling people, and it is sometimes combined with mathematical ability. Joan of Arc is the typical heroine of Lorraine ; and in modern days, Louise Michel, another notable woman of Lorraine, represents something of the same spirit. The names of Proudhon and Fourier are to be seen a little to the south in FrancheComté. Joinville, the biographer of St. Louis, as has lately been pointed out, had not a little in common with Joan, who was born in his domain, and like her he had fallen under the influence of Franciscan mysticism, which had then lately reached France. The chief artists of Lorraine — Claude Lorraine, Callot, and Bastien Lepage — show much of the same spirit. Victor Hugo, on his father’s side, sprang from peasants in the Vosges, thus combining the two most idealistic races in France. The Goncourts also come largely from this part of France. Theuriet, among recent writers, represents much of the spirit of his native Lorraine. My map shows few soldiers or men of science in Lorraine ; the idealists, painters, and poets rule undisturbed. But men of science abound in Burgundy, a little farther south.

The German Burgunds, in spite of their height and strength, were distinguished from the Franks by their relative mildness ; in Burgundy, however, we find a small, dark, lively, round-headed race as well as the fair and tall people, and it is doubtless to the mixture of the two that the fine qualities of the Burgundian genius are due. There is a breadth and many - sided exuberance in the Burgundian genius, a generosity of power which some enthusiasts like Stendhal have not hesitated to attribute to the generosity of the native wines. In literature the Burgundian possesses a certain majestic eloquence tinctured with moral fervor, which I find to be peculiar to his province. St. Bernard and Diderot, Bossuet and Buffon, are the four great spiritual pillars of Burgundy. Lacordaire came from here. Lamartine, statesman and poet, who occupies an epoch-marking place in the evolution of modern French literature, is a characteristic example of the passion, exuberance, and versatility of the Burgundian genius. Edgar Quinet came from the southern part of the province (Bresse), which has an individuality of its own, a certain melancholy and intensity, a strong love of nature. Desperiers, the audacious author of the Cymbalum Mundi, was a Burgundian, as were Piron and Crébillon. Burgundy, like Lorraine, shows well in the arts; Rameau, Greuze, Prud’hon, Rude, and Courbet (over the western border) are among the names to be seen in this district. The neighborhood is especially rich in great scientific men. They include Monge, De Brosses, Buffon, Diderot, Lalande, Bichat, Pasteur just over the Franche-Comté frontier, Cuvier a little further east still, Paul Bert just over the Berri frontier. South of Burgundy lies Lyons, a city which stands at the junction of too many roads to be considered profitably from the present point of view ; but Lyons has produced at least three great scientific men — Jussieu, Ampère, Claude Bernard — who seem to belong to the same group. On the whole, there is a fine solidity about the Burgundian spirit; it is sound and juicy to the core. Very independent, these men have rarely run to insane eccentricity or excess. Even in their physical aspect, as we see them in their portraits, there is a certain nobility, though they have often sprung from the peasant class, for Franche-Comté and the neighboring regions have always been practically democratic. Moreover, Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, never a very large town, was in its best days intellectually selfcentred, not waiting to take its fashions from Paris, and no French provincial city has produced so large a crop of genius.

In Dauphiny we find a peculiarly vigorous and sturdy race of men, differing in many respects, as all observers agree, from neighboring races. They are robust in physique, in character, and in intellect, a cautious, inquiring, energetic, stubborn race, — the Scotchmen of France. “ Prudence and energy,” said Berlioz, a true Dauphiny man, “ those are the only means of success in the world.” These men are tenacious of their freedom, — the great Revolution began in Dauphiny, — but petty revolts are rare. At a very early period Protestantism took root in Dauphiny, and the tendency has persisted to the present day. It is a mountainous district, once inhabited by Cæsar’s Allobrogi, but, unlike most mountainous districts, it has been a great meeting-ground for the mingling of races, and many armies have passed through it. Romans, Burgundians, Lombards, and Saracens have all left their marks here. On glancing at the map, one is struck by the number of great soldiers produced by Dauphiny : Lesdiguières, Barnave, Mounet, come from here, and at the head of them stands Bayard, the type of all knightly perfection. The philosophers, however, are hardly less numerous : Condillac and Mably are found here ; Condorcet was at least half Dauphinois, as was D’Alembert by his mother. Observation and keen analytical power mark the Dauphiny spirit, as well as tenacity and practical common sense. It is scarcely an accident that Champollion, the man who found the key to the mysteries of Egypt, came from here. Vaucanson, the mechanician, and Dolomieu, the geologist, are also seen. Farel, the practical-minded reformer, belongs to this region. Berlioz, the greatest of French composers, was a thorough Dauphinois; the family can be traced back for at least six hundred years. Stendhal is the chief literary representative of a race not greatly enamored of literature for its own sake. An acute observer, with a close analytic grip of life, Stendhal was also a soldier, and his racial instincts made him prefer action to art, so that at last his contempt of his own literary activity became a mere pose. The Perier family of merchants and statesmen illustrates the Dauphiny character on its practical, sagacious side; to-day this family has shown the continued vigor of its stock by furnishing France with a “ strong ” president. The inhabitants of Dauphiny are a vigorous blend of men, remarkably uniform in their psychic characters, though less so in their physical characters. That they win us by their charm can hardly be said, but they hold us by their strength.

Geographically, we have only to cross the Dauphiny border to reach Provence, but from the present point of view it is a far journey. Here we enter the old Ligurian country, and for the first time we meet a thoroughly southern darkhaired and dark - eyed race, a slender, supple, long-headed race, with a suggestion of the Arab about them. We realize that we are approaching North Africa, and that for a long time the Saracens had their strongholds here. The race is as distinct on the psychic side, mobile and emotional, energetic talkers, but inclined to languor, possessing facile æsthetic perceptions, and reminding us somewhat of the Andalusians, who also have the Moorish strain. When we compare them with the robust peoples of eastern and northern France they strike us as feminine, though sufficiently charming in their femininity. Marseilles is more picturesque and alive than any other large French city; there is a touch of Naples about it. In London, Paris, and other great European cities one is always conscious of a vast rumble of wheels, as it were the roar of a huge engine - house. In Marseilles the human tongue seems to dominate every other sound; one hears the everlasting roar of voices. It is what in France they call “meridional vivacity.” Such is the impression which Provence makes on the visitor. A glance at my map confirms, on the whole, this impression. No great revolutions have appeared in southern France, except Protestant movements which belong particularly to Languedoc, but nowhere else is the vox populi so loudly heard. Provence is especially a land of orators, although some of the greatest names are not entirely native. It seems scarcely an accident that Gambetta was born and bred in Provence ; Mirabeau came from here, though his mother was born farther north, and far back he belonged to a Florentine family ; Massillon was a Provençal. Great names are not very numerous in Provence. Many men of ability in art or literature have come of late from Provence and the south generally, to a greater extent, seemingly, than from any other part of France, — literary men from Nismes, sculptors from Aix, painters from Toulouse, — but they seldom reach the highest rank, though their work is often charming and interesting, their personalities remarkable. Puget and Daumier, two notable names, may be seen at Marseilles. A much more eminent band of painters, with Puvis de Chavannes at their head, have come from Lyons and its neighborhood, farther north. There seems to be in Provence a high general level of intelligence and capacity, belonging to an old and heterogeneous race living beneath a genial sky, but little aptitude for great initiative or achievement. It is noteworthy that in Provence, during recent years, there has been a genuine re-birth of the popular dialect. Roumanille, Mistral, and Aubanel, the leaders of this movement on the literary side, have attained a reputation which is far from undeserved. Gautier, who belonged to Avignon, though born near the Pyrenees, is the most perfect literary craftsman of Provence; Armand Silvestre, his comrade in race and craft, may also be mentioned, and Sardou is half a Provençal. Daudet, however, who belongs to Nismes, is the truest representative of the literary spirit of the south, with all its fine qualities and its limitations. A man of charming and accomplished talent, very facile and receptive, without any true originality, his touch on every subject is inevitably artistic and adroit; and in his study of Numa Roumestan and in the delineation of the humors of Tartarin he has felicitously embodied the Provençal spirit. There are, however, some names on the map which may surprise the casual visitor to Provence. The Greeks obtained a footing here, and Marseilles was a Greek colony. It seems reasonable to lay to Greek influence a marked tendency in the Provençal to philosophize. Gassendi, a thinker whose broad and sane outlook on human life won Molière’s adherence, came from here. So, too, at the present day, does Renouvier. Vauvenargues, the ethical epigrammatist, who possessed the Greek spirit in a high degree, belonged to Provence. De Vogüé, whom we have so often heard of lately as the accomplished literary leader of a Neo-Catholic movement, is a Provençal who is at the same time the son of an English mother. In this region, also, particularly in Languedoc, we have a very serious, even sombre Protestant spirit, of which, in the present century, Guizot has been perhaps the most conspicuous representative. We have to recognize here an old Ostrogothic element, and in Hérault, Aveyron, Lozère, and among the Cévennes in the midst of Languedoc the people become fairer, more especially as regards the lighter color of the eyes. Catholic and Protestant fought here with a ferocity which seems less explicable than the rather similar fanaticism aroused by Orange movements in Ulster.

As we move westward and northward in Languedoc the Protestant influence becomes more conspicuous on the map, while taking on a more free-thinking character. At the same time the dark Ligurian race mingles with another rathier less dark race coming from the Pyrenees ; distinctly darker, however, than the Protestants of central Languedoc. We now enter the large Aquitanian region. On Topinard’s ethnical map, according to color of hair and eyes, this region is very clearly bounded : it occupies the whole southwestern corner of France, including all Gascony and parts of Guienne and Languedoc. The Garonne separates it from the home of the fairer race to the northward. It is evident that, as Topinard points out, this dark race came from Spain, partly by the pass of Cap Cerbère, chiefly by San Sebastian, and that they were stopped by the Garonne, perhaps also by Protestant and English influence at Rochelle and in Saintonge. Strabo noted that the Aquitanians were more like the Iberians than the Gauls, both in body and speech ; and there can be little doubt that the intercourse between Spain and Aquitaine continued to a late date. We learn from the Gascon Rolls of the fourteenth century that the mountaineers of Navarre sent their flocks to the landes of Bordeaux. On my map there is a well-distributed mass of genius corresponding very closely with this dark race, except that a band, fifty miles broad, north of the Pyrenees, where the population is scanty, is bare of genius, and that the men of genius have to some extent crossed the Garonne at one point in Guienne and reached Périgord. As one reads the names on the map, one quickly gains the conviction that the psychic characters of the Aquitanian race are fully as characteristic as its anthropological characters. There is a certain tendency to braggadocio among these people, we are always told; but these braggarts are simply a free-spoken people whose deeds come up to their words. The Gascons have always been a brave and martial race. To a larger extent than any other part of Franee they have produced great soldiers, — Lannes, Soult, Murat, Bernadotte, etc. There is a touch of the trooper’s license and audacity in the Aquitanian spirit generally, a swashbucklering which is rendered very charming, however, by the penetrating intellectuality of the race, their singular sincerity and humanity, and their instinct in literature for racy style. Montaigne, Montesquieu, and Broca perhaps stand out as the typical representatives of the race; all inquisitive, audacious, wide-ranging spirits, and as charitable and charming as they were inquisitive. Nor do they stand alone. Palissy, the potter, who was so much beside a potter, is another characteristic representative of the country ; Bayle, the encyclopædic free-thinker, came from here, with Fermat, the mathematician, and Agrippa d’Aubigné, as well as Gratiolet and Dupuytren, for it is a country of great surgeons as well as of great soldiers. On the purely literary side, the qualities of the race have found expression, sometimes rather riskily, not only in Montaigne, but in Brantôme, La Calprenède, and, more recently, Cladel. There are also two names of the first rank which probably ought to be mentioned here, although both on the map and in temperament they stand outside the group: Balzac (with a Parisian mother) is found a little to westward in Languedoc, and the turbulent temper of his work doubtless belongs to Languedoc; Voltaire came from an otherwise barren region northward in Poitou, where the Aquitanian spirit is chastened by northern influences. The Reclus family, of whom Elisée, and to a less extent Élie, are best known, are characteristic representatives of this district; they belong to Périgord and the Gironde. Their father (as has happened with many of the eminent free-thinkers of this region) was a devout Protestant minister, and he gave Biblical names to a large family of sons who have shown eminent intellectual ability, especially in scientific research, an instinctive faculty for literary style, very bold and uncompromising social opinions, together with perfect equanimity in accepting the penalties attached to such opinions. The saintliness of these Aquitanians equals their martial and literary audacity. Without disparagement to the fiery idealists of Brittany or the stern fanatics of Picardy, it must be said that the most perfect saints France has produced—Fénelon and Vincent de Paul — came from this region, while Francis Xavier was horn just over the Spanish border, and was educated in France. I cannot help thinking that the Aquitanian temper generally, as well as the dialect and physical characters, is related to Spain, where we often find the same charmingly mingled audacity, saintliness, and humanity. The Aquitanian, however, has been more fortunate than the Spaniard, on whom the heavy hand of Castile and the Inquisition has been laid with such fatal effect. Stendhal, without reference to this point, somewhere remarks that the Gascon can read Don Quixote sympathetically, while a Norman would see in it only a few judicious remarks by Sancho Panza. The Gascon, too, like the Spaniard, has always been rich in those fine spiritual possessions which are called O#x8220; castles in the air.”

We have now briefly examined all the chief clusters of names to be seen on the map. There are various interesting points which the map suggests for discussion, but these must be left. It would, for instance, be instructive to inquire to what causes the barrenness of the central part of France is due ; how far it is owing simply to scantier population; and whether, so far as genius is concerned, the racial soil has been exhausted ; for it is remarkable that the few great names that are found in the centre of France all belong to an early period.

The genius of France, when we analyze it, breaks up into the widely different genius of the various regions — often corresponding to the old provinces — of which France is made up. As we watch the process, we realize that nationality, in its merely political and military sense, is a very unstable and fleeting thing. A country like France is a collection of smaller countries, and includes the most widely diverse races. Just as unification has gone on in the past by conquest, so we may expect it will continue in the future by federation, producing at last a huge, loosely connected political unity. But a large superficial unity does not tend to obliterate easily the real racial distinctions. Brittany and Normandy have long formed part of France, but their psychic individualities remain. Political boundaries are shifting and unimportant; the influence of race is fundamental. This influence has remained much the same, although England and Germany have ruled for centuries over various provinces of France. And just as race is little affected by merely political influences, so it remains uninfluenced by the various waves of opinion — Catholic, Protestant, and free-thinking — which pass over it. A man’s character is part of his racial heredity, and is his most aboriginal possession.

Havelock Ellis.