Page:Pierre and Jean - Clara Bell - 1902.djvu/24

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Guy de Maupassant

"objective," founded on the nicest observation and saturated with local feeling. Their rigid truth is that of an affidavit; there is no extenuation and no malice; the shrewdness, the parsimony, the sordid brutality, the simplicity, the faithful devotion of his different types are recorded with unsparing frankness, and without the slightest attempt to point a moral. Such portraits as those of the adopted son in Aux Champs, of the supplanted child in Le Père Amable, of Hautôt Père et Fils, stick closely to the memory. The story of the Fille de Ferme is not unworthy of Turgenev. Such studies of manners as Farce Normande, Le Baptême, and the very characteristic La Martine speak for themselves with their spacious breeziness, and their fidelity to fact, which, like that of the great Russian novelists, convinces those who have no means of testing it. It is a great merit, too (would that some of our writers on mœurs de province could claim it!), that the dialect, depending largely on astounding elisions, is neither so frequent nor so obscure as to puzzle or distract the reader. The following excerpt from La Martine is typical. It describes the awakening of a rustic lover. Benoist had known La Martine all his life, but only realized her charms one Sunday morning, walking home from church.