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to the purely literary side of modern language teaching, and that there is need of text-books prepared with this object in view.

This volume is offered as a slight contribution toward that end.

In the preparation of the book I have been under constant obligations to Professor A. N. van Daell for advice and suggestion, and I take pleasure in expressing thus publicly my earnest thanks for his invaluable assistance. I would likewise express my thanks to Mr. F. W. Nicolson, of Wesleyan University, who has kindly looked over the proofs with me and offered many suggestions.



November 7, 1894.


In the heart of the Latin Quarter at Paris, a stone's throw from the Collège de France, there still stands one of the most picturesque buildings of the Middle Ages, the Hôtel de Cluny, built above some old Roman baths, and containing an interesting collection of various antiquities. Close by this building, in the Rue des Noyers, number 33, was born, December 11, 1810, Louis Charles Alfred de Musset.

Young Alfred received an excellent education. When nine years old he was sent to the Lycée Henri IV as an externe. The first visit to school was full of disaster. His long curls and white collar were received with hoots and jeers on the part of the boys, and Alfred came home in tears. He easily rose to first place, and was so ambitious that if he failed to reach the seat of honor he cried. This superiority in one who was the smallest in the class did not please the other boys, and they took their revenge in a cowardly manner. Every day he had to run the gauntlet on leaving school, and reached the servant, sent to bring him home, with torn clothes and bleeding face. This lasted until one day his friend, Léon Gobert, put a stop to it by threatening to thrash any one who should thereafter torment Alfred.

Musset took many prizes in school, and was looked upon as one of the brightest scholars. As he grew older, he ever, he followed no special plan of study, and tried on.

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after another. He read foreign authors, studied law, drawing, and even medicine, — soon becoming disgusted with the latter. Once, in despair at his own changeableness, he burst out, "I shall never be good for anything."

In 1828 the family went to live in Auteuil, a suburb of Paris. One day Alfred took a walk in the Bois de Boulogne with a volume of André Chénier in his hand. He returned later than usual. Under the charm of Chénier's elegiac poetry, he had been led to woo the Muses himself. With the exception of a song made for his mother when he was fourteen years old, this is the first fruits of his poetic genius :

" Il vint sous les figuiers une vierge d'Athènes,
Douce et blanche, puiser l'eau pure des fontaines,
De marbre pour les bras, d'ébène pour les yeux,”

and so on for a hundred lines, describing a scene of early, pastoral love,

* Fresh with the youth of the world and recalling Rebecca and Isaac.”

His second trial in literature was entirely in the Romantic vein. He had already been introduced by Paul Foucher to Victor Hugo, who was chief of the literary coterie called the Cénacle, and Victor Hugo, in his turn, introduced him to de Vigny, Mérimée, Sainte-Beuve, and others.

Alfred was at first filled with enthusiasm for the new school. He used to accompany his friends in their trips to watch the sunset, and to look down upon the great city from the towers of Notre Dame. After one of these meetings, while walking in the Bois de Boulogne, he began to compose a ballad and a small drama, the scene of which was laid in Spain. This latter work, which he afterward burnt, is said to have shown, to a marked degree, the strong influence exerted over the young poet by Victor Hugo.

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