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mined aim, he found means to subordinate, and even to make a use of, tastes which at one moment had appeared to menace his career. Zoroaster lived to profit by the flitting infidelities of his prophet. But for his love of English, where were the admirable style of the Oxford “Vendidad,” where the completeness and sincerity of those "Indian Letters," out of which was to spring the “Essay on the Afghan Tongue ?”
And so James renounced the idea, once cherished, of re-forging for a newer generation the colossal work of Monsieur Taine. A dozen essays, a little book on Shakespeare, an edition of "Childe Harold," another of "Macbeth”--these, with the exception of these few following pages, are all that he had time to glean from English fields. But, in his leisure hours, he ever loved to listen to the echo of his dearest thoughts in any kindred English soul. Thus he observed the posthumous adventures of Joan of Arc in England. Thus he noted the reflection of the French Revolution as mirrored in the mind of Wordsworth. Such were the recreations of his delicate spirit. But his study of George Eliot was more than a recreation--it was a profession of faith.
For to James, born in 1849, George Eliot was all that Tolstoï is to the children of the Sixties, all that Nietzsche threatens to become to a younger generation : that is to say, less a great writer than a moral symbol, of which the name is no longer a mere proper noun, but, writ in shorthand, a whole theory of altruism, pity or revolt. All that my husband's soul contained of infinite and tender commiseration for human sorrow; all his faith in duty and self-sacrifice ; all that sway which the idea of Law exercised over his philosophic mind; no less than his conviction that our world is slowly moving towards some diviner destiny, wherein a new race shall really live at last ; this, and the very temper of his mind, his large and gentle indulgence for others, his uncomplaining patient dignity, his desire for a personal code of ethics (une morale à moi), his dream of a new religion to be engendered by the fusion of Faith and Science-all these qualities of his, and all these convictions, were included in his devotion to George Eliot.
Add to the whole his chivalry towards women. A woman to him was ever a thing for mystery and worship. Like Tacitus'
Germans, he prized a woman chiefly for what she ventured and what she knew how to suffer; and George Eliot had dared and suffered “aboon the lave.” So it came to pass that her genius, her theory of life, and even her individual experience, combined to make this woman, whom he had never seen, a sort of symbol to my husband of the ten-years’-long growth and movement of his own mind.
Thus by intuition, by reflection, by the love of books and the knowledge of men and women, this Frenchman penetrated the secret of the English soul. But if, as I have said, his knowledge of England began from within, he did not on that account neglect the vast and imposing externals of the British Empire. He saw the nobler aspects of her just but loveless rule. He admired that iron yoke imposed with an impersonal equity upon incalculable races and innumerable religions. The peace of the British Colonies appeared to him rigid and grandiose as ever was the Roman Peace. Yet, if he hailed the rectitude of the strong, his tenderer sympathies were evoked by the ineffectual rebellion of the weak. His heart beat for the Celt in Ireland, for the Indian in India, and all the more warmly because he saw the uselessness of an effort condemned to miss its aim for ever. He pitied the bare breast so vainly, so courageously, opposed to the keen edge of the naked sword. And, while he pitied, he saw the superiority of the English, tyrannical and intolerant though they be ; he said that their inflexible rule was none the less a liberal education for those who obey them ; he recognised that the Fenian conspiring against the Sassenach, and the Bengalee Baboo suffering with a servile smile the inept disdain of the British Civil Servant, are, in spite of all their grievances, enviable and even happy compared with that which they would become, if freed from the constraint which maintains them in the way of progress.
It was in an hour of melancholy--of deepest, heaviest melancholy, despite the most brilliant exterior success--that James Darmesteter made up his mind to spend a year in India, in order to learn the last traditions of the Avesta among the Parsees of Bombay ; and, having gathered these, to pursue upon the north-west frontier his investigation into the language and literature of the Afghan tribes. The effort was great,
his health of the frailest ; but he was out of love with life, and hoped to render one last service to Science, and then to shuffle off this mortal coil. But, as it turned out, this journey undertaken in such sore depression of spirits, was to be one of the rare and dear delights which brightened up his brief existence. Something of the magic and the miracle, something of the sheer delight and amazement of this voyage into the Silver Land of Indian Nights, lingers still in the enchanted pages of the “Lettres sur l'Inde.” Everywhere he met with the kindest, the most hospitable, reception. At Bombay he stayed with the governor, Lord Reay; the officers of Abbottabad made him a fellow of their mess; the learned mobeds of Bombay welcomed him as a brother in Zoroaster; and the most distinguished mendicants of the Fair of Peshawur treated him as a member of their rambling Academy of Afghan Letters. He liked, admired, and understood all this variegated universe of India. And I know not if he were more at home in the salons of Government House, or in the prison where some poet in tatters, taken more or less red-handed, would sing him some villainous, incendiary Poushtou ballad. The Moonshis of Abbottabad, as they watched him come and go, so light and quiet on his sedate old pony, used to call him
Chota Padre Sahib”: the little Clergyman. But where is the missionary who possesses his magic key for opening the heart and secret of another race ?
'Twas in his Peshawur garden that he chanced to read one day—in the long lazy Indian afternoon—the Italian Garden' of Miss Mary Robinson. He said to himself that, on his return from India, he would make the acquaintance of the writer. It is easy to understand how often I have paused and wondered whether or no I should include in this last sheaf of his "English Studies” the essay which prefixed his subsequent translation of my verses. That essay is far less the opinion of a critic, than the ardent expression of a personal sympathy. But all the more for that, perchance, it is one of the most spontaneous and individual pages in this last little garner of relics. The publishing of these fresh emotional pages is at least an indiscretion; but to keep them back, to confiscate them, seems to me almost a breach of trust. So let them stand
among the others; a few lyric lines of kindness and fellowfeeling rather than of criticism.
The Indian year went by and waned : spring in Bombay, summer in Peshawur, midsummer and autumn on the Himalayan spurs, and then again a winter in Bombay. At last comes the time for turning home : “Adieu, l'Inde aux nuits d'argent." The College of France, the publishing of his researches, recalled the wanderer to Paris. But, back at home, he never lost sight of his Indian friends. A little later, our square white salon of the Rue Bara was to grow familiar with the dusky Indian faces. Ah, kind, grave, charming apparitions ! How can I forget the Arch-priest Jivanjee Modi, whose aler and curious mind moved so nimbly beneath the rigid formula of his antique belief ? The venerable Tahmuras was only known to me by correspondence. But, if I forget the name, my fancy still evokes the face—the brown, eager face-of a certain Gujerati St. Francis despatched to the Paris Exhibition of 1889 by a section of the Brahmo Somaj. He spoke no modern tongue save Gujerati, sprinkled with some half-dozen words of English ; this sufficed for interminable conversations with my husband (each shouting louder than the other in the difficult parts), but I was necessarily somewhat out of court. We could only exchange the simplest ideas. “You must find everything very dear in Paris ?" I said one day.
"Oh no,” replied the sage. “Two sous of bread, three sous of milk, and that's enough.” And he re-opened the floodgates of his illimitable Gujerati. I wonder, has he ever published his book ? He was writing (this Aryan ascetic) a volume on the progress of civilisation in France, profusely-and most diversely !-illustrated by photographs picked up under the arcades of the Rue de Rivoli. It was a quaint conception.
Of all these friends from over seas, the dearest to my husband was Bahramjee Malabari.
Many English readers will doubtless know, otherwise than by my husband's notice, that warm and apostolic soul, that subtle, brilliant mind, prophet and pressman : an impossible combination, but it exists in Malabari ! James did not live to add his remarks on his friend Bahramjee's latest book,“The Indian Eye on English Life," and
perhaps I alone know how greatly he admired its large liberty of outlook and the easy dignity of its expression-only I and Mr. Malabari himself. For life afforded the two friends, separated by more than half a world, one last day together. In the end of September, 1894, Mr. Malabari was in Paris, too ill to come to us in our summer home in Seine-et-Oise, but eager for a long conversation with my husband.
James, who never gave a thought to his own fragile health, sped up to Paris and spent the day with his old friend. “Never did two people say more in a single afternoon,” he laughed to me on his return ; and all that evening was bright with reminiscences, with the plans, and the projects of Bahramjee Malabari. Meanwhile, the Indian pursued his homeward way. Arrived at Bombay, a few days after the 19th October, he learned at the landing stage the news of my husband's sudden death. Ah, how should I forget the explosion of pity, of regret, of admiration which that cruel news aroused in the heart of India! There was not, I think, a single Parsee of any standing but signified his affection, his respect, towards the memory of James.
"What shall we do for him ?” they wrote to ask me. And I fancied they might give his name to the precincts of some Zoroastrian Temple. But Mr. Malabari, ever generous, has found a better way.
Thanks to his efforts, the Bombay University, of which my husband was a fellow, is about to found a scholarship for Zoroastrian research, which will bear the name of James Darmesteter. And so the sound of that dear name --with Burnouf's and Anquetil Duperron's-will hover still above the flower-decked altars of Fort and Colaba. And, for a long time yet, beside the shores of the Indian Ocean, men will recall the deep learning, the ardent gentle heart, the fragile person, the dignified and loving manners, and all the exquisite simplicity of him whom in Bombay they used to call “our French Dastoor."
MARY JAMES DARMESTETER.