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Comedy, tragicomedy, and humour in the novels of Sara Jeannette Duncan Hughes, Susan Elizabeth Simpson 1973

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COMEDY, TRAGICOMEDY, AND HUMOUR IN THE NOVELS OF SARA JEANNETTE DUNCAN by SUSAN ELIZABETH SIMPSON HUGHES B, A., University of Western Ontario, 1967 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of English We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1973 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission fo r extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s representatives. It i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of English The University of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date A p r i l 20. 1973. i ABSTRACT In Chapter I, I i d e n t i f y a comic v i s i o n which i s at the core of Miss Duncan's a r t . The comic v i s i o n i s characterized by an i n t u i t i v e sense of a c t u a l i t y and i l l u s i o n , and an exuberant joy for l i f e ; i t s medium i s s o c i a l r e a l i t y . The comic v i s i o n coupled with an i n t e r n a l point of view culminates i n tragicomedy. With an external point of view Miss Duncan's empathy for her characters commonly asserts i t s e l f and turns comedy i n t o humour. In Chapter I I , I demonstrate that the intent of Miss Duncan's purely comic sketches i s primarily s o c i a l correction. Miss Duncan believes that i d e a l l y a l l human endeavours, including s o c i a l behaviour, should be based upon s e l f -knowledge and self-acceptance. When human a c t i v i t y lacks these virtues, a r t i f i c i a l conventions emerge. In s o c i a l l i f e those who imitate these conventions, and those who revolt against them, constitute the unattractive bourgeoisie. In Chapter I I I , I have explored the r o l e of emotions i n comedy. As Miss Duncan r e a l i z e d , man i s attracted to the suppleness of successful comic characters; our natural predilection i s for the v i t a l , and our i n t e l l e c t constantly seeks to impose morality on t h i s primitive emotion. The i i e s s ential d i s p a r i t y between tragicomedy and humour l i e s i n the cosmological p r i n c i p l e of the humourist which allows him to see l i f e and death i n a universal scheme. Miss Duncan i s most properly a humourist who celebrates the grandeur of the human s p i r i t that s t r i v e s towards i d e a l s , and l i v e s amidst r e a l i t i e s . i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT i CHAPTER I: THE COMIC VISION 1 CHAPTER I I : THE COMIC INTENT 32 CHAPTER I I I : TRAGICOMEDY AND HUMOUR 70 FOOTNOTES 109 BIBLIOGRAPHY 1 1 4 CHAPTER I THE COMIC VISION Sara Jeannette Duncan spent her l i t e r a r y adolescence as a capable and highly popular j o u r n a l i s t for various Canadian and American publications. One of her f i r s t n o vels—A S o c i a l Departure 0893)—emerged from a series of a r t i c l e s she wrote on a t r i p around the world for the Montreal Star and the New York World. While the varying functions of a j o u r n a l i s t doubtless l e f t an i n t r i c a t e mark upon Miss Duncan's form and s t y l e of writing, c e r t a i n l y the d i r e c t i o n these early endeavours provided for her a r t i s t i c expression can be confidently l a b e l l e d as human-i s t i c . Moreover, t h i s early t r a i n i n g developed i n her a " g i f t e d personality with the power to turn a d u l l world gay," and a faculty "to reveal hidden wealth of meaning 2 i n what may have seemed a commonplace incident." A l l of these a b i l i t i e s are basic to a comic v i s i o n which i s at the heart of Miss Duncan's l i t e r a r y achievement. A l l comic art contains a c o n f l i c t obtained by p i t t i n g a concept of a c t u a l i t y against a notion of i l l u s i o n . Miss 2 Duncan regularly employs the dichotomy of a c t u a l i t y and i l l u s i o n i n one of her early novels, A Daughter of To-Day C18 9 4 )* Through t h i s dichotomy she defines the natural world of her successful characters, as opposed to the s t i l t e d sphere of that which i s contrived and a r t i f i c i a l , A Daughter of To-Day ( 1 8 9 * * ) i s a study of E l f r i d a B e l l , an advanced young lady from Sparta, I l l i n o i s , who nurtures peculiar a r t i s t i c pretensions: E l f r i d a allowed one extenuating point i n her indictment of Sparta: the place had produced her as she was at eighteen, when they sent her to Philadelphia..,. Her actual and her i d e a l s e l f , her most mysterious and i n t e r e s t i n g s e l f , had originated i n the a i r and the opportunities of Sparta, Sparta had even done her the service of showing her that she was unusual, by contrast, and E l f r i d a f e l t that she ought to be thankful to somebody or some-thing for being as unusual as she was. She had had a comfortable, spoiled f e e l i n g of gratitude for i t before she went to Philadelphia, which had developed i n the meantime i n t o a shudder at the mere thought of what i t meant to be an ordinary person, "I could bear not to be charming," sai d she' sometimes to her Philadelphia looking-glass, "but I could not bear not to be clever."3 E l f r i d a ' s complex personality has been formed p a r t i a l l y on her abhorrence of Sparta, and the banal l i f e with which she equates Sparta. Her distaste for her immediate environment has forced her to develop inwardly where she has found i n the i l l u s i o n of herself as an a r t i s t of some d i s t i n c t i o n , a r e a l person and a r e a l l i f e which 3 she can t o l e r a t e . L i v i n g her fantasy makes her unlike the people of Sparta. To the extent that she believes herself to be a unique i n d i v i d u a l , she becomes one. As a consequence, E l f r i d a enrols i n art school i n Paris where l i f e becomes more disconcerting: She had not yet seen despair, but she had now and then l o s t her hold of herself, and she had made acquain-tance with fear....In waking, volun-tary moments she would see her problem only as an unanswerable enigma, (p. 3 0 ) E l f r i d a ' s fabrications have given her a r t i s t i c hopes she cannot r e a l i z e . S t i l l , E l f r i d a has not progressed to t h i s point without some dexterity: i n the beginning she had f e l t a splendid confidence. Her appropri-ation of theory had been so b r i l l i a n t , and so rapid, her i n s t r u c t i v e appre-c i a t i o n had helped i t s e l f out so well with the casual formulas of the schools, she seemed herself to have an absolute understanding of expression. She held her s o c i a l place among the others by her power of perception, and that, with the completeness of her repudiation of the bourgeois had given her Nadie Palicsky, whom the rest found d i f f i c u l t , variable, unreasonable, (p. 3 0 ) E l f r i d a ' s talent and her taste i s for the veneer. She i s a d i l e t t a n t e , both i n art and friendship, who possesses an i n t r i c a t e system of knowledge and predilection for that which i s not commonplace. E l f r i d a i s dedicated to conscious ^ c o n v e n t i o n a l i t y , and proves herself to be no more than a mediocre painter. By contrast, Nadie Palicsky i s a woman of passion who i s a natural a r t i s t . When Nadie confides matter-of-factly i n E l f r i d a that she has a lover and that they have decided marriage i s ludicrous, E l f r i d a ' s response i s an a r t i f i c i a l c a l c ulation: E l f r i d a r e f l e c t e d afterward with s a t i s f a c t i o n that she had not even changed color, though she had found the communication e l e c t r i c . I t seemed to her that there had been something d i g n i f i e d , noble almost, i n the answer she had made, with a smile that acknow-ledged the fact that the world had scruples on such accounts as these: "Cela m'est absolument "epal!" (p. 3 8 ) E l f r i d a ' s composed worldliness i s as foreign to her own actual s e l f as the French i n which she r e p l i e s to Nadie. Miss Duncan makes i t clear that E l f r i d a ' s i l l u s o r y b e l i e f that art w i l l set her apart from the mundane world, by vi r t u e of i t s unconventionality, i s opposed to the r e a l i t y of her l i f e . I r o n i c a l l y , E l f r i d a misuses her r e a l a b i l i t y for mastering theory to cloak her lack of a r t i s t i c t a l e n t . I t i s John Kendal, who i n character and action, brings E l f r i d a ' s personality i n t o focus. Kendal i s an Englishman, who i s almost a stereotype i n h i s adherence to propriety and reg u l a r i t y , and whose work i s highlighted by control and form. Kendal considers E l f r i d a to be "a more than s l i g h t l y fantastic young woman 5 with an appreciation of certain a r t i s t i c v e r i t i e s out of a l l proportion to her power to at t a i n them" (p. 62). Yet Kendal: was w i l l i n g enough to meet her on the sp e c i a l plane she constituted for h e r s e l f — n o t as a woman, but as an a r t i s t and a Bohemian.... [although] i t i s possible to grow i n d i f f e r e n t even to the unconventionalities, and Kendal had been three years i n the Quartier L a t i n , (p. 63) E l f r i d a ' s i n i t i a l confusion of her actual and i l l u s o r y s e l f has caused her to channel her e f f o r t s i n t o becoming a novel personality. As a re s u l t she at t r a c t s Kendal by virtue of being a phenomenon, but completely bars him from ever viewing her as a woman. E l f r i d a attempts to secure the novelty of her s e l f -deception through a l i a i s o n with Kendal. In an endeavour to further her design she allows Kendal to paint her p o r t r a i t , but Kendal, the painter, and Kendal, the man, are authentically one and the same. The r e s u l t i s shattering: He had selected a disguise, and, as she wished, a becoming one. But he had not used i t f a i r l y , seriously. He had thrown i t over her face l i k e a v e i l which rather revealed than hid, rather emphasized than softened, the human secret of the face under-neath....It was the r e a l E l f r i d a . (p. 3 ^ 9 ) Moreover, E l f r i d a ' s comprehension of the p o r t r a i t i s 6 complete; "Oh, I do not f i n d f a u l t ; I would l i k e to, but I dare not. I am not sure enough that you are wrong—no, I am too sure that you are r i g h t . I am, indeed, very much preoccupied with myself. I have always been— I s h a l l always be. Don't think I s h a l l reform a f t e r t h i s moral shock as people do i n books. I am what I am. But I acknowledge that an egotist doesn't make an agreeable picture, however charmingly you apologize for her. I t i s a personality of stone, i s n ' t i t ? — i m p l a c a b l e , unchangeable. I've often f e l t that." (p. 3 5 0 ) Kendal's p o r t r a i t i s excruciatingly accurate. Revealed as an egotist, E l f r i d a gives the charge substance with her attempt to laud her character as noble by a t t e s t i n g to i t s perpetuity and i n d e s t r u c t i b i l i t y . E l f r i d a ' s charmingly developed masque of unconventionality i s the mode of expression for her overpowering egotism which had i t s beginnings i n Sparta. Mrs. B e l l , E l f r i d a ' s mother, was an average sort of woman, r e s t l e s s i n the mediocrity of her l i f e , who attempted to channel her discontent i n t o fantasy by encouraging E l f r i d a ' s d r o l l ambitions. When Kendal has captured the e g o t i s t i c a l essence of E l f r i d a ' s character, which had for so long been elusive to him, and imposed a control upon i t through the medium of the p o r t r a i t , h i s i n t e r e s t i n E l f r i d a ceases. Hence, Miss Duncan makes i t clear that the a r t i f i c i a l i s removed from l i f e , r e s u l t s from the confusion of the i l l u s o r y and 7 the r e a l , holds but ephemeral i n t e r e s t for genuine people, and has no future i n the natural world. Kendal possesses both self-knowledge and self-acceptance. When he marries Janet Ca r d i f f , he chooses a partner with these same vi r t u e s . Janet i s a natural person who displays a f l e x i b i l i t y toward l i f e and i s able to cope with i t s meaning as she encounters i t . She i s the daughter of an academic who has grown up very much i n the company of the respectable l i t t e r a t i and become a successful j o u r n a l i s t i n her own r i g h t . When, out of economic necessity, E l f r i d a comes to London to seek employment i n journalism—a " s c u l l e r y -maid's 1 1 job i n l i t e r a t u r e — s h e and Janet form a d i f f i c u l t and ephemeral friendship (p. 54) • E l f r i d a terminates her re l a t i o n s h i p with Janet, shortly a f t e r the completion of Kendal's p o r t r a i t , and the success of Janet's f i r s t novel, by denouncing Janet as an a r t i s t bourgeois who i s an outsider and who must remain outside. Janet i s able to view E l f r i d a ' s c r i t i c i s m of her as an a r t i s t i n i t s proper perspective: I t doesn't matter to me how l i t t l e she thinks of my aims and my methods. I'm quite content to do my work with what a r t i s t i c conception I've got without analyzing i t s q u a l i t y — I 'm thankful enough to have any. Besides, I'm not sure about the f i n a l i t y of her o p i n i o n — (p. 3 7 7 ) 8 Janet does not consciously contrive her a r t , rather she writes i n a manner f a i t h f u l to her own nature and the world as she sees i t . Because she has the natural self-assurance that growing up i n the a r t i s t i c milieu has given her, she i s s keptical of E l f r i d a ' s l i t e r a r y pose. Janet i s concerned about E l f r i d a ' s condemnation of her personal hypocrisy, a distaste which Janet also holds for her own behaviour: But what h u r t s — l i k e a k n i f e — i s that part about my i n s i n c e r i t y . I haven' t been honest with h e r — I haven't! From the very beginning I've c r i t i c i s e d her pr i v a t e l y . I've f e l t a l l sorts of reserves and qu a l i f i c a t i o n s about her, and con-cealed them—for the sake o f — o f I don't know what—the pleasure I had i n knowing her, I suppose, (p. 377) Janet's i n t e g r i t y i s a sense of dealing honestly with the world i n so fa r as one i s capable of doing so. E l f r i d a , however, i s not as scrupulous as Janet. She looked upon her friendship with Janet as having "an i n t r i n s i c beauty and i n t e r e s t , l i k e a c u r i o — s h e had ha l f a dozen such curios i n the museum of her f r i e n d s — " (p. l 8 3 - 4 ) « E l f r i d a i s not concerned with human ethics; she deals with people with the lic e n s e she mistakenly feels her a r t i s t i c c a l l i n g gives her. She views Janet from the same aesthetic distance as she did the people of Sparta, with the difference that Janet has aroused E l f r i d a ' s sense of comeliness. E l f r i d a 9 lacks the basic f e e l i n g for common humanity that has brought Janet success i n the j o u r n a l i s t i c world. Indeed, when E l f r i d a attains posthumous notoriety as a writer i t i s with a novel which deals with the Peach Blossom Company, a group of dance h a l l g i r l s whose l i f e E l f r i d a has indulged i n with abandon. As a dance h a l l g i r l , E l f r i d a was able to be h e r s e l f — a n e x h i b i t i o n i s t intent on shocking conven-t i o n a l society. Moreover, i n the dance h a l l , unlike the a r t i s t i c world, E l f r i d a i s reinforced by the attention she so desperately covets. At the end of the novel E l f r i d a destroys Kendal's p o r t r a i t of herself, and shunned by Janet, and depressed over a bad review of her l a t e s t piece of writing, she conimits suic i d e . E l f r i d a ' s a r t i f i c i a l a r t i s t i c i d e a l s f a i l even herself f i n a l l y . And the f a i l u r e , just as the i d e a l s , are absolute. As Kendal points out e a r l i e r i n the novel, i t was not achievement that E l f r i d a sought, but success (p. 7 1 ) . Northrop Frye describes the comic movement as a motion from i l l u s i o n to r e a l i t y , i l l u s i o n being whatever i s fixed or definable, and r e a l i t y understood as i t s h negation. This i l l u s i o n - r e a l i t y flux i s the major pattern of A Daughter of To-Day 0894). E l f r i d a bases her l i f e on the i l l u s i o n that she i s inherently d i f f e r e n t from her contemporaries i n Sparta, I l l i n o i s as a r e s u l t 1 0 of her natural a r t i s t i c t a lents. She attempts to l i v e a l i f e emotionally removed from people and dedicated to an art which i s also remote from ordinary humanity. Her f a l l a c y i s illuminated by counterpoising her against successive f o i l s — N a d i e Palicsky, who i s genuinely unorthodox, and l i v e s her l i f e and her art through her passion; John Kendal, a painter of the t r a d i t i o n a l school, who adheres rigorously to perspective i n a l l h i s endeavours, including h i s emotions; and Janet C a r d i f f , a woman and a writer, who finds her i n s p i r a t i o n i n the changing fabric of l i f e as i t presents i t s e l f to her. Faced with the r e a l i t y of her own inadequacy on a personal and an a r t i s t i c l e v e l , E l f r i d a , s t i l l adhering to fixed standards, has no choice but to destroy herself. In t h i s action she f i t s the description of the comic character, dominated by a humour ( i . e. her egotism), who remains immutable. When E l f r i d a f i r s t saw Kendal's p o r t r a i t , she could not take the poison i n her rin g : "He thinks that he has read me f i n a l l y , that he has done with me, that I no longer count!" (p. 355)• But there can be no f u l f i l l m e n t great enough for an egotist, and E l f r i d a ' s f i n a l decision for death has an a f f i n i t y with Malvolio's statement: " I ' l l be reveng'd on the whole pack of you!"^ E l f r i d a i s aware of her egotism, but she cannot subdue i t . She never attains self-acceptance, and tragic as her suicide i s , we cannot 11 f e e l complete pi t y , for E l f r i d a ' s self-destruction must also be seen as an affirmation of her i l l u s i o n . As such her suicide i s both courageous (she never abandons her b e l i e f that she i s an extraordinary being, and i n r e j e c t i n g l i f e , she remains f a i t h f u l to her philosophy that she must renounce that which she deems bourgeois), and f o o l i s h , for with i t she affirms something not worth affirming (her egotism). E l f r i d a i s tragicomic. Bergson, Frye, and Langer hold that the province of the comic i s a s o c i a l r e a l i t y dealing with manners. With t h i s concept i n mind, i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to consider E l f r i d a ' s behaviour upon being i n v i t e d to a soiree where George Jasper, an eminent author, much admired by E l f r i d a , i s present. After observing Mr. Jasper from the other side of the room, E l f r i d a boldly s t r i d e s over to him, and sinking on her knees before him, kisses h i s hand. Mr. Jasper i s a true Briton, and the s i t u a t i o n i s s u p e r f i c i a l l y comic: Mr. Jasper repossessed himself of i t Jjiis hancQ rather too h a s t i l y for dignity, and inwardly he expressed h i s feelings by a puzzled oath. Outwardly he looked somewhat ashamed of having i n s p i r e d t h i s unknown young lady's enthusiasm, but he did h i s confused best, on the spur of the moment, to carry o f f the s i t u a t i o n as one of the contingencies to which the semi-public l i f e of a popular n o v e l i s t i s always subject. "Really, you are—much too good. I can't i m a g i n e — i f the case had been r e v e r s e d — " 1 Mr. Jasper found himself, accustomed as he was to the exigencies of London drawing-rooms, horribly i n want of words. And i n the bow with which he further de-fined his discomfort he added to i t by dropping the bit of stephanotis which he wore in his buttonhole. Elfrida sprang to pick i t up. "Oh," she cried, " i t i s broken at the stem; see, you cannot wear i t anymore. May I keep i t ? " (p. 1 9 5 ) In the light of what we know of Elfrida's idealization of art, and her misdirected emotions, the incident i s patheti The marriage of Janet and Kendal represents a festive r i t u a l which marks the formation of a new society which Bergson, Frye, and Langer hold to be a comic t r a i t . The Kendais represent both "truth to certain values i n the ideal" and "truth to certain actualities i n the real:" Mr. and Mrs. John Kendal's delightful circle of friends say they li v e an i d y l l i c l i f e in Devonshire. But even i n the height of some domestic joy a silence sometimes f a l l s between them s t i l l . Then, I fancy, he i s thinking of an art that has slipped away from him, and she of a loyalty she could not hold. (p. 3 9 2 ) In his painting of Elfrida, Kendal had combined control and a personal theory. Through the medium of the portrait Kendal was able at once to objectify and solve the enigma of Elfrida which had tormented him for so long. When he completed the painting, he reached a s e l f - f u l f i l l m e n t — pure art—which he has not since been able to realize. 1 3 Kendal has a new contentment i n h i s marriage, which i s h i s own r e a l i t y , but he r e g r e t s h i s l o s t i d e a l . Janet shares h i s domestic happiness. S t i l l , she i s aware of her f a i l u r e to maintain a f r i e n d s h i p of p r i n c i p l e . Her personal r e l a t i o n s h i p with E l f r i d a was a guise; a l l she f e l t was an a p p r e c i a t i o n of E l f r i d a ' s s t y l e . Hence, the aspects of the comic such as movement from i l l u s i o n to r e a l i t y , the e x p l o r a t i o n of the sphere of s o c i a l experience as observed through manners, and the marriage r i t u a l , can be used to evoke an e f f e c t which i s not comic. As a comment upon our r e a c t i o n i t i s worth examining the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the s m i l i n g Buddha st a t u e , E l f r i d a ' s constant confidante throughout the n o v e l . A f t e r E l f r i d a ' s death Buddha i s placed "among the mournful Mag-dalens of Mrs. B e l l ' s drawing-room i n Sparta" and " s t i l l s m i l e s , " h i s equanimity undisturbed (p. 3 9 2 ) . For the gods, as the O r i e n t a l b e l i e v e s , l i f e on earth i s e s s e n t i a l l y comic. As Susanne Langer w r i t e s : both Hindu and Buddhist regard l i f e as an episode i n the much longer career of the s o u l which has to accomplish many i n c a r n a t i o n s before i t reaches i t s g o a l , n i r v a n a . I t s s t r u g g l e s i n the world don't exhaust i t ; i n f a c t they are s c a r c e l y worth r e c o r d i n g except i n entertainment t h e a t e r , "comedy" i n our s e n s e — s a t i r e , f a r c e , and dialogue. The character whose fortunes are s e r i o u s l y i n t e r e s t i n g are the e x t e r n a l gods; and 14 for them there i s no death, no l i m i t of p o t e n t i a l i t i e s , hence no fate to be f u l -f i l l e d . There i s only the balanced rhythm of sentience and emotion, upholding i t s e l f amid the changes of material nature.7 Clearly then, i t i s not l i f e ' s events which are comic or t r a g i c , but one's attitude towards them. In a novel published a year e a r l i e r than A Daughter of To-Day Q 8 9 4 ) » Miss Duncan employs the same assemblage of protagonists, the same basic movement from i l l u s i o n to r e a l i t y , and creates a story which evokes a warm and sympathetic humour. The Simple Adventures of a Memsahib ( 1 8 9 3 ) i s a series of sketches of a young English couple who set up housekeeping i n India. Helen Peachey, of Canbury-in-Wilts, the daughter of Reverend and Mrs. Peachey, becomes engaged to George Browne, who i s out i n England on leave from h i s job with the B r i t i s h government i n India. Miss Peachey spends a year at home i n preparation for her t r i p out to Calcutta and impending marriage. During t h i s period Helen becomes somewhat of a novelty about Canbury, by virtue of the unusual implications of her marital arrangements. Helen's mother dir e c t s many of her thoughts towards encouraging any unique opportunity which Helen's new l i f e w i l l o f f e r to her: To Mrs. Peachey, one very consoling circumstance connected with Helen's going to India was the good she would probably be able to do to "those sur-rounding her." Helen had always been the 15 i n s p i r a t i o n of work-parties, the l i f e and. soul of penny-readings. .Much as Mrs. Peachey and the parish would miss Helen, i t was a sustaining thought that she was going amongst those whose need of her was so much greater than Canbury's. Mrs. Peachey had private chastened visions, c h i e f l y on Sunday afternoons, of Helen i n her new f i e l d of labor. Mrs. Peachey was not d e s t i -tute of imagination, and she usually pictured Helen seated under a bread-f r u i t tree i n her Indian garden, dressed i n white muslin, teaching a c i r c l e of l i t t l e "blacks" to read the scriptures. ...Over the form of these de l i c a c i e s Mrs. Peachey usually went to sleep, to dream of larger schemes of heathen emancipation which Helen should i n -augurate, o I t i s revealing to compare Mrs. Peachey's musings with some remarks Mrs. B e l l makes to E l f r i d a ' s school teacher, Miss Kimpsey, at the beginning of A Daughter of To-Day (1894): "Yes; I often wonder what her career w i l l be, and sometimes i t comes home to me that i t must be a r t . The c h i l d can't help i t — s h e gets i t straight from me. But there were no art classes i n my day." Mrs. B e l l ' s tone implied a large measure of what the world had l o s t i n consequence. "Mr. B e l l doesn't agree with me about E l f r i d a ' s being predestined for a r t , " she went on, smiling, "his whole idea i s that s h e ' l l marry l i k e other people." (p. 11) Both passages are concerned with fantasies a mother i s entertaining about her daughter. Moreover, the tone of both passages conveys r e a l i t y . I t i s manifest that Helen's 16 t r a i n i n g i n the rectory i s hardly s u f f i c i e n t for missionary work of any consequence, and i t i s most unlikely that E l f r i d a ' s inheritance of Mrs. B e l l ' s a r t i s t i c talents i s going to make E l f r i d a a major painter. Like Mr. B e l l , who was skeptical of Mrs. B e l l ' s ambitions for t h e i r daughter and wanted E l f r i d a to s e t t l e down i n Sparta with some "go-ahead" young man, Reverend Peachey has an uneasy f e e l i n g about Mrs. Peachey's aspirations for Helen: he believed these Hindus were very subtle-minded, and Helen was not much at an argument. He understood they gave able theologians very hard nuts to crack. Their ideas were e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t from ours, and Helen would be obliged to master t h e i r ideas before e f f e c t i n g any very r a d i c a l change i n them. He was a f r a i d there would be d i f f i c u l t i e s , (p. 13) Both Mr. B e l l and Reverend Peachey are unsophisticated and unworldly. The homespun flavour of such phrases as "go-ahead" young man and "hard nuts to crack" brings a smile with i t s ingenuousness. I t i s not dic t i o n which sets Mr. B e l l up as tra g i c , and enables the reader to see Reverend Peachey as comic; rather, i t i s the narrator's point of view which shapes our reaction. The dif f e r e n t contexts of the foregoing passages demonstrate the fundamental difference between them. Unlike the id i o s y n c r a t i c Mrs. B e l l , whose character 17 i s so c a r e f u l l y delineated as to reveal i n minute d e t a i l the furnishings of her drawing-room, Mrs. Peachey remains a genus, that i s , a "mother figure." Helen, unlike E l f r i d a , maintains her pose as a "daughter" and "wife" figure, and i s not i n d i v i d u a l i z e d . In the B e l l household, i t i s Miss Kimpsey, E l f r i d a ' s spinster school teacher who i s the mediator between mother and father. Unhappily Miss Kimpsey, as suggested by her single state, i s a woman u n f u l f i l l e d , who seeks s a t i s f a c t i o n by promulgating Mrs. B e l l ' s ambition that E l f r i d a should become an a r t i s t of renown. Helen Peachey's province of endeavour i s analogous to that of E l f r i d a B e l l , i n that i t proves to be much removed from the naive notions of her mother and the overly f o r t i f i e d designs of her father. However, Helen i s a creature of the natural world who i s able to adapt herself to the pattern of the regular course of events. Thus i t i s that the fate of Helen Peachey, t y p i c a l bride-to-be, i s accurately outlined i n advance by her aunt: Mrs. Plovtree s e t t l e d the whole question. Helen was not going out as a missionary, except i n so far as that every woman who married undertook the charge of one heathen, and she could not expect to jump i n t o work of that sort a l l at once....For her part, she would advise Helen to t r y to do very l i t t l e at f i r s t — to begin, say, with her own servants; 1 8 she would have a number of them, and they would be greatly under her personal influence and control, (p.. 1 3 ) Mrs. Plovtree gives perspective to the Peacheys' i l l u s i o n s about t h e i r daughter. She c a l l s them back to r e a l i t y with her reminder that Helen i s primarily a wife, and that the proper sphere for her e f f o r t s i s domesticity. Mrs. Plovtree then proceeds to nurture more fals e notions about Helen's influence with her servants, but as she i s already happily and firmly ensconced as Mrs. Browne, the shattering of the i l l u s i o n s i s never devastating. The emphasis here i s on the continuity of l i f e and the sharing of experiences common to humanity. Conversely, E l f r i d a endeavoured to be unique and apart from mankind. Mr. and Mrs. Browne are comic husband and wife prototypes i n reference to Mack's d e f i n i t i o n of such f i g u r e s — " t h e emphasis i s on permanence and t y p i c a l i t y of human experience, as projected i n persistent s o c i a l species whose s u f f i c i e n t destiny i s simply to go on Q revealing themselves to us."^ They are surrounded by events, but t h e i r character i s not altered or developed. As Mrs. Plovtree has suggested, the servants are Helen's f i r s t household chore, and they provide some disconcerting experiences. The new Mrs. Browne discovers 1 9 that the domestics are hired on the basis of fraudulent recommendations and that they adhere to most unscrupulous methods i n the performance of t h e i r duties. In addition the servants are generally unreliable, much too expensive, and habitually unclean. To her amazement Helen learns that t h i s state of a f f a i r s i s not only tolerated, but accepted by the Anglo-Indians. In language equal to an undertaking of much greater consequence, Helen outlines her approach to her predicament, and her very feminine motive: She would drop c u r i o s i t y and pleasure, and assume d i s c i p l i n e , righteousness and understanding. She would make a stand. She would deal j u s t l y but she would make a stand....He {Mr. Browne] would see that the lady he had made Mrs. Browne was capable of more than driving about i n a tum-tum and writing enthusiastic l e t t e r s home about the beauties of Calcutta, (p. 8 1 ) Helen always assesses herself i n rel a t i o n s h i p to her s o c i a l r e a l i t y , that i s , her marriage. Consequently, what she reveals to us are wifely t r a i t s , not p e c u l i a r i t i e s of Helen Peachey as an i n d i v i d u a l . Despite her severe looks, her attempts at f r u g a l i t y and her endeavours to reason with the servants, Mrs. Browne finds herself overpowered by the Indian method of house-keeping. But, Mrs. Browne and her si t u a t i o n , to use 20 Feibleman's terminology, are the postulates; her actions are the deductions, 1 0 Helen's actions affirm the l o g i c a l order of a c t u a l i t y . She compromises her ways to those of the native-bearers; she observes and learns from her previous domestic errors. Not once does she lose her perspective or her essential humanity. Calculating the cost of the servants to be an exorbitant seven pounds per month: The two Brownes looked at each other with a s l i g h t shade of domestic anxiety. This was d i s p e l l e d by the f o o l i s h old consideration of how l i t t l e anything r e a l l y mattered, now that they were one Browne, and presently they were disporting themselves behind the pony on the Maidan, leaving the cares of t h e i r household to those who were most concerned i n them. (p. 80) The point i s that i t does not matter which path the events take, that i s , whether Helen overcomes her pecuniary d i f f i c u l t y or whether the f i n a n c i a l prospectus e n t a i l s some deprivation. Either alternative can be comic for Helen i s immutable. Helen values love over money, but even were she to reverse the order, she could s t i l l be cause for mirth. Coincidentally, i t i s not E l f r i d a ' s preference for the extraordinary over the ordinary i n i t s e l f which makes her tragicomic. As Mack writes: 21 "Our reactions to r e a l i t y we may remind ourselves, depend upon the context. Even a rabbit, were i t suddenly to materialize before us without complicity, could be a t e r r i f y i n g event. What makes us laugh i s our secure consciousness of the magician and h i s h a t . " 1 1 The narrator of The Simple Adventures of a Memsahib ( 1 8 9 3 ) i s Mrs. Perth Maclntyre, who has been i n India for twenty-two years i n the same capacity as Helen Browne. The overt presence of the narrator makes us aware that the characters are constantly being manipulated i n the manner of marionettes. Helen behaves l i k e an unconscious puppet at the beck and c a l l of the consciousness of Mrs. Maclntyre. When Nadie Palicscky confessed her i l l i c i t r e l ationship with Monsieur Andr^ Vambery, E l f r i d a contrived a response that would give an effect of nonchalance. In contrast i s Mrs. Browne's reaction to a confession of unconventional morality. The incident occurs at a dinner party hosted by Mr. Sayter, one of Mr. Browne's superiors. In conversation with Helen, Mr. Sayter re l a t e s the ethics of previous Anglo-Indian society: I'm very respectable myself, but that's not my f a u l t . I've never had the good luck to be married, for one thing; and that, i n India, i s essential to a career 22 of any i n t e r e s t . But I was once quite an exceptional, quite an o r i g i n a l , character on that account, and I'm not any more. Those were the good old times. And to beautiful, well-based, well-deserved reputation for impropriety gradually disappear from a s o c i a l system i t did so much to make entertaining i s enough to sadden a man at my time of l i f e . "Really," said Helen; and then, with a l i t t l e bold shivering plunge, "Were the people out here formerly so v e r y — i n c o r r e c t ? " "Oh, d e l i c i o u s l y i n c o r r e c t ! Scandals were r e a l l y a r t i s t i c i n those days." (p. 143) The passage r e f l e c t s the same technique of confusing r e a l i t y and i l l u s i o n as Miss Duncan employed i n A Daughter of To-Day (1894). E l f r i d a verbally approved Nadie's unorthodox behaviour as compatible with her own moral code. In l i k e manner, Mr. Sayter has described h i s own unconventional habits i n golden tones and indicated that t h i s i s the manner i n which he believes o f f i c i a l s of the B r i t i s h government ought to conduct themselves. E l f r i d a ' s i n t e r n a l abashment at Nadie's revelation contrasts with the v i s i b l e signs of Helen's hesitant response to Mr. Sayter's candid conversation. We view Helen's reaction through the eyes of Mrs. Macintyre. The ever-present i n t e l l i g e n c e of the narrator i s acknowledged by regular breaks i n the narrative, where 2 3 Mrs. Maclntyre offers observations gleaned from her long stay i n India: I have heard i t stated that an expert can t e l l a Convenanted from an Uncoven-anted i n d i v i d u a l by h i s back, given a s o c i a l occasion which would naturally evoke self-consciousness. In the case of t h e i r wives, one need not be an expert. Convenanted shoulders are not obviously whiter or more c l a s s i c a l l y moulded than the other kind, but they have a subtle way of establishing t h e i r r e l a t i o n s with Government that i s not to be mistaken even by an amateur, (p. 1 3 3 ) Digressions are t y p i c a l l y completed i n the following fashion: " I t was i n my mind to say much sooner that the Brownes were going out to dinner" (p. 1 3 4 ) . This method of deviation lends an a i r of informality, which contributes to what Bergson terms " a movement of relaxation" which 12 accompanies laughter. Mrs. Macintyre's f a m i l i a r i t y with her subject matter, and her consequent sense of i d e n t i t y with Mrs. Browne, finds i t s outlet i n the sympathetic tone of the narrative. And herein l i e s the basic and v i t a l d i s p a r i t y between A Daughter of To-Day ( 1 8 9 4 ) and The Simple  Adventures of a Memsahib ( 1 8 9 3 ) . The former i s written from an i n t e r n a l and omniscient vantage point, and our reaction to the l a t t e r i s shaped by a l i m i t e d external point of view. The Simple Adventures of a Memsahib 0 8 9 3 ) presents 2k what Mack would term " l i f e - a s - s p e c t a c l e " rather than "life-as-experience." ' For example, having distinguished among the various l e v e l s of East Indian r e l i g i o u s potentates, the narrator whimsically remarks: I saw a p r i e s t of K a l i , wrapped i n his yellow chudder, s i t hugging h i s knees under a mahogany tree to-night beside the broad road where the carriages passed r o l l i n g i n t o the "cow's dust" of the t w i l i g h t . A brother c l e r i c of the Raj went by i n his v i c t o r i a with h i s wife and children, and the yellow robed one watched them out of sight. There was neither hatred nor malice nor any e v i l thing i n h i s gaze, only perhaps a subtle appreciation of the advantages of the other c l o t h , (p. 2if6) Bergson claims that the comic must never bring the emotions in t o play, as comedy i s an a f f a i r of the mind: "To produce the whole of i t s effect....the comic demands something l i k e a momentary anesthesia of the heart. I t s appeal i s to i n t e l l i g e n c e , pure and simple." 1^ The sketch of the K a l i p r i e s t presents " l i f e - a s - s p e c t a c l e " i n that i t i s observed externally, yet one suspects that Mrs. Macintyre has an empathy for the simple K a l i p r i e s t and h i s mortal musings. I t i s precisely t h i s quality which regularly prevents Miss Duncan from completely entering the area of the comic, the resultant laughter of which Bergson describes as: a froth with a saline base. Like froth, i t sparkles. I t i s gaiety i t s e l f . 2 5 But the philosopher who gathers a handful to taste may find that the substance i s scanty, and the after-taste b i t t e r . 1 5 Miss Duncan's province i s more frequently a comical mode which i s basically "sympathetic, tolerant, and warmly 1 6 aware of the depths of human nature." Miss Duncan i s primarily a humourist. It i s well to mention at this point the exuberant joy for l i f e , or what Susanne Langer would designate the "elan v i t a l , " which i s at the heart of Mrs. Macintyre's chronicle. Susanne Langer says: The pure sense of l i f e i s the under-lying feeling of comedy....This sense, or "enjoyment" as Alexander would c a l l i t , i s the realization in direct feeling of what sets organic nature apart from inorganic: self-preservation, self-restoration, functional tendency, purpose. Life i s teleological, the rest of nature i s , apparently mechanical.17 More simply, the narrative reveals a positive feeling for l i f e , as differentiated from a feeling of l i f e , that we see in A Daughter of To-Day ( 1 8 9 4 ) . Over and over again in. The Simple Adventures of a Memsahib ( 1 8 9 3 ) human nature i s unveiled and l i f e i s celebrated i n a l l i t s unobtrusive and imposing forms. India and her people in their colour and squalor, pageantry and earthiness are joyfully re-created. The Brownes retain their human aspect 26 amid the heat, the monsoons, and the austere beauty of the snow-capped Himalayas, I t i s quite a d i f f e r e n t s p i r i t from that conveyed through the sensitive view which culminates i n the death of E l f r i d a B e l l , From the outset E l f r i d a despaired of the buoyant l i f e force which unites mankind, preferring to fabricate a t h e o r e t i c a l world aft e r her own tastes i n which to e x i s t . When she considered c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of Miss Duncan's early journalism, Rae Goodwin juxtaposed two assertions concerning aesthetic outlook. The statements are both a revelation and a j u s t i f i c a t i o n . 7 In one context Miss Duncan writes: we take the l i b e r t y of thinking that l i t e r a t u r e should at i t s best be true not only to the objects upon and about which i t constructs i t s e l f , but f a i t h f u l also to a l l the delicate attractions and r e -pulsions which enter go intimately i n t o the highest a r t . 2 0 In another a r t i c l e she alleges that: In l i t e r a t u r e as elsewhere certain fundamental p r i n c i p l e s do not change. We must have truth of one sort or another—truth to certain values i n the i d e a l , truth to certain a c t u a l i t i e s i n the real.21 Both texts assert a b e l i e f i n realism, coupled with an awareness of the l i m i t a t i o n s of an a c t u a l i t y which i s 27 perceived through the senses and apprehended i n terms of s e n s i b i l i t y . To counteract the deficiencies of empirical realism the a r t i s t i c imagination must attempt to transform the conception with a view towards an absolute v i s i o n . The r e s u l t i s consummate a r t . By her own d e f i n i t i o n then, The Simple Adventures of a Memsahib 0 8 9 3 ) i s an example of Miss Duncan's best writing. In observation and attitude she i s f a i t h f u l to the a c t u a l i t y she recognizes. An examination of a passage from the concluding chapter of the novel lends credence to the foregoing conclusions, and establishes the revelation of human nature as the f i t sphere for Miss Duncan's l i t e r a r y endeavours: I f i t i s necessary to explain my in t e r e s t i n these young Brownes, which you, I regret to think, may fi n d inexplicable, i t l i e s , I dare say, as much i n t h i s departure of ours as i n anything else. Their f i r s t chapter has been our l a s t . When you turn down the page upon the Brownes you close the book upon the Perth Macintyres, and i t has been pleasant to me that our story should f i n d i t s end i n the beginning of t h e i r s . I f t h i s i s not excuse enough, there i s a sentimental one besides. For I also have seen a day when the s p e l l of India was strong upon my youth, when I saw romance under a turban and soft magic behind a palm, and found the most fascinating occupation i n l i f e to be the wasting of my husband's substance among the gabbling thieves of the China bazar. I t was a l l new to me once—I had forgotten how new u n t i l I saw the o l d novelty i n the eyes of Helen Browne. Then I thought of reading the f i r s t pages of the Anglo-Indian book again with those young eyes of hers; and as I have read I have re-written, and interleaved, as you see. I t may be that they w i l l give warning to some and encouragement to others. I don't mind confessing that to me they have brought c h i e f l y a gay reminder of a time when pretty l i t t l e subalterns used to t r i p over t h e i r swords to dance with young Mrs. Perth Maclntyre also, which seems quite a ludicrous thing to p r i n t — a n d that has been enough, (p. 3 0 7 ) Through the guise of the narrator Miss Duncan attests to the exactitude of the subject matter of the novel, and the personal i n t e g r i t y beneath the a r t i s t i c expression. As we know from her biography Miss Duncan (Mrs. Everard Cotes) was a memsahib herself, and Mrs. Perth Maclntyre's l i v e l y posture r e f l e c t s Miss Duncan's personality. As to the higher truth by which Miss Duncan claims a l l l i t e r a t u r e must be guided: I t was a very l i t t l e splash that submerged Mrs. Browne i n Anglo-India, and there i s no longer a r i p p l e to t e l l about i t . I don't know that l i f e has contracted much for her. I doubt i f i t was ever intended to hold more than young Browne and the baby—but i t has changed. A f f a i r s that are not 29 young Browne's or the baby's touch her l i t t l e . Her world i s the personal world of Anglo-India, and outside of i t , except i n af f e c t i o n of Canbury, I believe she does not think at a l l . She i s growing d u l l to India, too, which i s about as sad a thing as any. She sees no more the supple savagery of the Pathan i n the marketplace, the bowed reverence of the Mussulman praying i n the sunset, the early morning mists l i f t i n g among the domes and palms of the c i t y . She has acquired for the Aryan inhabitant a certain strong i r r i t a t i o n , and she believes him to be nasty i n a l l h i s ways. This w i l l sum up her impressions of India as completely years hence as i t does to-day. She i s a memsahib l i k e another. (p. 3 1 0 ) The significance of the foregoing passage i s enhanced by considering the following statement by Susanne Langer: "Comedy i s e s s e n t i a l l y contingent, episodic, and ethnic; i t expresses the continuous balance of sheer v i t a l i t y that belongs 22 to society and i s enhanced b r i e f l y i n each i n d i v i d u a l . " Clearly, Miss Duncan's intention has been to capture the s p i r i t of freshness and change i n the l i f e of the Brownes, which i s l i f e i t s e l f . By writing of l i f e at a time when the v i t a l s p i r i t i s f e e l i n g i t s way in t o such a foreign channel of endeavour, t h i s mortal essence i s exaggerated and i n t e n s i f i e d . The fact that the Brownes' i n i t i a l sensations are ephemeral i s a l l too r e a d i l y admitted by Miss Duncan—already Mrs. Browne i s growing d u l l to her new environment. As with a l l ingenues, Mrs. Browne's wide-eyed guilessness quickly gives way to weary experience; l i f e becomes existence. For t h i s reason, the a r t i s t who celebrates l i f e ' s p r i s t i n e moments creates at once joy and truth. E l f r i d a B e l l l i v e d only for a r t — h e r peculiar conception of a r t , which was a conscious contradiction of a l l orthodox l i f e . E l f r i d a ' s novel dealt with the ethics of amoral dance h a l l g i r l s , whose l i v e s were perversions of the natural order. E l f r i d a ' s impetus was her own egotism. Seeing her i d e a l captured as the d i s t a s t e f u l i n t e r i o r of a pleasant conven-t i o n a l exterior i n Kendal's p o r t r a i t proves unbearable to E l f r i d a who destroys the picture. She leaves Kendal a note of explanation contrived to give the false nuance of simple frankness: In doing i t (destroying the p o r t r a i t I think I committed the unforgiveable s i n — n o t against you, but against a r t . I t may be some s a t i s f a c t i o n to you to know that I s h a l l never wholly respect myself again i n consequence....Under-stand that I bear no malice toward you, have no blame for you, only honor. You acted under the very highest o b l i g a t i o n — y o u could not have done otherwise*****And I am glad to think that I do not destroy with your work the joy you had i n i t . * * * (pp. 385-86) The i n s p i r a t i o n for Kendal's p o r t r a i t was E l f r i d a ' s human secret. When he revealed her unattractive i n t e r i o r , Kendal l o s t some of his a r t i s t i c enthusiasm. The asterisks i n 31 Elfrida's note are for emphasis—what they emphasize i s not Kendal's higher calling, hut Elfrida's desperation at the sordidness of the revelation. For Miss Duncan art must always retain the human awareness—the comic vision which rests securely on a sensitive integrity. In Janet Cardiff's words, "the bete jliumainej i s too conscious of his moral fibre when he's respectable, and when he isn't respectable he doesn't commit picturesque crimes, he steals and boozes" (p. 157)• Miss Duncan's comic vision encompasses an intuitive sense of actuality and i l l u s i o n , and an "€lan v i t a l " which prompts a celebration of l i f e at the moment of awareness. ^ She frequently employs the "persistent social species" of comedy, but her empathy commonly reveals i t s e l f even with an external point of view, and comedy becomes humour.^ Conversely, with individualized characters and an internal point of view Miss Duncan cannot refute her comic vision, and potential tragedy becomes tragicomedy. Further, even with the reaffirmation of l i f e at the end of A Daughter of To-Day 0894)» as evidenced by the marriage of Janet and Kendal, there i s mention of the silence that f a l l s between the Kendals and blights their i d y l l i c l i f e . Miss Duncan's comic vision possesses an underlying awareness that the healing powers of l i f e are not complete, and that man's nobility l i e s i n his unquenchable thirst for l i v i n g . CHAPTER II THE COMIC INTENT According to Bergson, the comic d i f f e r s from the other arts i n i t s construction: Here i t i s i n the work i t s e l f that the generality l i e s . Comedy depicts characters we have already come across and s h a l l meet with again. I t takes note of s i m i l a r i t i e s . I t aims at placing types before our eyes. I t even creates new types, i f necessary. 2> Moreover, comedy, because i t i s based upon outward observation and concerns i t s e l f with persons at the moment at which they come i n t o contact with each other, must produce a generic e f f e c t , i f i t i s to be laughable. Hence, Bergson concludes: comedy l i e s midway between art and l i f e . I t i s not disinterested as genuine art i s . By organising laughter, comedy accepts s o c i a l l i f e as a natural environment; i t even obeys an impulse of s o c i a l l i f e . And i n t h i s respect i t turns i t s back upon a r t , which i s a breaking away from society and a return to pure nature. 2" Comedy serves a u t i l i t a r i a n end by constantly attempting 33 to r i d s o c i a l l i f e of those obstructions which endanger i t s existence, or i n Bergson's terminology exterminate the mechanical elements which have imposed themselves 27 on the surface of l i v i n g society. Apparently then, the comic writer must seek some sort of s o c i a l Utopia, where i t s i n d i v i d u a l s , l i v i n g gracefully with each other, form a complacent whole b e n e f i c i a l to i t s members. The intent of Miss Duncan's humour i s p a r t i a l l y s o c i a l correction. An American G i r l i n London ( 1 8 9 1) i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s purpose and illuminates the basis which Miss Duncan envisions for a s o c i a l utopia. Mamie Wick i s the young lady from the United States, and the narrator of her own experiences. Miss Wick introduces h e r s e l f to the reader i n the f i r s t chapter: I am an American G i r l . Therefore, perhaps you w i l l not be surprised at anything further I may have to say for myself. I have observed, since I came to England, that t h i s statement, made by a t h i r d person i n connection with any question of my own conduct, i s always broadly explanatory• 2° Mamie i s the feminine naive. Seemingly unaware of common opinion she can only attest to her own obser-vations, and does not view her behaviour as either c h a r a c t e r i s t i c or i m i t a t i v e of that of her fellow c i t i z e n s . 3k What Mamie i s , i n terms of her own environment, she i s quite w i l l i n g to divulge. Miss Wick i s the daughter of Mr, Joshua P. Wick, of Chicago, I l l i n o i s , an enterprising business man who made the comfortable income on which he exists i n the baking powder business. Lately, Mr, Wick has devoted himself to p o l i t i c s and s i t s i n the Congress. Mamie's mother i s the former Miss Wastgaggle, a school teacher from Boston, whose father was a manufacturer of glass-eyes. In regard to her ancestors Mamie remarks that she i s : i n c l i n e d to think that they were not people who achieved any great d i s t i n c t i o n i n l i f e ; but I have never held anything against them on that account, for I have no reason to believe that they would not have been distinguished i f they could, I cannot think that i t has ever been i n the nature of the Wicks, or the Wastgaggles either, to l e t the opportunity for d i s t i n c t i o n pass through any criminal negligence on t h e i r part, I am perfectly w i l l i n g to excuse them on t h i s ground, therefore; and i f I, who am most intimately concerned i n the matter, can afford to do t h i s , perhaps i t i s not unreasonable to expect i t of you, (p. 6) The Wicks are a part of the r i s i n g middle c l a s s . Mamie's freshness has i t s origins i n the humble beginnings of her ancestors, and her candour and spontaneity are a re s u l t of the freedom which wealth has brought. 35 Nowhere i s Mamie's naturalness more evident than when she i s posed against Mrs. Portheris, who i s her r e l a t i o n by a previous marriage: Though I wouldn't c a l l Mrs. Portheris stout, she was massive—rather, of an impressive b u i l d . Her s k i r t f e l l i n a commanding way from her waist, though i t hitched up a l i t t l e i n front, which spoiled the e f f e c t . She had broad square shoulders, and a lace c o l l a r , and a cap with pink ribbons i n i t , and grey hair smooth on each side of her face, and large well-cut features, and the expression I spoke of. I've seen the expression since among the Egyptian a n t i q u i t i e s i n the B r i t i s h Museum, but I am unable to describe i t . 'Armed n e u t r a l i t y ' i s the only phrase that occurs to me i n connection with i t , and that by no means does i t j u s t i c e . For there was c u r i o s i t y i n i t , as well as h o s t i l i t y and reserve—but I won't t r y . And she kept her h a n d — i t was her ri g h t hand—upon the table, (p. 38) Mrs. Portheris i s a ludicrous figure. Her corpulence clothed i n i l l - f i t t i n g finery suggests at once her attempt to disguise her working class ancestry. I f Mrs. Portheris's physical presence i s austere, her sense of decorum i s even more uncompromising. She i s aghast at learning that Mamie has ridden on the top of an omnibus—"the top of an omnibus i s not a proper place for y o u — I might say, for any connection of mine, however distant!" (p. 43)• Mrs. Portheris i s even less impressed with Mamie's present place of residence: 36 I beg that you w i l l not remain another day at the Metropole! I t i s not usual for young ladies to stay at hotels. You must go to some place where only ladies are received, and as soon as you are se t t l e d i n one communicate at once with the rector of the pa r i s h — a l o n e as you are, that i s quite a necessary step. (P. 44) For purposes of chaperonage and possible room and board, Mrs. Portheris suggests the services of a Miss Purkiss: Miss Purkiss i s a very o l d fr i e n d of mine, i n reduced circumstances....In so far as our widely d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l positions have permitted, Miss Purkiss and I have been on terms, I may say, of s i s t e r l y intimacy since before you were born....and she, being a f r i e n d of my own, some afternoon, perhaps— I must think about i t — I may ask her to bring you to tea! (pp. 44-46) Miss Purkiss i s an innocuous and uninteresting l i t t l e spinster who i s completely dominated by Mrs. Portheris and her seemingly P u r i t a n i c a l ways. Mrs. Portheris i s Miss Duncan's vi s i o n of the unattractive bourgeoisie i n t o t a l i t y . Mrs. Portheris's l i f e i s constantly defined i n terms of the conventions which she i s so mindful of. She values outward signs of propriety and wealth. Her manner and bearing suggest a d i s t a s t e f u l masculinity and a d e f i n i t e sense of pretension; however, the presence of Lady To r q u i l i n adds another dimension to the concept. 3 7 Lady Tor q u i l i n i s by b i r t h and marriage a member of the English aristocracy. She belongs to the segment of society, whose customs Mrs. Portheris has i l l u s i o n s about, and fancies she betters herself by i m i t a t i n g . I r o n i c a l l y , Lady Torquilin's behaviour i s determined by her own aspirations and desires, only some of which genuinely coincide with the i l l u s o r y areas of i n t e r e s t for the B r i t i s h peerage. More e x p l i c i t l y , Lady Torquilin does not mould her s o c i a l conduct around a r i g i d sense of decorum, nor does she necessarily determine the s u i t a b i l i t y of her s o c i a l associations on the basis of wealth and connections. Lady Torquilin's h o s p i t a l i t y proves much more warm and informal than that of Mrs. Portheris: "I am going to take you, I' said Lady Torq u i l i n at lunch, "to Mrs. Fry Hamilton's 'at home'. She l i k e s Americans, and her p a r t i e s — ' f u n c t i o n s ' , as society i d i o t s c a l l i t — d i s g u s t i n g word—are generally rather 'swagger', as they say. I daresay y o u ' l l enjoy i t . " (p. 84) Lady T o r q u i l i n wants Mamie to have a pleasant stay i n London, and t h i s i s her only concern. She apologizes for the fact that she i s unable to make Mamie more comfortable i n her l i v i n g quarters because of her reduced circumstances t h i s season. Moreover her sense 38 of deportment i s inbred and p r a c t i c a l : When we arrived at Mrs. Fry Hamilton's I rang the b e l l . "Bless you, c h i l d ! " s a i d Lady To r q u i l i n , "that's not the way. They'll take you for a nursery governess, or a piano-tuner, or a b i l l ! ...Since then I have been obliged to rap and r i n g myself, because Lady Torq u i l i n l i k e s me to be as proper as I can; but there i s always an incompleteness about the rap and an ineffectualness about the r i n g . I simply haven't the education to do i t . (pp. 85-87) Lady To r q u i l i n i s natural and genuine. Her concept of proper behaviour consists i n doing whatever i s most gracious under the circumstances. In England, i f one knows the customary way to announce one's presence at the door, one follows precedent and avoids the novel. Mrs. Portheris's scruples about whom she keeps company with are founded on the i l l u s i o n that people of the upper classes choose t h e i r acquaintances on the basis of moral propriety and f i n a n c i a l resources. Her attitude i s not only inco r r e c t , i t i s h y p o c r i t i c a l . The reader knows that Mrs. Portheris's own monetary trans-actions are not the most secure, nor are they the most e t h i c a l s o r t . As Mamie r e c a l l s : i n fact, we had not had a l e t t e r from her since several years ago, when she wrote a long one to poppa, 39 something about some depressed C a l i f o r n i a mining stock, I believe, which she thought poppa, as her nephew and an American, ought to take o f f her hands before i t f e l l any lower, (p, 7) I t i s obvious that where her pocket-book i s concerned Mrs, Portheris does not l e t considerations of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y and distant connections a l t e r the course of expediency. In addition, Mrs, Portheris's r i g i d adherence to her notions of a r i s t o c r a t i c decorum are exactly what deem her bourgeois and unnatural. Her behaviour pattern i s not indigenous to her way of l i f e . Furthermore the true n o b i l i t y , as exemplified i n Lady T o r q u i l i n , are not conscious of acting according to certain class norms, but ret a i n t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l i n c l i n a t i o n s which constantly create t h e i r own conventions. People who imitate i l l u s o r y patterns of deportment are not the only components of the unattractive bourgeoisie. Individuals who react v i o l e n t l y against these i l l u s o r y standards are also subject to the same c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , because t h e i r l i v e s are constantly manipulated i n terms of the customs which they fancy themselves escaping from. Even i n a t r i t e matter such as mode of dress t h i s pheno-menon i s obvious. At the Private View of the Royal Academy of Arts, a t r a d i t i o n a l gathering, Mamie observes the 4° assemblage of l a d i e s ' gowns: A l l of them, pretty and ugly, I might have encountered at home, but there was one species of 'frock' which no American, I think, could achieve with impunity. I t was a protest against conventionalism, very much gathered, and usually presented i t s e l f i n colours unattainable out of a London fog. I t almost always went with a rather d i s -couraged-looking lady having a bad complexion, and h a i r badly done up; and, i n v a r i a b l y , i t dragged a l i t t l e on one side,,,,I had a better oppor-tunity of observing i t at the Academy Soiree i n June* when i t shed abroad the suggestion of a Tennysonian i d y l l l e f t out a l l night, (pp. 167-68) When the English react against the established norms, the r e s u l t i s even more outlandish than i t would be i n l i b e r a l America, because one must go to greater ends to overcome more sophisticated customs. Mamie's disdain for t h i s sort of conduct i s obvious as she attributes i t to unattractive creatures who have no other way of obtaining notice. There i s a t h i r d type of bourgeoisie, whom Mamie views much more sympathetically. These are the genuine middle class, most acceptable and profuse i n the United States: Generally and i n d i v i d u a l l y , Americans believe every man i s as good as h i s neighbour; and we take pains to pro-claim our b e l i e f whenever the subject of class d i s t i n c t i o n i s under discussion. 41 Poppa's views, however—representing those of the majority i n an i n d i v i d u a l , as we hope they soon may do i n a senator—are strongly against any theory of exclusiveness whatever. And I w i l l say for poppa, that h i s p r i n c i p l e s are car r i e d out i n h i s practice; for, to my knowledge, neither his retirement from business and pur-chase of a suburban lakeside residence, nor even h i s nomination for the Senate, has made the s l i g h t e s t difference i n his treatment of any human being, (p. 1 6 1 ) There i s subtle mockery i n the passage, but i t i s not directed against Mr. Wick. Rather, Miss Duncan i s i l l u m i n a t i n g the i r o n i c a l r e s u l t s of the American ethic that a l l men are created equal and e n t i t l e d to the same share of l i f e , l i b e r t y , and happiness. Mr. Wick's l i f e i s the epitome of the American dream—he has worked hard and done well. Now, materially and so c i a l l y — b e c a u s e the two are l i n k e d — h e i s superior to his fellow c i t i z e n s . Yet Mr. Wick retains h i s middle class values, which he genuinely believes i n , for they have brought him h i s own success. In the United States the i n d i v i d u a l professes that he believes what i s r i g h t to be what the majority set as standard. In England the mass attempts to emulate what i t conceives to be the norms of the upper c l a s s . The American attitude i s not f a i t h f u l to human i n s t i n c t . 42 Even Mamie confesses that i n England she: went on l i k i n g the way you shut some people out and l e t other people i n , without i n q u i r i n g further as to why I d i d — i t did not seem pr o f i t a b l e , especially when I r e f l e c t e d that my point of view was generally from the i n s i d e . My democratic p r i n c i p l e s are just the same as ever, though—a per-son needn't always approve what she l i k e s , (p. 162) The middle-class Briton who l i v e s amid a r i s t o c r a t i c fancies i s cause for laughter, as exemplified i n Mrs, Portheris, However, Miss Duncan sees merit i n the fact that " i n London everything i s a matter of the i n s i d e " (P» 35). The B r i t i s h begin with the i n d i v i d u a l , and t h i s , Miss Duncan believes, i s the proper point for society to advance from. Standing i n the Poet's Corner, Mamie comes upon the epitaph of Robert Browning: I t was so unlooked for, that name, so new to i t s association with death, that I stood aside, held by a sense of sudden i n t r u s i o n . He had always been so high and so f a r o f f i n the privacy of h i s genius, so revered i n hi s solitudes, so unapproachable,,,. Nothing mattered, except that he who had epitomised greatness i n h i s art for the century lay there beneath hi s name i n the place of greatness. And then, immediately, from t h i s grave of yesterday, there came to me l i g h t and d e f i n i t i o n for a l l the graves of the day before,,..and showed me what I had somehow missed ^ 3 seeing s o o n e r — a l l that shrined honour means i n England; and just i n that one l i t t l e corner how great her possessions are! (pp. 159-60) Mamie stands i n awe of England's c u l t u r a l heritage. She also respects the inherent genius of unique men, and feels i t i s r i g h t that such people should be revered according to the customs of t h e i r homeland. Such d i s t i n c t i o n i s not an arb i t r a r y discrimination, but a hallowed t r i b u t e . However, Mamie disdains the impractical idea of having an American poet-laureate—not a l l Presidents care for poetry, and "there i s n ' t a magazine i n the country that would take i t second-hand" (p. 1 5 6 ) . A poet-laureate i n the United States wouH be a ri d i c u l o u s f i x t u r e , for i t i s not indigenous to the l i f e pattern there. There i s also a s l y note of contempt for enforced art wherever i t i s produced, a process which i s much akin to conscious convention. I t would be a grave omission to leave An American G i r l i n London ( 1 8 9 1) cleaving so firmly to doctrine. Many of the characters, and several of the sketches i n the novel have been created for the very delight which the reader may f i n d i n t h e i r existence. The examples which come to mind carry a l l the freshness and s e n s i t i v i t y of true experience, and read l i k e pages out of the diary of a kk f i r s t time v i s i t o r . One remembers with a smile Miss Wick's encounter with the Lady Guides, and her interviews with several prospective landladies, among them the Cockney lady who expatiates upon culinary f a c i l i t i e s : "Aou, we never give meals, miss!" she said, " I t ' s only them boardin' •aouses as gives meals in!.,,But there's a very nice restirong i n Totinim Court Road, quite convenient, an' your breakfast, miss, you could 'ave cooked 'ere, but, of course, i t would be hextra, miss," (p, 52) The passage r e f l e c t s Miss Duncan's talent for charac-t e r i z a t i o n and her sense of the "elan v i t a l . A Voyage of Consolation ( 1 8 9 8 ) i s a sequel to An American G i r l i n London ( 1 8 9 1 ) . The plot consists of a t r i p to England and the Continent undertaken by Miss Wick and her parents i n order to console Mamie upon the abrupt termination of her engagement to Mr. Arthur Greenleaf Page. Apologizing for her i n d i s c r e t i o n i n announcing her own engagement Mamie explains that: I was my own heroine, and I had to be disposed of. There seemed to be no proper a l t e r n a t i v e . I did not wish to marry Mr. Mafferton, even for l i t e r a r y purposes, and Peter Corke's suggestion, that I should cast myself overboard i n mid-ocean at the mere idea of l i v i n g anywhere out of England for the future, was autobiographically impossible even i f I had f e l t so inclined.3 ° 45 Peter Corke and Charles Mafferton have a d i s l i k e for each other and represent two preliminary concepts to A Voyage of Consolation (1898). Peter Corke i s a masculine spinster overpowering i n her exuberance for English antiquity: Miss Corke was more ardently attached to the Past than anybody I have ever known or heard of that did not l i v e i n i t . Her i n t e r e s t did not demand any great degree of antiquity, though i t increased i n direct r a t i o with the centuries; the mere fact that a thing was over and done with, l a i d on the shelf, or getting mossy and forgotten, was enough to secure her respectful consideration. She l i k e d old f o l i o s and p r i n t s — i t was her pastime to poke i n the dust of ages; I've seen her p l a c i d l y enjoying a graveyard—with no recent i n t e r m e n t s — f o r h a l f an hour at a time. She had a fine scorn of the Present i n a l l i t s forms and phases. (p. 256) Peter i s symbolic of Miss Duncan's views of English attitude at the turn of the century. Their impressive heritage has made the Britons i n s u l a r and retrospective. In addition, the antique for the antique's sake i s another version of art for art's s a k e — i t removes art from l i f e , from people, and as a consequence, art ceases to l i v e and have import. Peter Corke i n her masculine spinster-hood i s the embodiment of the effect t h i s attitude has on a society—absorption without production. Miss Duncan 46 believes that England's future must have an a f f i n i t y with the progress and productivity of North America, and that t h i s i s not at a l l impossible: I may t e l l you that she had d e l i g h t f u l twinkling brown eyes, and hair a shade darker, and the colour and health and energy that only an English woman pos-sesses at t h i r t y , without being i n the le a s t a f r a i d that you could pick her out i n the street, or anywhere—she would not l i k e t h a t — a n d being put i n p r i n t , so that people would know her at a l l . . . . P a r t of her charm...was the remarkable i n t e r e s t she had i n every-thing that concerned y o u — a sort of i n t e r e s t that made you f e e l as i f such information as you could give about yourself was a direct and valuable contribution to the sum of her know-ledge of humanity; and part of i t was the salutary s i n c e r i t y of everything she had to say i n comment, though I ought not to forget her smile, which was a great deal of i t . I am sure I don't know why I speak of Miss Peter Corke i n the past tense however. (pp. 141-42) England, l i k e Miss Corke, must transcend herself and react with other people. Peter i s not unalluring, but she has l e t he r s e l f become stagnant. She makes gestures but she lacks f e e l i n g . Mr. Charles Mafferton i s an i n e f f e c t u a l and s l i g h t l y effeminate gentleman i n h i s excessive prudishness, who mistakenly thought he had courted and proposed to Mamie while she was i n London. Mafferton i s aware only of an established model of s o c i a l propriety. He views l i f e i n 47 terms of s t i l t e d patterns, and people as archetypes. He i s completely i n s e n s i t i v e , and through long t r a i n i n g and habit, he has ceased to have a v i t a l i n t e l l e c t : He sometimes complained that the great bar to h i s observation of the American character was the American sense of humour. I t was one of the things he had made a note of, as i n t e r f e r i n g with the i n t e l l i g e n t stranger's enjoyment of the country, (p. 196) I t i s t h i s sort of English male who has forced Peter Corke i n t o the past and i n t o spinsterhood. History possesses more s p i r i t than Mafferton. In A Voyage of Consolation (I89S) Miss Duncan demonstrates that the causes for England's predicament are not e n t i r e l y i n t e r n a l . The disagreement which ended i n the conclusion of Mamie's betrothal was prompted by Mr. Page's objections to the Anglicisms Mamie had adopted. In rebuttal Mamie r e c a l l s Arthur's previous stance: when Arthur was there—he used to g i l d a l l our future with the culture which I should acquire by actual contact with the hoary, t r a d i t i o n s of Great B r i t a i n . . . . I remember he expressed himself rather f i n e l y about the only proper attitude for Americans v i s i t i n g England being that of magnanimity, and about the claims of kinship, only once removed, to our forbearance and a f f e c t i o n , (p. 2) No one i s more aware of the B r i t i s h heritage and the 48 American lack of t r a d i t i o n than the upper class i n the United States. In t h e i r earnestness to " g i l d 1 1 t h e i r own l i v e s with t h i s culture, the Americans have encouraged B r i t i s h i n s u l a r i t y and self-consciousness. In A Voyage of Consolation (1898) Miss Duncan proceeds to explore the o r i g i n of s o c i a l convention. Upon t h e i r a r r i v a l i n London, Mrs. Wick proposes that the Wick family should go t h e i r separate ways—each absorbing a dif f e r e n t aspect of the culture B r i t a i n has to o f f e r . Mrs. Wick advises Mamie that she and her father might go to St. Paul's Cathedral for a s t a r t : Have a good look at the dome and t r y to bring me back the sound of the echo. I t i s sai d to be very weird. See that poppa doesn't forget to take o f f h i s hat i n the body of the church, but he might put i t on i n the Whispering Gallery, where i t i s sure to be draughty. And remember that the funeral coach of the Duke of Wellington i s down i n the crypt, dar l i n g . You might bring me an impression of that. I think I ' l l have a cup of chocolate and try to get a l i t t l e sleep. (p. 24) Mrs. Wick's areas of i n t e r e s t are c l e a r l y manners and external f i x t u r e s , coupled with a feminine concern for her husband's health. Her only wish for herself i s to relax and obtain impressions of B r i t i s h h i s t o r i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n s as pleasantly as possible. 49 What f i n a l l y provokes Mrs. Wick to action i s Senator Wick's suggestion that they l e t the " h i s t o r i c a l , i n s t r u c -t i v e , and ancient associations" go i n favour of that which i s unique (p. 2 5 ) . He quotes the advice of h i s American friend, Bramley: •Look here,• he said, 'remember the Unattainable Elsewhere—and get i t . You're l i k e l y to be i n London. Now the Unattainable Elsewhere, for that town, i s gentlemen's s u i t i n g s . For st y l e , price, and quality of goods the London t a i l o r leads the known universe. 'Wick,' he s a i d — h e was t e r r i b l y i n e a r n e s t — ' i f you have one hour i n London, leave your measure!• (p. 27) Mamie observes and explains her mother's reaction: Now, i f momma doesn't l i k e poppa's clothes, she always gives them away without t e l l i n g him. This would be thought a r b i t r a r y i n England...but America i s a free country, and there i s no law to compel us to see our male re l a t i o n s unbecomingly clad against our w i l l . . . . consequently momma r e p l i e d to the effect that she wouldn't mind his going anywhere else alone, but t h i s was important. She put her gloves on as she spoke, and her manner expressed that she was equal to any personal s a c r i f i c e for the end i n view. (p. 27) Senator Wick, as Mamie has e a r l i e r indicated, worked himself up to h i s present affluent status from humble beginnings. His l i f e has been constantly concerned with the exigencies of the p r a c t i c a l world. I t i s Mrs. Wick 50 who has had time to s o c i a l i z e and to become conscious of appearance and mode of apparel. This phenomenon of American womanhood i s evident elsewhere. Mamie r e c a l l s that: before monarchial i n s t i t u t i o n s momma weakened. She had moments of t e r r i b l e indecision as to how to do her hair, and I am certain i t was not a "matter of indifference to her that she should make a good impression upon the head butler. Also, she hesitated about examining the mounted Guardsman on duty at Whitehall, preferring to walk past with a casual glance, as i f she were accustomed to see things quite as wonderful every day at home, whereas nothing to approach i t has ever existed i n America, except i n the imagination of Mr. Bamum, and he i s dead. And shop walkers patronised her. I con-gratulated myself sometimes that I was there to assert her dignity, (p. 23) Miss Duncan associates convention with s o c i a l semblance and a f f e c t a t i o n . The mention of Mr. Barnum suggests showmanship and fantasy, and the attempt to hide or transform an a c t u a l i t y . Miss Duncan also draws an important d i s t i n c t i o n between Mamie and her mother. Mamie i s the modern young lady who has always known freedom from material concerns and excessive propriety. She has i n h e r i t e d her father's p r a c t i c a l i t y and s i m p l i c i t y , and her mother's femininity. As such she i s the enlightened ingenue, who i s able to see beyond convention, and be 51 educated to independent appreciation. Where convention i s predominant, c u l t u r a l appreciation i s impossible. Mamie's rec o l l e c t i o n s of her parent's viewing of the Mona L i s a make t h i s fact self-evident. Senator Wick goes to f i n d the picture by himself i n order to ascertain i f i t i s f i t for h i s family to study. Having discovered that "she's a l l r i g h t , " Senator Wick gives h i s own reactions: "Here she i s , " said the Senator presently. "Now look at that! Did you ever see anything more i n t e l l e c t u a l and c y n i c a l , and contemptuous and sweet, a l l i n one! Lookin , at you as much as to say, 'Who are you, any how, from way back i n the State of I l l i n o i s — c o m m e r c i a l t r a v e l l e r ? And what do you pretend to know?'" ...Momma regarded the p o r t r a i t for a moment i n calm disapprobation. "I dare-say she was very clever," she said at length, "but i f you wish to know my opinion I don't think much of her. And before taking us to see another female p o r t r a i t , Mr. Wick, I should be obliged i f you would take the precaution of finding out who she was." (p. 57) Senator Wick's comments are d e l i g h t f u l l y sincere, but they are ce r t a i n l y not aesthetic. Mrs. Wick i s equally genuine i n her response—she i s not at a l l impressed by a woman who has cast such a s p e l l over her husband. Both Senator Wick's cautionary previewing, and Mrs. Wick's concern as to just who Mona was, reveal the new world Puritanism which Mamie has escaped. 52 Mamie represents the promising American p o t e n t i a l . Even Senator Wick i s aware of the inadequacies of the present l e v e l of culture i n the United States, but he holds out a hope for the future: "It's a mere question of time," said he, "It i s n ' t reasonable to expect Pre-Saphaelites i n a new country. But give us three or four hundred years, and we'll produce old masters which, i f you l a d i e s w i l l excuse the expression, w i l l knock the spots out of the Middle Ages," (p, 5 5 ) A high l e v e l of culture, then, i s dependent upon a heritage from the past, and a refined and receptive public. History i s i n e v i t a b l y accumulated; i t i s towards the present public that Miss Duncan directs her c r i t i c i s m , " Convention, by d e f i n i t i o n , i s always concerned with the contemporary. Miss Duncan explores the concept and consequences of convention more thoroughly i n Those De l i g h t f u l Americans ( 1 9 0 2 ) , a hovel which has a reverse plot to A Voyage of Consolation O 8 9 8 ) , i n that i t s protagonists are Britons who v i s i t the United States, In the f i r s t chapter of the novel, Mrs, Kemball, who narrates her own experiences^ relates the reasons for t h e i r journey, and the reaction of her in-laws upon hearing the announcement: "Go to America!" exclaimed both l a d i e s at once. My mother-in-law's expression was one of simple bewilder-ment, Frances looked i r o n i c a l , "What, 5 3 under the sun, for?" s a i d she. "Not for pleasure," Kaye observed, gloomily. "You may happen to remember"— he addressed h i s mother—"that part of your income i s derived from shares i n the Manhattan E l e c t r i c Belt Company?" "Has i t f a i l e d , " demanded Mrs. Kemball. " I f so, t e l l me at once, Kaye. You know how I l i k e being prepared for things. Dear me, that's the l o s s of a c l e a r — "It has not f a i l e d , " interposed Kaye, with that superior correcting a i r which Englishmen use towards t h e i r female r e l a t i v e s . " I f i t h a d — " "I should have been obliged to put down the brougham and reduce the kitchen considerably." "There would be no occasion for me to go to the States," Kaye fini s h e d . 31 Kaye i s distraught at the idea of putting so much time and e f f o r t i n t o a f f a i r s of a commercial nature. His mother i s much more concerned and aware of the p r a c t i c a l consequences of business f a i l u r e than he i s . During the course of the conversation Mrs. Kemball notices the presence of a s n a i l i n the garden: "Another?" exclaimed Mrs. Kemball; "that makes the seventeenth to-day. K i l l i t on the gravel, Kaye." "Not I , " sai d Kaye, hurriedly; "I-I haven't time. We r e a l l y ought to be o f f , Carrie. "...As we made our farewells I dropped my parasol, and i n picking i t up contrived to s l i p the s n a i l i n s i d e . (pp. 1 4 - 1 5 ) Kaye's squeamishness at the thought of k i l l i n g a s n a i l reinforces h i s removal from the world of everyday p r a c t i c a l i t y . He has no desire to remove an unwanted garden pest. In 54 England, the a r i s t o c r a c y are independently wealthy and men are f r e e d from the exigencies of d a i l y l i f e . E n g l i s h women have more to do with a c t u a l i t y than the men. They administer the households and are subservient to t h e i r male counterparts. As a consequence, i t i s the E n g l i s h male who concerns himself w i t h s o c i a l behaviour and the ceremonial. This i s a complete r e v e r s a l from the pattern i n the United S t a t e s . Moreover, i n h i s d i s d a i n f o r s n a i l - k i l l i n g , Kaye s i g n i f i e s h i s a b s t r a c -t i o n from the b l a t a n t f r o n t i e r m a s c u l i n i t y of the American male which must be c o n s t a n t l y proven. Miss Duncan draws a c l e a r d i s t i n c t i o n between convention and t r a d i t i o n i n Those D e l i g h t f u l Americans (1902), Con-vention has the f l a v o u r of usage which i s i n vogue a t 1 the moment. T r a d i t i o n i s the l i v i n g h e r i t a g e from the past. The Adams are a New York fa m i l y of moderate income with s o c i a l pretensions. Mrs. Adams i s most anxious to impress the E n g l i s h Kemballs with the f i n e s s e of American customs: Both of the l a d i e s conveyed food to t h e i r l i p s , but i n the most perfunctory f a s h i o n ; the reason of the meal seemed to be much more the roses, and the l o v e l y s i l v e r , and the charming s u i t a b i l i t y of Mrs. Adam's morning f r o c k , and the d a i n t i -ness of the way everything was done. (p. 75) This i s c o n v e n t i o n — f a s h i o n a b l e , s y n t h e t i c , s o c i a b l e . T r a d i t i o n may take the form of s o p h i s t i c a t i o n or 55 lack of i t , but i t always has v a l i d i t y . The Hams are one generation r i c h who are s t i l l very much addicted to t h e i r r u r a l o r i g i n . Mr. Ham's greatest joy i s h i s bean patch and Mrs. Ham prefers to do the housework h e r s e l f . Between t h e i r daughter, V i o l e t , and themselves l i e s what Carrie describes as: d i f f e r e n t periods, di f f e r e n t parties, d i f f e r e n t classes. The thing that made t h i s only peculiar and saved i t from being pathetic was t h e i r complete acquiescence i n i t . (p. 269) V i o l e t Ham* represents a worldliness which retains i t s i n i t i a l s i m p l i c i t y and a f f i n i t y with the land: She had s o f t , dark hair, pushed forward round her face i n a s l i g h t exaggeration of the way people were wearing i t , and splendid blue eyes with thick lashes, and nearly always a laugh i n them; as Kaye said, she looked awfully good-natured. Her dress dragged i n most exquisite l i n e s on the ground behind her; i t was from Paris, and had more of an accent than any English g i r l would dare to carry, more than i t would have had on a French person; the American young lady i n i t simply doubled i t s s i g n i f i c a n c e . Miss Ham was large and abundant i n every way. (P. 1 3 1 ) V i o l e t i s the best of American t r a d i t i o n . She i s true to her p a r t i c u l a r heritage and l i v i n g i n the present. Her becoming plumpness suggests the fecundity of vast, 56 booming America and her country background,., while her modish Parisian dress i s representative of the new i n t e r -nationalism and individualism of certain American women. Miss Duncan i s quick to recognize the f a u l t s of the rapid development of the United States. She s a t i r i z e s the American acumen for making money which becomes an end i n i t s e l f , and the predilection for material possessions for the sheer joy of a c q u i s i t i o n . As Carrie points out, the Americans lack the capacity to appreciate: "No, but my point i s you can't exchange i n t e r n a t i o n a l f l a t t e r i e s with an American. He may or may not say, 'Thanks, very nice of you,' but he thinks he's worth a l l that and more, and he'd thank you to get to business and understand that that sort of thing doesn't go down with him." (p. 165) Jacob Ham i s the unfortunate r e s u l t of t h i s rapid pace. At h i s New York o f f i c e he i s an important executive, and at home he i s "just a l i t t l e , dried-up man" who loves buckwheat cakes and cannot eat them because hi s digestion i s bad (p. 261). Mr. Ham has severed himself from the land, and thus compromised hi s true feelings for p r o f i t . At the end of the novel h i s one confidante, Jake, the hired man, forsakes h i s company for that of Henry Bird, the new English butler. Even Mrs. Ham, who might have 57 redeemed her husband with her i n t e g r i t y , becomes enamoured of being waited on by Henry B i r d . Miss Duncan devotes a large part of the novel to an exploration of courtship and marriage. The end r e s u l t i s two matches—one unsatisfactory, one excellent. Verona Daly, Mrs. Adam's s i s t e r becomes betrothed to Lord Robert Walden, a cousin of the Kemballs. Verona i s more of a p o r t r a i t than a person with her cameo complexion and her slim f i g u r e . She i s attracted to Bobs because he can dance, has won a D. S. 0., and possesses a t i t l e . Bobs i s a pleasant and i n e f f e c t u a l simpleton, who t r i e s desperately to court Miss Ham i n the American fashion. After l o s i n g Miss Ham and her money to Val Ingram, he becomes subjected to Verona, who i s not wealthy, but helps him to save face. V i o l e t Ham i s to marry Val Ingram, an American, who i s equal to her i n wealth and s p i r i t . Val refuses to cater to Verona, whom he previously kept company with, expressing annoyance at her adherence to such a r t i f i c i a l habits as keeping him waiting precisely one quarter of an hour. V i o l e t i s as much of a female as Val i s a male. She i s both a ca-pable cook and a charming and clever hostess, V i o l e t and Val have had the l e i s u r e and freedom to ignore aff e c t a t i o n and the acquirement of wealth. They 58 are uniquely and independently American. As a consequence, they have the time to be husband and wife to each other, and i t i s u n l i k e l y that they w i l l become emotionally divorced as the Hams have unconsciously been. Mrs. Ham i s at l a s t receiving male attention i n the form of her English butler, and Mr. Ham i s l e f t alone and bewildered, needing time to think. In Cousin Cinderella (1908) Miss Duncan considers the Canadian heritage and i t s i s s u e . The novel sets forth the adventures of a Canadian brother and s i s t e r , Graham and Mary Trent, i n England. On Christmas Day they i n v i t e Evelyn Dicey, an American heiress, to dine with them i n t h e i r London f l a t : Christmas i s a time i n England when everybody supposes you w i l l be going to more intimate friends. For Graham and me that resulted quite s a t i s f a c t o r i l y , as v/e c e r t a i n l y were our most intimate friends and had only to stay at home; but Evelyn deplored i t . 3 2 Evelyn i s that phenomenon of second generation urban America who has i n h e r i t e d her mother's s o c i a l i n c l i n a t i o n s and her father's shrewd business sense. I t i s not sur-p r i s i n g that her f u l l address at home i s "Roosevelt Towers, Juniper Avenue, Troy, New Jersey" (p. 211). She lacks a home and roots, and as a consequence, she i s concerned with appearances, but more for the purpose 59 of establishing her own i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y , Evelyn arrives at the f l a t looking: a l l slender and lovely i n one of her unapproachable dresses, with the grace and complexion of a flower, i f you could imagine a flower i n pearls that had nothing to do with dew, with i t s h a i r done i n a manner before which any zephyr would sink away abashed, (p. 210) She represents a v i v i d contrast to Graham and Mary with t h e i r simple garb and warm Yuletide thoughts of home and family. Miss Duncan makes i t clear that part of the difference i n s o c i a l attitudes between Miss Dicey and the Trents has a dir e c t p o l i t i c a l cause. During dinner Evelyn compares notes on England with her host and hostess: "Well, compared with t h i s , you won't deny that you're going back to rather a one-horse show," Evelyn challenged him Graham , with a d i s -arming smile, "It's a one-horse show that i s going some day to p u l l the Empire!" Graham retorted good-naturedly, (pp. 212-13) Evelyn disdains Graham's response and we are reminded of some advice she gave him on the occasion of t h e i r f i r s t meeting: "The fact i s you haven't become foreigners y e t — y o u s t i l l belong to them, so of course they think you're of no importance. Become foreigners, get Mr, Ambassador Bryce to come over and write you a Declaration of Inde-pendence, s t a r t a President, and take no further notice of them. They'll 60 adore you. I don't mind giving you the t i p . " (pp. 76-77) Canada has been b u i l t with the a i d of and a sense of pride i n B r i t a i n , and as a consequence, Canadians f e e l l o y a l and indebted to England. Conversely, the United States began when the B r i t i s h t i e s were severed. As a re s u l t America has always competed with Great B r i t a i n . Evelyn's confident superiority has the echo of camouflaged i n f e r i o r i t y . Miss Duncan pursues t h i s contrast with a discussion of systematized charity i n England. Graham, Mary, and Evelyn a l l display the f r o n t i e r ethic of s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y , and look disparagingly upon the bene f i c i a r i e s of B r i t a i n ' s Christmas charity. Evelyn, p a r t i c u l a r l y , i s repulsed by Yuletide beggars: "I saw some 'User of Suburban Trains' writing to the paper the other day to point out that while the porters and ti c k e t c o l l e c t o r s were always 'remem-bered', nobody up to date had thought of the engine-drivers!...Is i t any wonder they a l l 'expect'?—every creature that does a hand's turn i n any capacity, public or private? I f they can't do anything else," Evelyn added disgustedly, "they stand outside your door and sing out of tune." (p. 216) Evelyn abhors the lack of pride that the B r i t i s h caste system has i n s t i l l e d i n the lower classes, which she fe e l s i s the o r i g i n of such unabashed mendicancy. 61 Mary's s e n s i t i v i t y i s much more c o l o n i a l . She relates the reaction of Towse, the Trents' B r i t i s h domestic, upon receiving Mary's g i f t of a pot of chrysanthemums to brighten up the kitchen: "'They ain't a great deal i n my way, and there, i f i t pleases Miss Mary!' They're very good and patient, that kind, over here, I notice. They l e t you do unto others as you wouldn't be at a l l w i l l i n g to have them do unto you. I t ' s rather touching, I think; but, phew! I t ' s a choking atmosphere," (pp, 2 1 5 - 1 6 ) I t i s the patronising parental posture which repels Mary, Yet i n another context, she i s quick to emphasize the relat i o n s h i p which exists between Canada and England: "It's a p i t y , i s n ' t i t , that they've l o s t t h e i r Dickens?" Graham observed,,•. "It's a p i t y we've l o s t our Dickens," I said, with a s l i g h t emphasis, I never l i k e d Graham to drop i n t o that objective way of regarding Great B r i t a i n , especially with Evelyn." (pp. 2 1 6 - 1 7 ) The Canadian i d e n t i t y i s firmly rooted i n the B r i t i s h past, i f not subserviently so i n the B r i t i s h present and future. While Graham i s i n England he becomes attracted to Barbara Pavisay, a young lady with an awesome ancestry, whose family i s now somewhat impoverished. As a r e s u l t , 62 the Pavisay home with i t s i l l u s t r i o u s h i s t o r y seems doomed. The Pavisay p l i g h t b r i n g s out the s t o i c i n Graham who pro-poses marriage to Barbara, i n order that he may r i g h t f u l l y and respectably b r i n g a s a t i s f a c t o r y f i n a n c i a l settlement about. Even Mary, seemingly of a simple nature, i s not i n s e n s i t i v e to the s i t u a t i o n : Again I asked m y s e l f — I almost asked the curate—whether i t was q u i t e un-imaginable that Pavis Court, and Barbara's f u t u r e , and her mother's past, and the Pavisay place i n the h i s t o r y of England, and everybody and everything attached to i t should j u s t — g o ? I must say a dreadful jgulf yawned with the i d e a , and I turned, with a k i n d of f a s c i n a t i o n , to the spectacle of my Roman brother plunging i n . (p. 279) To marry Barbara would be the brave, c o l o n i a l t h i n g t o do. Yet Mary i s able to see beyond the emotion of the moment. Her perception of Barbara i s acute: — B a r b a r a was r e a l l y a dear; we had l o n g ago found that out, a warm-hearted dear, with n i c e ideas about n e a r l y everything....Somehow, i f she had been i n s i g n i f i c a n t and r a t h e r p l a i n l i k e me, i t would have been e a s i e r to see Graham i n love with h e r — h e l i k e d a sketch always b e t t e r than a f i n i s h e d p i c t u r e ; and Barbara was the f i n i s h e d p i c t u r e , that l e f t the imagination nothing at a l l t o do. One i s dazzled f o r a moment, but one i s bored f o r a l l time. (p. 278) 6 3 The brave personal s a t i s f a c t i o n that h i s marriage to Barbara would bring would be an ephemeral consolation for Graham. Miss Duncan does not believe that Canada's manhood should be s a c r i f i c e d to the mother country, the r e s u l t s of which would be castrating. Mary r e a l i z e s what course her brother's future w i l l take i f he weds Barbara: But then there was Pavis Court, and no question of dazzlement or boredom there. Only a long and l o v e l y o f f i c e of keeping the lamp trimmed and r e -plenishing the vessel. Was i t or wasn't i t enough—for a person l i k e Graham? I t wouldn't have been at a l l enough for me; but then I, compared with Graham, was singularly unworthy to entertain such an idea. Only one thing I hoped he wouldn't remember, and that was that he was only, as Evelyn had pointed out, a simple Canuck, who the world would probably, when i t came to hear of the matter, think an extremely lucky fellow. It was a view that was only too l i k e l y to occur to him, and except i n the eyes of the world I could not see that i t had any pertinence whatever, (pp. 2 7 8 - 7 9 ) Miss Duncan uses Graham as a metaphor for Canada and a l l i t holds for the future. A p o l i t i c a l unit, a society, and a person, can a l l be judged by the same c r i t e r i a of actual v a l i d i t y . Canada must search her own national conscience, and coming to grips with her past and her present, adhere 64 to her genuine i n c l i n a t i o n s regarding England. Miss Duncan gives form to t h i s e t h i c a l code i n the conclusion of the novel. Barbara becomes t r u l y fond of Graham, and breaks the engagement. Graham i s b i t t e r at f i r s t , and Mary r e c a l l s his attitude: But of course my frame of mind was dif f e r e n t from Graham's. I had not evolved an i d e a l and c h i v a l r i c pro-ject and had i t returned on my hands as not quite i d e a l and c h i v a l r i c enough. I wasn't suffering, i n the most delicate and high-minded region of my consciousness, from a f e a r f u l , f e a r f u l snub. And poor Graham was. (p. 340) Again the i d e a l , which one cannot l i v e . The productive l i f e must always take r e a l i t y i n t o account. Cousin Cinderella (1908) has i t s l i g h t moments, but Graham i s not comic i n his d i s t r e s s . Mary, as narrator, represents point of view, and she has an empathy for Graham i n h i s youthful pain. The Duchess, a high-minded and proud creature, manages to prevent Lord Peter Doleford from being bought on the marriage market by Evelyn Dicey. However, Evelyn has revenge of a sort by consenting to marry Peter's Uncle Christopher. The marriage enables Evelyn to p r e v a i l , even i f i t i s at a high cost, and gives her a semblance of i d e n t i t y . She also has the s a t i s f a c t i o n of saving Pavisay Court from i t s debtors, and possessing i t h e r s e l f . I t i s 6 5 a s t r i c t business deal, as Lord Doleford points out to Mary, and Evelyn has a shrewd commercial mind: "About Americans," Peter went on with extraordinary candour, "I haven't the same f e e l i n g . They have t h e i r eyes open—they know what's involved and what's understood. I f they care about that kind of a bargain, by a l l means l e t them make i t . " (p. 3 6 1 ) As the conversation indicates, Peter i s an i n t e l l i g e n t and sincere young man. Peter's proposal to Mary i s based on authentic a f f e c t i o n , as i s Mary's acceptance: "But you—you belong to us," he con-tinued i n a voice which anyone would have found penetrating. "You are our own people. We can't marry you on that p r i n c i p l e of commercial bargain ....But I'm a f o o l about t i e s of sen-timent." "Aren't they," I said, "the only wisdom?" (pp. 361-62) The word " t i e s " implies u n i f i c a t i o n . "Sentiment" connotes a fusion of genuine emotion and idea, or what the dictionary defines as an 'attitude, thought, or judgment permeated or prompted by f e e l i n g . " Miss Duncan believes that any legitimate sphere of endeavour must be prompted by sentiment, which i s also a binding force. The marriage of Mary and Peter i s a bond of love. S i m i l a r l y , the Empire must represent a union of true l o y a l t y i f i t i s to be a workable, 66 progressive e n t i t y . In The Crow's Nest ( 1 9 0 1 ) Miss Duncan applies her ethics of s o c i a l behaviour to her own a r t . The novel i s e s s e n t i a l l y a diary of Miss Duncan's experiences i n a garden to which she has been confined for reasons of health. The garden also acts as a source of r e v i t a l i z a t i o n for Miss Duncan's imagination. I t i s a book f u l l of homespun common sense, and overtly t r i t e occurrences. But the s t y l e i s l i g h t and bright, and Miss Duncan manages to f i n d meaning even i n a flower bed. In the freedom of the natural world Miss Duncan finds her innate s e n s i b i l i t e s , which have been dulled by the printed word, sharpened: My regrettable experience i s that you can explore the recesses of your soul out-of-doors i n much les s than a week i f you put your mind to i t , with sur-prise and indignation that you should f i n d so l i t t l e there.33 Miss Duncan believes that the a r t i s t must seek externally i f he i s to write. And he must l i v e i n the present for " i t i s d u l l work subsisting upon the most glorious reminiscences and much wiser to become the shining ornament of the more l i m i t e d sphere to which one may be transferred" (p« 3 5 )• The past and future, although they may be more 6 7 spacious than the present, have only human meaning i n the present• Further, humans are able to perceive only i n human terms. After Miss Duncan has been i n the garden for awhile, she becomes acquainted with the daytime and the inanimate term "weather" exists for her no longer. Rather she senses the mood of the days. She deflects her own knowledge of temperament onto the state of the atmosphere. Pure r e a l i t y , then, does not exist for the human i n l i f e . A c t u a l i t y i s always tinged by one's p a r t i c u l a r s e n s i b i l i t i e s . Of the peonies Miss Duncan remarks: Always they were the f i r s t , i n a certain garden of early c o l o n i a l fashion that I used to know i n Canada, after the long hard winter was past, to push t h e i r red-green beginnings up i n t o the shabby wel-come of March, (p, 4 3 ) Consequently, peonies for Miss Duncan are hardy harbingers of springtime, and suggest new l i f e and gladness. Conversely, the external world af f e c t s the in d i v i d u a l ' s disposition: There i s reason i n the superstition which associates great heat with the d e v i l . Operating alone, i t can do almost as much as he can. (p. 1 3 7 ) I stated e a r l i e r that Miss Duncan admired the B r i t i s h 6 8 society for advancing from the i n d i v i d u a l . I have subse-quently attempted to prove that Miss Duncan believes that one becomes an i n d i v i d u a l through self-knowledge, which can only be obtained by having the s e l f react with the world one i s presented with. Unlike her husband, Ti g l a t h - P i l e s e r , the narrator of The Crow's Nest ( 1 9 0 1 ) does not adhere to the b e l i e f that i t i s "stupid to t a l k about the aggregate of human woe, since a l l the pain as well as a l l the pleasure of the world i s summed up i n the i n d i v i d u a l and l i m i t e d by him" (p. 6 4 ) . Rather she believes that the woes of an i n d i v i d u a l are r e l a t i v e as they are dependent upon h i s attitude. "The human beast of burden i s surely the summing up of p a t h o s -free and valuable are a l l others compared with him" (p.1 6 1 ) . Every human endeavour i s l i m i t e d , then, by point of view and temper of s e n s i b i l i t y . The mist of the September rains "makes one think of the impalpable ba r r i e r of one's environment, possible to break i n any direction but never broken, always there, the bound of one's horizon and the l i m i t of one's a c t i v i t i e s " (p. 2 0 1 ) . Miss Duncan i s a self-conscious a r t i s t as she r e a d i l y admits. Yet she has attempted to do her gardening with scissors and d i s c r e t i o n . She has kept the higher truth i n mind to the extent that t h i s i s possible, yet her writing has always been her own: To have increased the sum of the world's happiness by one's own i s perhaps no great accomplishment, yet i e i t so easy? Neither can i t be c a l l e d especially virtuous to f e e l a l i t t l e better, but what moral s a t i s f a c t i o n i s there to compare with i t ? (p. 247) Clearly, Miss Duncan believes knowledge and acceptance s e l f to be the basis and virtue of her work. CHAPTER III TRAGICOMEDY AND HUMOUR In h i s lecture on Bergson, Hoffding asserts that Bergson "has spoken only of the laughter of mockery; he has neglected the laughter of humour. "-^ Bergson emphasizes what he terms "an absence of f e e l i n g " that accompanies l a u g h t e r . ^ When we look upon l i f e as "disinterested spectators" the comic i s p o s s i b l e . ^ Further, Bergson postulates that there i s something "aesthetic about comedy as i t comes i n t o being just when society and the i n d i v i d u a l , freed from the worry of self-preservation, begin to regard themselves as works of art,"37 i f Hoffding i s r i g h t — a n d I think he i s — i n pronouncing Bergson •s theory to have extreme l i m i t a t i o n s , then these primary hypotheses must be the mainstay of the bias which prohibits a more catholic a p p l i c a t i o n . The tension between the i d e a l ( i n the sense of a fixed norm) and the i n d i v i d u a l who refuses to f i t himself i n t o i t , lends i t s e l f equally well to both comic and tragic e f f e c t s . What determines the import of such oppositions i s the author's 71 point of view, and hi s attitude.-' In His Honour and a  Lady (1896), Miss Duncan's attitude i s di r e c t , and t h i s frankness, coupled with the omniscient vantage point she assumes, allows some diverse e f f e c t s . His Honour and a Lady ( 1 8 9 6 ) i s the story of Judith Church, a young woman "with an inordinately hungry capacity for l i f e " who had had "the narrowest conditions to l i v e i n : " 5 9 She knew by i n t u i t i o n that the world was f u l l of colour and passion, and when one i s tormented with t h i s sort of knowledge i t becomes more than ever grievous to inhabit one of i t s small, d u l l , grimy b l i n d a l l e y s , with the single anticipation of enduring to a smoke-blackened o ld age, l i k e one of Stoneborough's l e s s e r chimneys, (p. 1 3 ) Judith marries John Church for "the sake of her imagination," although there "was nothing i d e a l about John Church except his honesty" (p. 1 3 ) » Hence, we have the prerequisites for the drama. John's i n f l e x i b i l i t y , h i s i d e a l , i s h i s honesty and t h i s t r a i t i s the antithesis of what Bergson labels as "a certain e l a s t i c i t y of mind and body" which enables us to adapt to the perpetually changing l i f e current.** 0 John i s named Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal and sets about l e g i s l a t i n g what he deems much needed education reform. Church proposes to reallocate funds so that new technical 72 schools may be b u i l t , at the expense of Calcutta University: --the three lakhs and seventy-five thousand rupees—that goes every year to make B. A.s of Calcutta University. I t ' s a commonplace to say that i t i s sweated i n annas and pice out of the c u l t i v a t o r s of the v i l l a g e s — p o o r devils who l i v e and breed and rot i n pest-stricken holes we can't a f f o r d to drain for them, who wear one rag the year through and die of famine when the r i c e harvest f a i l s ! (p. 190) John's sense of morality i s absolute, and unhappily for Church, Miss Duncan believes l i f e i s never so elementary. Church's contemporaries view him as a ludicrous simpleton: "His Acting Honour represents to me a number of objectionable things. He i s a Radical, and a Low Churchman, and a P a r t i c u l a r i s t . He's that objectionable e t h i c a l mixture, a.compound of petty v i r t u e s . He believes t h i s earth was created to give him an atmosphere to do h i s duty i n ; and he does i t with the i n v i n c i b l e courage of short-sightedness combined with the notion that the ultimate court of appeal for eighty m i l l i o n Bengalis should be h i s precious Methodist conscience. But the brute's honest, and i f he i n s i s t s on putting t h i s University foolishness of h i s through, I'm sorry for him. He's a dead man, p o l i t i c a l l y , the day i t i s announced, (p. 49) As the passage portends, Church's i n f l e x i b l e p o l i t i c a l morality does cause, i r o n i c a l l y , both h i s p o l i t i c a l and physical demise. 73 Church i s duped by Ancram, the Chief Secretary, who i s his confidant. We f i r s t meet Ancram at a dinner party hosted by the Dayes, his future-in-laws. Mrs. Daye i s a member of that social species Miss Duncan portrays with such dexterity—the pretentious bourgeoisie. Mrs. Daye i s elated that her daughter, Rhoda, i s soon to become the wife of the Chief Secretary and she fancies that the entire Calcutta society i s jealous of the impending marriage. Mrs. Daye's overzealous attention to the manner i n which she ought to behave toward a Chief Secretary brings comedy of the sort that has been delineated previously. Finding her dinner conversation with Mr. Ancram lagging, Mrs. Daye produces her "trump card;" "Oh," she said fin a l l y , "I haven't congratulated you on your 'Modern Influence of the Vedic Books.' I assure you, i n spite of i t s being in blue paper covers and printed by Government I went through i t with the greatest interest. And there were no pictures either," Mrs. Daye added, with the ingenuousness which often clings to Anglo-Indian ladies somewhat late i n l i f e . ..."Really?" he said, looking fu l l y at her, with a smile that had many qualities of compensation. "My dear Mrs. Daye, that was doing a good deal for friendship, wasn't i t ? " (pp. 25-26) Mrs. Daye i s a type figure who i s never individualized. 7k As Bergson contends, "we begin to become imitable only when we cease to be ourselves. Our gestures can only be imitated i n t h e i r mechanical uniformity and therefore exactly i n what i s a l i e n to our l i v i n g personality."^ 1 Mrs, Daye, by endeavouring to be unassuming about her erudition, unwittingly reveals her pretentious f o l l y , and our laughter i s what Bergson labels that of a s o c i a l group. This phenomenon " w i l l come int o being whenever a group of men concentrate t h e i r attention on one of t h e i r number, imposing silence on t h e i r emotions and c a l l i n g i n t o play nothing but t h e i r i n t e l l i g e n c e , " ^ * Mrs, Daye i s embarrassed and we do not f e e l humiliated for her, nor, more importantly, do we f e e l enmity towards her betrayer, Lewis Ancram. On the contrary, Mr, Ancram secures our approval as a man undeceived i n h i s opinion of h i s accomplishments and free from s o c i a l fraud. Hence, as the comic encounter i s resolved one has made a value judgment. The s o c i a l corrective nature of such confrontations makes i t imperative that as we r e j e c t the " i n e l a s t i c i t y , " we accept that which seems free and supple. So we do have feelings, or at l e a s t an i n i t i a l sense of well-being, about characters who possess the essential accommodation necessary for l i f e . We are no longer " d i s i n t e r -ested spectators.""^ Moreover, Mr. Ancram has revealed 7 5 himself to us as a man with a sense of humour, and as we laugh with him, he becomes a member of our s o c i a l group. The Bengalis are also instrumental i n Church's ru i n , and i t i s here that Bergson's hypotheses f a i l most pro-foundly. From the beginning India had slaked Judith Church's t h i r s t for l i f e ' s hearbeat. Even a f t e r eight years of dreary p r o v i n c i a l officialdom, India was a resource: India that lay a l l about her, glowing, profuse, mysterious, fascinating, a place i n which she f e l t that she had no part, could never have any part, but that of a spectator. The gesture of a f a k i r , the red masses of the gold-mohur trees against the blue i n t e n s i t y of the sky, the heavy sweetness of the evening wind, the soft colour and curves of the homeward driven c a t t l e , the l i t t l e naked babies with t h e i r j i n g l i n g anklets i n the bazar—she had begun to turn to these things seeking t h e i r g i f t of pleasure jealously, (p. 1 5 ) Judith i s never forced to comprehend the r e a l i t y of the panorama she views with such g r a t i f i c a t i o n . She i s an on-looker. Freed from the drudgery of what existence e n t a i l s as a participant i n t h i s India which confronts her, she can indulge her taste for the colour and gusto of l i f e i n i t s panoply. Judith's appreciation i s not cerebral. The people of Bengal hold the same recondite magnetism for Judith, for the author, and for the reader: 76 Then came the square dark hole of Abdul Rahman, where he sat i n h i s spectacles and sewed, with h i s long lean legs crossed i n front of him, and h a l f a dozen red-beaked love-birds i n a wicker cage to keep him company. And then the establishment of Saddanath Mookerjee, announcing i n a dazzling fringe of black l e t t e r s : PAINS FEVERANDDISEASES CURED WHILE YOU WAIT (p. 74) Saddanath Mookerjee i s a charlatan; we smile at hi s g u i l e -l e s s pronouncement of h i s dubious trade and at the s i m p l i c i t y of his potential c l i e n t s who believe l i f e ' s i l l s to be so easi l y remedied. Additionally, as Miss Duncan's di c t i o n c l e a r l y intends, l i k e Judith, we are set free from our common conerns and we are attracted to the man: "The old fascination never f a i l e d her; the people and t h e i r doings never became common f a c t s " (p. 7 5 ) , Our reaction, as Freud demonstrates, i s not i n t e l l e c t u a l : the object of the humorist i s to s t r i p away, momentarily the heavy i n t e l l e c t u a l trappings of adult l i f e , i n c luding so many things which we regard as virtues, and to set us free again i n that happy condition which we enjoyed i n the morning of l i f e , when everything came to us freshly; when we did not have to make allowances for the li m i t a t i o n s or misfortunes of others; when we dared to c a l l a thing or a person stupid i f they seemed stupid to us; when we l i v e d gloriously from moment to moment, without thought for the past, or consideration for the future, 45 77 Whether we accept Freud's contention that i n every adult there i s a c h i l d anxious to he indulged, or whether we admit that a longing for freedom from s o c i a l constraint i s latent i n every i n d i v i d u a l , i s of l i t t l e import. What i s of conse-quence i s that we confess that people who manifest such emancipation from the s o c i a l ethics can, for whatever reason, i n c i t e pleasurable f e e l i n g i n us. I t i s the creation of t h i s phenomenon, what Robertson Davies c a l l s looking deep i n t o the heart of l i f e and seeing the fun and nonsense there, which i s most appropriately l a b e l l e d "humour, And c e r t a i n l y "humour," as thus defined, i s an a f f a i r of the heart. Church's downfall provides an i n t e r e s t i n g commentary on Bergson's assertion that i n comedy both society and the i n d i v i d u a l are freed from a concern with self-preservation. Here, with regard to Ancram and the Bengalis, the reader r e g i s t e r s quite d i f f e r e n t responses. Our feelings toward Ancram pivot about our feelings toward Judith Church, Judith openly acknowledges her female vanity and her pleasure at her husband's appointment to Ancram: "Don't imagine a l o f t y intention on my part to i n s p i r e my husband's Resolutions. I assure you I see 78 myself d i f f e r e n t l y . Perhaps, a f t e r a l l , i t i s the f o o l i s h anticipation of my state and splendour that has excited my vain imagination as much as anything. Already, prospectively, I murmur lame nothings i n t o the ear of the Viceroy as he takes me down to dinner! But I am preposterously delighted. Tomorrow i s Sunday—I have an irreverent desire for the prayers of a l l the churches." (p. 1 6 ) Judith's candour and her a b i l i t y to laugh at her own absurd conceit make us f e e l she has i n t e g r i t y . Judith also e l i c i t s our positive feelings as a creature of adaptability. For example, en route to open a bazaar, Judith converses with Lady Scott, who beguiles her with d e t a i l s of an operation she had i n s i s t e d on witnessing at Dufferin Hospital for Women: "I only wonder," said Mrs. Church, "that, holding the position you do on the Board, you didn't i n s i s t on performing the operation yourself": and her face was so grave that Lady Scott f e l t f l a t t e r e d and deprecated the idea. (p. 72) The effect of such encounters i s to give us an assurance that Judith has a sense of proportion and an i n t u i t i v e a b i l i t y to see through people's pretensions. Concisely, when comedy makes us aware of the l i v i n g beneath the s u p e r f i c i a l , i t i s momentarily negative and ultimately positive i n i t s assessment. As Feibleman suggests, comedy 79 i s negative i n that i t i s a " c r i t i c i s m of l i m i t a t i o n s and an unwillingness to accept them," but i t i s positive i n that i t "affirms the direction toward i n f i n i t e value by i n s i s t i n g upon the absurdly f i n a l claims of f i n i t e things and events."' Comedy speaks from a sure knowledge of r e a l l i f e , and i t i s for t h i s reason that we have confidence i n Judith. We know Ancram i s e g o t i s t i c a l . Miss Duncan t e l l s us that he was so l a v i s h i n h i s praise of P h i l i p Doyle, his f r i e n d and room-mate,that "one might have suspected-a virtue i n the expression of i t . Notwithstanding t h i s implication, i t was e n t i r e l y sincere" (p. 1+6), So Ancram i s a man somewhat self-deceived about h i s own vainglorious pretensions, who, nonetheless displays a certain adroitness i n l i f e : I t was Mr. Ancram's desire to be a conspicuous b e n e f a c t o r — t h i s among Indian administrators i s a matter of business, and must not be smiled at as a weakness—and i n very great part he had succeeded. The fact should be remembered i n connection with h i s ex-pressed o p i n i o n — i t has been said that he was not always d i s c r e e t — t h a t the r e l a t i v e s i n the subordinate services of troublesome natives should be sent, on provocation, to the most remote and unpleasant posts i n the province. To those who understand the ramifications of cousinly connection i n the humbler service of the s i r c a r , the detestation of e x i l e and the claims of family 80 aff e c t i o n i n Bengal, the e f f i c a c y of t h i s idea for promoting l o y a l t y w i l l appear. I t was Mr, Ancram's idea, but he despaired of getting i t adopted. Therefore he talked about i t . Perhaps upon t h i s charge he was not so very in d i s c r e e t a f t e r a l l , (p. 105) Ancram i s a scoundrel, but a supple one.- His truculent pragmatism e l i c i t s r e s u l t s , no matter how dubious the means to achieve them. The catalogue of Ancram's methods, dealings, and achievements f u l f i l l s Langer's d e f i n i t i o n of the personal comic antagonist: The f e e l i n g of comedy i s a f e e l i n g of heightened v i t a l i t y , challenged wit and w i l l , engaged i n the great game with Chance, The r e a l antagonist i s the World, Since the personal antagonist i n the play i s r e a l l y that great challenger, he i s r a r e l y a complete . q v i l l a i n ; he i s i n t e r e s t i n g , entertaining," 4'" Ancram i s a b i t of a rogue, but s t i l l he i s a challenger i n the complex Anglo-Indian bureaucracy, and we f e e l a primitive, emotional i n t r i g u e about that sort of s e l f -assertion. Above a l l , we temper our i n t e l l e c t u a l scruples. Not only must a man understand crookedness and be equal to i t i n order to be successful with the Bengalis, but also he must be prepared for a philosophy which has no place for h i s bounded mortal mind: 8 l They are l i k e c a t t l e — t h e y plough and eat and sleep; and i f a tenth of them die of cholera from bad water, they say i t was written upon th e i r foreheads; and i f Government cleans the tanks and the tenth are spared, they say i t i s a good year and the gods are favourable, (p. 3 ° ) Apparently then, our ethics have no place i n such a world, and one would be a f o o l to t r y to apply them. Ancram i s clever, and h i s relationship with Judith gives him even more v a l i d i t y . Judith confesses her love for Ancram despite her knowledge that he i s "hard and c r u e l " (p. 2 1 2 ) . To Ancram, from "that moment she r e a l i s e d to him a supreme good, and he never afterwards thought of h i s other ambitions without a smile of contempt which was almost genuine" (p. 2 0 8 ) . Ancram has taken on another human aspect for us. Ancram rouses public opinion against John Church through the Indian editor of the Bengal Free Press, Mohendra L a i Chuckerbutty. The Bengal Free Press was a voice of the people—a p a r t i c u l a r l y aggressive and pertinacious voice....Its adver-tisements were very funny, and i t s e d i t o r i a l English was more fluent than veracious: but when i t threw mud at the Viceroy, and c a l l e d the Lieutenant-Governor a contemptible tyrant, and reminded the people that 8 2 t h e i r g a l l s were of the yoke of the stranger, there was no mistaking the direction df i t s sentiment, (pp. 1 0 7 - 0 8 ) Ancram plants ideas i n MohendraJs mind as to how to most e f f e c t i v e l y challenge Church's new education b i l l . We are aware that Ancram's motive i s h i s vanity—Church "had not merely ignored the advice of Ancram : he had rejected i t somewhat pointedly, being a candid man and no diplomat" (p. 1 1 2 ) . S t i l l , the Bengal Free Press was obviously a force a n t i t h e t i c a l to Church, with or without Ancram. Ancram's f u l l complicity i s divulged when he writes a l e t t e r to h i s f r i e n d Doyle i n England. I t had long since become obvious "that the College Grants N o t i f i c a t i o n held f a t e f u l p o s s i b i l i t i e s for John Church personally, and for h i s wife i n c i d e n t a l l y " (p. 2 1 8 ) . Annoyed by the gravity with which the Bishop has taken up the cause, Ancram f e l t the need to communicate the comedy i n the s i t u a t i o n to Doyle: He reminds one of nothing so much as an el d e r l y hen s i t t i n g , with the obstinacy of her kind, on eggs out of which i t i s easy to see no addled reform w i l l ever step to crow. He i s as b l i n d as a bat to h i s own d e f i c i e n c i e s . I doubt whether even h i s downfall w i l l convince him that h i s proper sphere of usefulness i n l i f e was that of a Radical cobbler. He has a noble preference for the i d e a l of an impeccable Indian ad-ministrator, which he goes about con-templating, while h i s beard grows with the t a l e of h i s blunders, (pp. 2 2 2 - 2 3 ) 8 3 When we learn that Ancram has been l e d on by h i s vanity to reproduce some of the phrasing he had o r i g i n a l l y written for the damaging e d i t o r i a l against Church i n the Bengal Free Press, we are forced to make a moral decision which i s exactly what comic antagonists cannot withstand. Morality, which i s primarily i n t e l l e c t u a l , makes us awaken, l i k e Doyle, to a double-edged awareness: He permitted himself no characterisation of the i n c i d e n t — l o f t y denunciation was not part of Doyle's habit of mind—beyond what might have been expressed i n the some-what disgusted smile with which he r e - l i g h t e d h i s pipe. I t was l i k e him that h i s p r i n c i p a l r e f l e c t i o n had a personal tinge, and that i t was f o r c i b l e enough to f i n d words. "And I," he said, with a twinkle at h i s own expense, " l i v e d nine months i n the same house with that skunk!" (p. 226) There i s b i t t e r comedy at our own f o l l y i n being so com-placent about Ancram, which i s simultaneous with an under-l y i n g sense of tragedy at the consequences t h i s unscrupulous attitude has, not only for Church, but for a world which values probity. Our own cosmos has been violated; Church, symbolizing i t s consummate c r i t e r i a , i s imperiled. Moreover, we are aware of Church's f o i b l e s , and we are l e f t with no code to adhere to. The reader dwells i n uncertainty—the "disgusted smile" of the tragicomic (p. 226). This phenomenon may be likened to the man i n the 84 desert who sets out for water, and i n the evening finds he has moved i n a f u l l c i r c l e . Guthke comments: This experience i s one of the i d e n t i t y and simultaneity of the " t r a g i c " and the ludicrous i n t h i s moment of t r u t h . And progressive " i n t e l l e c t u a l " analysis w i l l by no means destroy the one or the other, the tragic or the comic, but w i l l , on the contrary, r e a l i z e i n an i n f i n i t e l y deepened r a t i o n a l awareness, that both are, i n f act, interdependent. The impression of tragic f u t i l i t y i s surely not obliterated by the d i s t i n c t l y comic form and appearance that i t takes. And, conversely, the aesthetic appreciation of the comic constellation, of the c i r c u l a r movement, i s i n no way weakened by the s h r i l l tragic overtone that suddenly pierces our ears. More than that, f u l l i n t e l l e c t u a l r e a l i z a t i o n of the quality of such a scene or moment w i l l make us aware that the tragic and comic are here not only simultaneous and i d e n t i c a l , but also that they heighten each o t h e r . 5 0 We extol v i r t u e , and yet we do not believe that virtue i s always e f f e c t i v e . We are attracted by adeptness, and yet when adeptness v i o l a t e s morality i n a personal manner, we are repulsed. The b i t t e r comic sense of the absurdity of such values, makes the tragedy of such thinking even more intense. Miss Duncan gives us a detailed and poignant account of Church's decease: For an instant Judith, coming out at the sound of hoofs, f a i l e d to recognize her husband, he looked, with a thick 85 white powder of dust over h i s beard and eyebrows, so old a man. He stooped i n h i s saddle, too, and a l l the gauntness of hi s face and figure had a deeper accent, (p. 238) Church i s a pathetic posture when he receives word that he must resign as Lieutenant-Governor, and yet, a f t e r h is death, Judith i s a l l t o o anxious to be r i d of the unhappy burden of tragedy: In spite of her conscience, which was a good one, there were times when Mrs. Church was shocked by the r e a l i s a t i o n that she was only t r y i n g to believe herself unhappy, (p. 279) Man i s not i n c l i n e d to tragedy for a long period; rather, h i s natural i n s t i n c t i s toward the "elan v i t a l " — w h a t Langer l a b e l s "the pure sense of l i f e . " " ^ The human l i f e - f e e l i n g i s at once animalistic and cerebral: Mankind has i t s rhythm of animal existence, t o o — t h e s t r a i n of main-ta i n i n g a v i t a l balance amid the al i e n and impartial chances of the world, complicated and heightened by passional desires....Symbolic construction has made t h i s vastly involved and extended world: and mental adroitness i s hi s chief asset for exploiting i t . The pattern of his v i t a l f e e l i n g , therefore, r e f l e c t s h i s deep emotional r e l a t i o n to those symbolic structures that are h i s r e a l i -t i e s , and h i s i n s t i n c t u a l l i f e modified i n almost every way by thought—a brainy opportunism i n face of an e s s e n t i a l l y dreadful universe.5 2 86 Miss Duncan plays o f f t h i s tension between the natural predilection for l i v i n g and the moral impulse toward mourning. There can be l i t t l e doubt that a t a r t comic sense of absurdity i s present (man's duality of nature makes i t i n e v i t a b l e ) , and contradictory to Bergson's thesis, the death of John Church even becomes subject matter: Ancram s t i l l considered him an ass, but h o s t i l i t y had faded out of the opinion, which, when he mentioned i t , dwelt rather upon that animal's power of endurance and other excellent q u a l i t i e s , Ancram f e l t himself d i s t i n c t l y on better terms with the l a t e Ideutenant-Governor, and h i s fe e l i n g was accented by the fact that John Church died i n time to avoid the necessity for a more formal resignation. His Chief Secretary f e l t personally indebted to him for that, on e t h i c a l grounds, (p. 278) Again and again Miss Duncan plays on our a b i l i t y to disavow our moral feelings, u n t i l at the end of the novel, the comic and tragic are synthesized again when Judith becomes f u l l y aware of Ancram's dastardly actions, Judith makes a decision for morality, and consequent subjection to a l i f e of penury. There i s tragedy i n the f u t i l i t y of John Church's l i f e which could not even provide a comfortable pension for 87 hi s widow. At the same time we experience a grotesque sense of comedy i n the fact that Ancram i s appointed Lieutenant-Governor: One day, a year l a t e r , S i r Lewis Ancram paused i n h i s successful conduct of the a f f a i r s of Bengal long enough to state the case with ultimate emphasis to a c o n f i d e n t i a l l y i n q u i r i n g f r i e n d . "As the wife of my l a t e honoured ch i e f , " he said, "I have the highest admiration and respect for Mrs. Church; hut the world i s wrong i n thinking that I have ever made her a proposal of marriage; nor have I the s l i g h t e s t i n -tention of doing so." (p. 321) Miss Duncan c l e a r l y opts for Judith's moral decision, hut as the f i n a l passage suggests her position i s tenuous at best. The scoundrels survive rather well i n the temporal world and constantly threaten the scheme of things. Even for the person of p r i n c i p l e i t i s a constant struggle to overcome h i s att r a c t i o n to the compliant Ancrams who f l o u r i s h i n society. Man's very duality creates the tragicomic, that i s , his a b i l i t y to be at once both physical and emotional, s p i r i t u a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l . Our animality constantly vies with our i n t e l l i g e n c e for s u p e r i o r i t y . The phenomenon of the tragicomic i s distinguished from humour which has as i t s basis what Guthke terms "an 53 ultimate reassurance:" 88 the v i s i o n of the humorist encompasses the great and the small things i n the world, pleasures and sufferings, worth and worthlessness, becoming and perish-ing, the tragic and the comic—but a l l t h i s i s seen from the firm standpoint of knowing tolerance or, to use a d i f -ferent image, i t i s seen within the framework of a world that i s intact.54 Miss Duncan views the Bengalis with the same tolerance one exercises towards children. Children, l i k e the Bengalis, are exempt from our e t h i c a l pattern; they l i v e by a code of values which remains somewhat u n i n t e l l i g i b l e to the outsider. In any event, i n His Honour and a Lady ( 1896) the Bengalis do not display by themselves any s i n i s t e r or threatening c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . They, l i k e the reader and the Churches, are primarily victims of Anglo-India's defective human design. When Dr. Maclnnes departs for England to decry Church's educational policy on the grounds that i t w i l l be detrimental to the cause of Christian converts i n the university, he takes along Shib Chunder Bhose: Shib Chunder Bhose had been found w i l l i n g , i n consideration of a second-class passage, to accompany Dr. Maclnnes i n the character of a University graduate who was also a Christian convert. Shib Chunder's father had married a Mohamedan woman, and so l o s t h i s caste, whereafter he embraced C h r i s t i a n i t y because Father Ambrose's predecessor had given him four annas every time he came to catechism. 89 Shib Chunder i n h e r i t e d the paternal r e l i g i o n , with contumely added on the score of hi s mother, and, since he could make no other pretension, figured i n the College r e g i s t e r as a Ch r i s t i a n . A young man anxious to keep pace with the times, he had been a Buddhist since, and afterwards professed h i s f a i t h i n the tenets of theosophy; but whenever he f e l t i l l or l o s t money he returned i r r e s i s t a b l y to the procedure of h i s youth, and offered r i c e and marigolds to the Vi r g i n Mary. Dr. Maclnnes there-fore c e r t a i n l y had the facts on h i s side when he affectio n a t e l y referred to h i s young fri e n d as l i v i n g testimony to the work of educational missions i n India. (pp. 229-30) C h r i s t i a n i t y to a i d the soul i s being promulgated i n India by m a t e r i a l i s t i c incentives. The Bengalis are quick to seize t h i s basic v e r i t y and use i t to t h e i r advantage. The Bengalis, i n t h e i r anxiety to be as acceptable and s o p h i s t i -cated as the English, are only i m i t a t i n g the pattern of the r e l i g i o u s leaders. The di s t o r t i o n l i e s within the human structure of the missions, not within the inherent values of the r e l i g i o u s sects themselves. Two p r i n c i p l e s of humour, as elucidated by Leacock, are evident here—our sympathy for the human f r a i l t y of Shib Chunder Bhose and our own shattered idealism: i f a man has a genuine sense of humour, he i s apt to take a somewhat melancholy, or at l e a s t a d i s i l l u s i o n e d view of l i f e . 90 Humour and disillusionment are twin s i s t e r s . Humour cannot exist along-side of eager ambition, brisk success, and absorption i n the game of l i f e . Humour comes best to those who are down and out, or who have at l e a s t discovered t h e i r l i m i t a t i o n s and t h e i r f a i l u r e s . Humour i s e s s e n t i a l l y a comforter, r e c o n c i l i n g us to things as they are i n contrast to things as they might be.55 Miss Duncan has revealed the f a l l a c y of the benevolent and wise r u l e r s from the Motherland. The self-preservative s p i r i t of the Bengalis i n the face of a l l t h i s a l i e n and f a l s e benefaction i s s o l a c e — a reinforcement of l i f e ' s ultimate a b i l i t y to go on l i v i n g . Leacock says t h i s r e c o n c i l i a t i o n i s the f i n a l stage of the evolution of amusement: when men become too sympathetic to laugh at each other for i n d i v i d u a l defects or i n f i r m i t i e s which once moved t h e i r mirth, i t i s surely not strange that sympathy should then begin to unite them, not i n common lamentation for t h e i r common defects and i n f e r i o r i t i e s , but i n common amusement at them.56 We have seen i n Ancram and Judith and the assorted members of the Anglo-Indian community, what v i l e deficiency l i e s at the base of our own advanced c i v i l i z a t i o n . We have nothing by fellow-feeling upon viewing the pusillanimous 91 Bengali character. In The Path of a Star (1899). Miss Duncan t e l l s us that Calcutta society had not attained t h i s advanced and enlightened sense of humour: I t may as well be shortly admitted, however, that to s t i r Calcutta's sense of comedy you must, for example, attempt to corner, by shortsightedness or faulty technical equipment, a c i v e t cat i n a jackal hunt, or, coming out from England to assume o f f i c i a l duties, you must take a larger view of your d i g n i t i e s than the clubs are accustomed to admit. For the sex that does not hunt jackals i t i s e a s i e r — y o u have only to be a l i t t l e f r i v olous and Calcutta w i l l invent for you the most side-shaking nickname, as i n the case of three ladies known i n a viceroyalty of happy legend as the World, the Flesh, and the Devil. 5 7 Leacock states: The f i n a l stage of the development of humour i s reached when amusement no longer arises from a single "funny" idea, meaningless contrast, or odd play upon words, but rests upon a pro-longed and sustained conception of the incongruities of human l i f e i t s e l f . 5 8 The material that was cause for laughter i n Calcutta does not even adequately f u l f i l l the d e f i n i t i o n of comic incident. Miss Duncan c l e a r l y intends t h i s d e f i c i t to be a disparaging comment upon the crude stage of human development i n which English Calcutta i s languishing. 92 True humour i s the product of an advanced culture. As such, humour i s a sustained philosophy rather than a series of clever happenings, and as Leacock affirms, i t i s "unquotable i n single phrases and paragraphs, but... jjjroduces] i t s effect i n a long-drawn picture of human l i f e , i n which the universal element of human i m p e r f e c t i o n — a l i k e i n a l l ages and p l a c e s — e x c i t e s at once our laughter and our tears. "^ 9 In The Path of a Star 0899), Miss Duncan explores what Leacock terms "the contrast between the f r e t t i n g cares and petty sorrows of the day and the long mystery of tomorrow.' Humour i s at best a delicate balance. Of pathos and humour Leacock writes, "United, each tempers and supports the other: pathos keeps humour from breaking in t o guffaws, and humour keeps pathos from subsiding i n t o sobs." Clearly, Miss Duncan's task i s not f a c i l e . Ideally, humour of the Leacock variety w i l l demonstrate that: people are better than t h e i r surface often reveals, that the r e a l truth about l i f e i s to be found not i n the arb i t r a r y and accidental events that actually do occur, but i n the general conditions of l i f e : the motivation and the impossible aspiration of man, the i r o n i c poetry of human hopes and 93 desires, t h e i r purity and passion and magnificence, and a l l caught within a f r a g i l e and decaying physical carcass and i s s u i n g only i n stunted and distorted forms."2 The Path of a Star 0 899) abounds i n "stunted forms" 6 5 and the "arbitrary and accidental events" which are t h e i r i s s u e . ^ One must look underneath.the d r o l l tableau of characters to see at work the "kindly contemplation" of l i f e which distinguishes the philosophy of the humourist. 6^ The focal point of the novel i s Hilda Howe, an actress who i s the leading lady of the p r i n c i p a l theater i n Calcutta. Colourful and remarkable, Hilda appears a modern, s e l f -made woman of the nineteenth century with a t a s t e f u l , surface sense of place and people. When she becomes involved i n a rel a t i o n s h i p with Stephen, a lean, mild p r i e s t , who i s an ascetic with motive ( i . e. he wishes to be free of the world for h i s own sake), her character i s revealed as something unexpected. Hilda has a strong predilection for the v i t a l : My kind of l i f e i s so primitive, so simple; i t i s one pure impulse, you don't know. One only asks the things that minister—one goes and finds and takes them; one's feet i n the straw, one's head under any roof. What d i f -ference does i t make? The only thing that counts, that rules, i s the chance of seeing something else, f e e l i n g something more, doing something better. (p. 163) 9k Hilda's l i f e i s a series of points of f e e l i n g , and t h i s experience has l e f t i t s mark: She had a l l the argument—which i s l i k e saying a l l the arms—and the most accurate understanding; but the only p r a c t i c a l outcome of these things had been an intimate lesson i n the small value of the i n t e l l i g e n c e , that flavoured her state with cynicism and made i t more piquant, (p. l 8 l ) Hilda i s a predator i n l i f e . Operating on raw i n s t i n c t , she does not f e e l any need to be answerable to the people and happenings that are her prey. When Hilda meets Stephen, who i s almost womanish i n hi s taste for finery and the solitude of the c l o i s t e r , she finds a companion who makes no demands, and l e t s her play out a most absorbing drama of thwarted love. Being with Stephen f i l l s Hilda with "a triumphant sense of her own v i t a l i t y , her success and value as a human u n i t " (p. 200). Unconscious at f i r s t to Hilda, Stephen once aroused, displays a l l the adolescent maladroitness of a man enamoured for the f i r s t time. Death intervenes and prevents Stephen from renouncing his vows and marrying Hilda, by now a Carmelite nun. At Stephen's deathbed, Hilda muses about: the very v i v i d perception she had at that hour of the value and significance of the earthly lot....Time for r e f l e c t i o n , 95 alone with death and the lamp, upon the year that had been very valuable. "I would have married you," she whis-pered. "Yes, I would." Later her l i p s moved again. "I would have taken the consequence;" and again, "I would have paid any penalty." There he lay, a burden that she would never bear, a burden that would be gone i n the morning. There were moments when she cr i e d out on Fate for doing her t h i s kindness, (pp. 307-08) For Hilda the year has been p i c t o r i a l and p r o f i t a b l e . Hilda i s suggestive of so many B r i t i s h o f f i c i a l s who come to India, and l i v e o f f i t s blood for the sake of absorbing i t s charm. Hilda, we are t o l d , never considered "what she ought to f e e l " (p. 3 ° 2 ) . This depreciative comment on the brutal behaviour of the human species when i t lacks morality and operates on passion, i s m o l l i f i e d by Stephen, who, i n the bonds of death, becomes a most unsuspecting purveyor of the s i n c e r i t y of human feeling: The room f i l l e d i t s e l f with something that had not been there before, h i s impotent love. . . . " I f t h i s had not happened I would have been—counted—among the unfaith- • f u l , " he sa i d . "I know now. I would have abandoned—my post. And g l a d l y — without a r e g r e t — f o r you." (pp. 3O/+-O5) Refusing to be confessed by hi s Church, and not asking to be caressed by Hilda, Stephen dies with h i s hand i n Hilda's, 96 secure within the human sphere which has been so recently unveiled to him: "i n the end he trusted the new wings of his mortal love to bear h i s soul to i t s immortality. They carried t h e i r burden buoyantly, i t was such a l i t t l e way" (p» 3 ° 9 ) . Stephen's earthly love did not imperil'the future of h i s soul i n eternity; rather, the humanity of h i s f e e l i n g coalesced him with perpetuity. Even i n such a sequestered and barren sample of mankind, the human s p i r i t s t r i v e s ; Hilda's brutish dilettantism i s half-way redeemed by having prompted such a display of mortality. The benevolent recognition of the irony of responsiveness at the moment of extinction, and the b e l i e f i n the i n v i n c i b i l i t y of the human soul are the mark of the humourist philosophy. The subplots reinforce the philosophical contention i n the manner of a pastiche. Duff Lindsay and Laura F i l b e r t present f i t t i n g p a r a l l e l s to Stephen and Hilda, with t h e i r r o l e s altered s u f f i c i e n t l y to underscore the narrative's primary thrust. Duff i s f i r s t attracted to the physical appeal of Laura's voice at a Salvation Army meeting, much as Stephen had f i r s t become cognizant of Hilda when she starred i n The Offence 97 of G a l i l e e . Duff, we are to l d , i s not a strong man: •"He's immensely dependent on h i s tastes, h i s friends, h i s circumstances'" (p. 2 9 8 ) . He explains quite naively h i s desire to marry Laura: "What marks her even more i s the wonderful purity and transparency of her mind; one doesn't f i n d i t often now, women's souls are so clouded with knowledge. I think that sort of thing appeals especially to me because my own design i s n ' t the lea s t esoteric. I'm only a man. Then she was so ludicrously out of her element. A creature l i k e that should be surrounded by the softest refinement i n her daily l i f e . That was my chance. I could off e r her her place. I t ' s not much to counter-balance what she i s , but i t helps, roughly speaking, to equalise matters." (pp. 184-85) Duff's motives are not as candid as he surmises. Like Hilda, Duff finds a pleasurable image of himself as valuable and essential to Laura, and i t i s an image un-clouded by consequences. When the consequences i n e v i t a b l y develop, Duff i s ready, l i k e Hilda, to pay any price and s a c r i f i c e himself on the nuptial a l t a r . Moreover, Duff, l i k e Hilda, i s saved from s e l f - o b l a t i o n by a peculiar quirk of circumstance. Laura, the Salvation Army functionary, resembles 98 Stephen i n her unconsciousness to l i f e ; however, while Stephen was moved by the finery of the Church, Laura's only impetus i s the baseness of the Army r e l i g i o u s fervour. Nevertheless, Laura, gauche and simple-minded, reaches a pathetic epiphany through her encounter with Duff, En route to India for her wedding to Duff, Laura meets Colonel Marktn of the Salvation Army, a character whose d u p l i c i t y i s i n the best t r a d i t i o n of Miss Duncan's t a r t comic delineations. Through Colonel Markin, Laura r e a l i z e s how complicated her marriage to Duff w i l l be and determines to return to the s i m p l i c i t y and comfort of her forsaken missions. P r i o r to becoming Mrs. Markin, Laura abandons a l l the remnants of her tempting and never to be attained finery: She already had the turquoises, and with a jerk of her l e f t hand, she freed i t and threw them a f t e r the r e s t . The necklace caught the hand r a i l as i t f e l l , and Markin made a vain spring to save i t . He turned and stared at Laura, who stood f i g h t i n g the greatest puissance of f e e l i n g she had known, looking at the pearls. As he stared she kissed them twice, and then, leaning over the ship's side, l e t them slowly s l i d e out of her fingers and f a l l i n t o the waves below. The moonlight gave them a divine gleam as they f e l l . She turned to Markin with tears i n her eyes, "Now," she fa l t e r e d , "I can be happy again. But not tonight," (pp. 292-93) 99 Laura i s insensible to l i f e , and i n discarding her jewellery she r e a l i z e s for the f i r s t and f i n a l time, a human desire. She i s a most somber Christian, and i t i s i r o n i c that her moments of joy were a r e s u l t of material things. I t i s a diminutive greed and anguish which Laura experiences, but i t provides her lone mortal moments. At the end of the novel, Miss Duncan writes: There has never been any d i f f i c u l t y i n explaining Lindsay's marriage with A l i c i a Livingstone even to himself; the reasons for i t , indeed, were so many and so obvious that he wondered why they had not struck him e a r l i e r . But i t i s worth noting, perhaps, that the immediate p r e c i p i t a t i n g cause arose i n one evening service at the Cathedral, where i t had i t s b i r t h i n the very i n d i v i d u a l charm of the nape of A l i c i a ' s neck, as she knelt upon her hassock i n the f i t t i n g and graceful act of the responses, (p, 310) A l i c i a Livingstone i s the counterpoint of The Path of a Star (1899)—a woman whose l i f e experience has been narrow, she nevertheless comprehends l i f e both emotionally and i n t e l l e c t u a l l y . She possesses both self-knowledge and humanity. In the true t r a d i t i o n of humour, i t i s not any sudden appreciation of A l i c i a ' s astuteness which awakens Duff to her many assets; rather, as i t has been for the male ad infinitum, Duff i s i n i t i a l l y a l l u r e d by her physical charms. 1 0 0 Mies Duncan cannot ignore a s l y jest at the expense of Duff's vanity, which prompted hi s infatuation with Laura: His i n s t i n c t s i n these matters seem to have had a generous range, consi-dering the tenets he was born to, but i t was to him then a d e l i g h t f u l r e f l e c t i o n , often since repeated, that i n the sheltered garden of delicate perfumes where t h i s sweet person took her s p i r i t u a l pleasure there was no rank vegetation, (p. y\ 1 ) L i f e ' s need for Duff was not as dramatic and absolute as he had envisioned. The ultimate i s s u e — a most suitable marriage with A l i c i a — p r o v i d e s a sense of human well-being. As the novel concludes everything i s resolved and everyone i s placed confidentally i n h i s proper sphere. Hilda i s restored to the stage, protesting too much that she means someday to abandon i t for "the l i f e which i s her heritage i n the wider, simpler ways of the world" (p. 3H)» But l i f e requires self-involvement which i s too exacting a price for Hilda to pay. Stephen receives eternity to which he had devoted most of h i s l i f e . Laura has returned to her missions as the wife of Colonel Markin, of whom Duff comments with resignation and r e l i e f , "'One hopes he i s n ' t a brute" 1 (p. 3 1 0 ) . The tone i s congenial, and contrasts e f f e c t i v e l y with the concluding cast of His Honour and a Lady ( 1 8 9 6 ) • 101 With The Burnt Offering (1909) Miss Duncan resolves the philosophical dilemma of His Honour and a Lady O 8 9 6 ) , and manages to assert the positive t r e a t i s e of the humourist, even a f t e r the untimely death of an able Anglo-Indian administrator. The Burnt Offering ( 1 9 0 9 ) deals, as does so much of Miss Duncan's writing, with the effects of new environements on the i d e n t i t i e s of the protagonists. As the book opens, Vulcan M i l l s , a s e l f - s t y l e d s o c i a l i s t i c i d e a l i s t , who i s the "romance of the B r i t i s h p r o l e t a r i a t , " has arrived i n India to r i g h t the e v i l s being perpetrated i n the name of the Crown. 6 6 We are under no i l l u s i o n s about Vulcan; he sat "earnestly at Westminster with h i s feet upon the f l o o r and h i s policy i n the clouds" (p. 1 9 ) . An enthusiastic follower of John Stuart M i l l , Vulcan "did not read far enough to be disappointed" (p. 2 8 ) . Vulcan, i n a l l the t r i a l s to come, never loses h i s i n f a n t i l e and benighted stance. Ever seeing himself as a champion of humanity, M i l l s i s a tragicomic figure: I think they jjoan and M i l l s ] made courageous figures standing there i n the mantle of t h e i r ignorance and the f i r e of t h e i r enthusiasm with t h e i r eyes on the door and t h e i r banner between them waiting for the crusade to begin, (p. 30) 102 We f e e l for M i l l s the sense that Guthke describes as simultaneously tragic and comic—the inc r e d i b l e idealism of the man which makes him both cause for mirth and an i n s t i g a t o r of c a l a m i t y . ^ yje view him with distance as he blatantly ignores the severity of the p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n fermenting around him, and, just as suddenly, i n an intimate moment we f i n d ourselves drawn to him. When M i l l s ponders the marriage of h i s daughter and Bepin Dey, t h i s duality i s manifest: "I suppose I must decide, father, one way or another, 1 1 Joan said, and paused. "You yourself have always believed i n the mingling of the races, haven't you? You have always thought that the prejudice against i t was the mere sur v i v a l of a t r i b a l f e t i s h , and that the people of the future would be one people?" "Those are ce r t a i n l y my general views," r e p l i e d Vulcan, none too w i l l i n g . Again he kept back the other h a l f of his thought, which was, "But you are my p a r t i c u l a r and only daughter." ..."I thought that you might possibly have some personal f e e l i n g about i t , father," she sa i d . She leaned forward as she spoke, and l a i d her hand on his knee. He covered i t with h i s own, and they had t h e i r moment of unspoken things. When he did a r t i c u l a t e , i t was nothing r e -markable that he sa i d . "I s h a l l be sorry to lose you, my g i r l , " he t o l d her; "but that i s a point of view I could never allow my-s e l f to take." 1 0 3 At that she k i s s e d him a l i t t l e awkwardly and went out of the room. Vulean, l e f t alone, f e l t the howl of h i s pipe, found i t c o l d , and l a i d i t by. He sat f o r a l o n g time t h i n k i n g without that s o l a c e , the unopened newspaper on the f l o o r beside him. I t may have crossed h i s mind, not unreasonably, t h a t i t was hard to be i n v i t e d to the act of Abraham without any compensating f a i t h i n Abraham's God. But he d i d not h e s i t a t e on that account, and to t h i s extent, p l a i n man though he was, no doubt he soared above the p a t r i a r c h , (pp. 180-81) M i l l s ' p a t e r n a l f e e l i n g s r e q u i r e empathy; concurrently, the p e r s o n a l i z a t i o n of Vulcan's i d e a l i s m i s laughable. The moment of r e a c t i v e i n d e c i s i o n i s ephemeral however, f o r M i l l s i s a creature of h a b i t and r e t u r n s with barely a whimper to the c o l d comfort of h i s romantic d o c t r i n e s . M i l l s i s beyond h i s predicament. P a t h e t i c a l l y , he i s an untouchable robot l a b e l l i n g escapism as g a l l a n t equanimity, unable to cope i n any profound manner with the very p r i v a t e moral c r i s i s which has evolved. M i l l s i s a dreamer to the end, but h i s v i s i o n s are never d i s o r i e n t a t i n g to the u l t i m a t e framework of the n o v e l . Miss Duncan questions only M i l l s ' a b i l i t y to enact h i s l o f t y i d e o l o g y . In the r e s o l u t i o n of The Burnt O f f e r i n g (1909)* the cosmological p r i n c i p l e of the humourist i s everywhere evident. Even the i n t e r m i n g l i n g and a s s e r t i o n of the TOZf B r i t i s h and Indian worlds, bringing as i t does the central c o n f l i c t of the novel, i s c l a s s i f i e d , s i m p l i f i e d , and disentangled. M i l l s i s quietly deported, which brings the Indian revolutionary a c t i v i t i e s to a c r i t i c a l juncture. Yet M i l l s i s impassive to the end, and Miss Duncan knowingly t e l l s us: "He was very deeply astonished but the law abiding i n s t i n c t s he had devoted so many years to denying did not f a i l him when he needed them, and he went quiet l y " (p. 231), And so i n the end M i l l s i s an aging Walter Mitty, i n whom the reader doubtless sees some recognizable t r a i t s — an i r o n i c comment about the way we actually are and the way we fancy ourselves to be. We f e e l at once pathos, humour, and sympathy. Finding i t impossible to i n c i t e any fervour for a hero "who has gone comfortably to sea at the State's expense," Bepin Dey, the unbalanced and vain zealot of the Indian cause, i s forced to a daring act (p, 2^3), His assassination attempt on the Viceroy i s thwarted, although John Game, the compassionate and ef f e c t i v e B r i t i s h administrator, dies f i n a l l y and suitably enough from bloodpoisoning i n h i s wounds: "Tetanus awaits the barked skin i n the mud of 105 Calcutta, and i t had a better chance at poor John than that" (p. 283). Clearly, the implication i s that the exhaustion, from so many years devoted to the B r i t i s h cause i n India, has f i n a l l y broken Game's stamina. The bizarre incident which preceded Game's death was the l a s t l i n k i n a chain reaction for Game. Of Bepin Dey's demise, Miss Duncan writes: I t looked as i f the old gods had checkmated Bepin i n a move too high for him; they are known to prefer to keep the game i n t h e i r own hands. His name went i n t o the shadows with him. He became, with cruel quickness, the mere accident that f i n a l l y turned a people of philosophers from the methods of madness. Perhaps i t was to that end that he was allowed to play. (p. 2 8 4 ) Bepin suffered from an excess of what Leacock termed "the CQ comedy of the short reach and the long desire." Further, even i n the f o o l i s h and s i n i s t e r ends to which he aspired, Bepin i s not viewed as an ignoble being. He had a sense of purpose, however i l l - c o n c e i v e d , and ultimately fate who had "put her fool's cap on him, hiding the shape with l a u r e l s , " turned h i s luckless fortitude to better ends (p. 2 3 4 ) • Shaw's description of Ibsen c l a r i f i e s the tone of the foregoing passage: 106 the dramatic poet who firmly established tragi-comedy as a much deeper and grimmer entertain-ment than tragedy. His heroes dying without hope or honor, h i s dead, forgotten, superseded men walking and ta l k i n g with the ghosts of the past, are a l l heroes of comedy: t h e i r existence and t h e i r downfall are not soul-purifying convulsions of p i t y and horror, but reproaches, challenges, c r i t i c i s m s addressed to society and to the spectator as a voting constituent of society. They are miserable and yet not hopeless; for they are mostly c r i t i c i s m s of fals e i n t e l l e c t u a l positions which, being i n t e l l e c t u a l , are remediable by better thinking.69 Bepin i s not society's victim, nor i s he the f o o l of the gods as much as he i s h i s own dunce, a martyr to h i s own deluded cause. The gods have merely r e c t i f i e d an anomaly. The r e a l India i s represented by the Rani Janaki, her father S i r Kristodas, and the Swami. They become a metaphor for India i t s e l f , and i n the f i n a l pages of the novel Miss Duncan writes with a prescience of the future: The old man wears the sannyasi's yellow l i k e the very garment of h i s soul, the g i r l seems rather to wrap her heart i n i t ; the p r i e s t and h i s garb are one....Henceforth from holy place to holy place they w i l l gather that wisdom of the heart that rewards the roof that shelters them, the hand that feeds them, that wisdom of the heart which i s the g i f t and the 107 glory of the Mother whose children they are. Henceforth, by remembering ever the Rule and the Real, by holding with t h e i r own souls the eternal con-versation of peace, they w i l l endeavour to forget that which so impressed i t s e l f as l i f e . L i f e not having pleased them, they have exercised towards i t the pro-found and delicate option which i s t h e i r inheritance: they have l e f t i t i n the world, (pp. 287-88) The B r i t i s h w i l l gain wisdom from sheltering the Mother, and someday a new India w i l l emerge. As symbolized by S i r Kristodas returning h i s Order of the Indian Empire, the India that w i l l evolve w i l l not be based exclusively on the B r i t i s h t r a d i t i o n , nor w i l l i t be founded e n t i r e l y on the Indian nature. A new and superior coalescence, which has as i t s foundation both the expertise of the B r i t i s h and the profound sagacity of the Indian inheritance, w i l l form the new nation. Even John Game, virtuous and honourable as he was, dies without regret and within t h i s universal scheme: John Game died, and the ranks closed up, and another man made the footprints that would have been h i s where the f l a g moves on i n the history of the race. The ranks closed up, as they always have, as they always w i l l , since there can be no f a l t e r i n g i n the front, whatever they ! may do i n the rear, no turning back for the vanguard from the end they cannot see....I f i n d myself lending an ear to the observations of Michael Foley, who 1 0 8 said to h i s wife: " I f i t was expedient that only one man should die for the people, I fancy, as things have turned out, old John was pleased enough that i t should be he." (pp. 2 8 3 - 8 4 ) Miss Duncan's world i s i n t a c t . She envisions even death within the terms of the unfolding history of man. Man i s compelled to move ever onward, ever forward. I t i s t h i s momentum which i s l i f e i t s e l f , and which Sara Duncan, the humourist, celebrates while simultaneously aware both of the confines of mortality, and the n o b i l i t y of the human s p i r i t as i t s t r i v e s within t h i s bounded world which i s our common ground. 109 FOOTNOTES 1 In t h i s context I define humanism broadly as an i n t e r e s t i n , and concern for, man and his a f f a i r s . 2 Marjory MacMurchy, "Mrs. Everard Cotes," The Bookman (London), 48 (May 1 9 1 5 ) , p. 3 9 . 3 Sara Jeannette Duncan, A Daughter of To-Day (New York, 1 8 9 4 ) , PP. 1 8 - 1 9 . Further references to A"Daughter  of To-Day w i l l be indicated i n the body of my text. if Northrop Frye, The Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m : Four Essays (New York, 1 9 6 7 ) , pp. 1 6 9 - 7 0 . . .5 William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, ed. George Lyman Kittredge (New York, 1941), p. 3 8 3 , 1 . 3 8 6 . 6 Sara Jeannette Duncan, "Saunterings," Week, III (November 4 , 1 8 8 6 ) , p. . 7 8 1 . 7 Susanne K. Langer, "The Great Dramatic Forms: The Comic Rhythm," from Feeling and Form i n Theories of Comedy, ed. Paul Lauter (New York, 1 9 6 4 ) , PP. 5 0 6 - 0 7 . 8 Sara Jeannette Duncan, The Simple Adventures of a  Memsahib (New York, 1 8 9 3 ) , PP. 1 2 - 1 3 . Further references to The Simple Adventures of a Memsahib w i l l be indicated i n the body of my text. 9 Maynard Mack, "Introduction to Joseph Andrews," i n The Comic i n Theory and Practice, ed. John Jacob Enck (New York, I 9 6 0 ) , p. 1 0 0 . 10 James K. Feibleman, "The Meaning of Comedy," from Aesthetics i n Theories of Comedy (New York, 1 9 6 4 ) , p. 4 6 1 . 11 Mack, op. c i t . , p. 101 . 12 Henri Bergson, "Laughter," i n Comedy, ed. Wylie Sypher (New York, 1 9 5 6 ) , p. 1 8 6 . 13 Mack, op. c i t . , p. 100. 14 Bergson, op. c i t . , p. 6 3 . n o 15 I b i d , p. 1 9 0 . 16 William F l i n t T h r a l l , Addison Hibbard, and C. Hugh Holman, ed., A Handbook to l i t e r a t u r e , rev. ed. (New York, I 9 6 0 ) , p. 2 2 9 . 17 Langer, op. c i t . , p. 4 9 9 . 18 By a f e e l i n g of l i f e , I intend a sense of personal perception of l i f e , or s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n . 19 Rae E. Goodwin, "The Early Journalism of Sara Jeannette Duncan, with a Chapter of Biography," (Thesis University of Toronto 1964)» p. 9 2 . 2 0 Sara Jeannette Duncan, "Saunterings," Week, III (November 4t 1 8 8 6 ) , p. 7 8 1 . 21 Ibid, p. 7 8 1 . 22 Langer, op. c i t . , p. 5 0 5 . 2 3 Ibid, p. 4 9 9 . 24 Mack, op. c i t . , p. 1 0 0 . 25 Bergson, op. c i t . , p. 166. 26 Ibid, p. 170. 27 Ibid, p. 8 4 . 28 Sara Jeannette Duncan, An American G i r l i n London (Toronto, 1891)» p. 1. Further references to An American  G i r l In London, w i l l be indicated i n the body of my text. 29 Langer, op. c i t . , p. 4 9 9 . 3 0 Sara Jeannette Duncan, A Voyage of Consolation (New York, 1 8 9 8 ) , p. 1. Further references to A Voyage of Consolation w i l l be indicated i n the body of my text. 31 Sara Jeannette Duncan, Those De l i g h t f u l Americans (New York, 1 9 0 2 ) , pp. 3 - 4 . Further references to Those  Del i g h t f u l Americans w i l l be indicated i n the body of my text. " n i 32 Sara Jeannette Duncan, Cousin Cinderella (New York, 1 9 0 8 ) , p. 2 0 9 . Further references to Cousin  Cinderella w i l l he indicated i n the body of my text. 33 Sara Jeannette Duncan, The Crow's Nest (New York, 1 9 0 1 ) , p. 3 7 . Further references to The Crow's Nest w i l l be indicated i n the body of my text. 34 Harald Hoffding, Modern Philosophers and Lectures i n Bergson, trans. A l f r e d C. Mason (London, 1915)> P» 2 6 8 . 35 Bergson, op. c i t . , p. 6 3 . 36 Ibid, p. 6 3 . 37 Ibid, p. 7 3 . 38 K a r l S. Guthke, Modern Tragicomedy (New York, 1 9 6 6 ) , PP. 7 6 - 7 7 . 39 Sara Jeannette Duncan, His Honour and a Lady (Toronto, 1 8 9 6 ) , p. 13. Further references to His honour and a Lady w i l l be indicated i n the body of my text. 4 0 Bergson, op. c i t . , p. 7 2 . 41 Ibid, p. 8 1 . 42 Ibid, p. 6 5 . 43 Ibid, p. 6 7 . 44 Ibid, p. 6 3 . 45 Sigmund Freud, from Jokes and Their Relation to the  Unconscious i n Masks of F i c t i o n , ed. A. J . M. Smith (Toronto, 1 9 6 1 ) , p. 110. 46 Robertson Davies, "On Stephen Leacock." from Masks  of F i c t i o n , ed. A. J . M. Smith (Toronto, 19613 , p. 107 . 47 Bergson, op. c i t . , p. 6 3 . 48 Feibleman, op. c i t . , p. 4 7 1 . 49 Langer, op. c i t . , p. 5 2 1 . 112 50 Guthke, op. c i t . , p. 57. 51 Langer, op. c i t . , p. 501. 52 Ibid, p. 502. 53 Guthke, op. c i t . , p. 72. 54 Ibid, p. 72. 55 Stephen Butler Leacock, "Preface," from The Garden  of F o l l y (New York, 1924), pp. v i i i - i x . 56 Stephen Butler Leacock, "American Humour," from Essays and l i t e r a r y Studies (New York, 1916), p. 114. 57 Sara Jeannette Duncan, The Path of a Star (London and Glasgow, 1899), p. 131. Further references to The Path of a  Star w i l l be indicated i n the body of my text. 58 Stephen Butler Leacock, "American Humour," from Essays and L i t e r a r y Studies (New York, 1916), p. 113. 59 Ibid, p. 115. 60 Stephen Butler Leacock, Humour: I t s Theory and  Technique (London, 1935), P« 17. 61 Stephen Butler Leacock, Humour and Humanity (London, 1937), P. 233. 62 Donald Cameron, Faces of Leacock: An Appreciation (Toronto, 1967), p. 36. 63 Ibid, p. 36. 64 Ibid, p. 36. 65 Stephen Butler Leacock, Humour and Humanity (London, 1937), P. 11. 66 Sara Jeannette Duncan, The Burnt Offering (London, 1909), p. 19. Further references to The Burnt Offering w i l l be indicated i n the body of my text. 113 67 Guthke, op. c i t . , pp. 5 7 - 5 8 . 68 Cameron, op. c i t . , p. 3 7 . 69 George Bernard Shaw, "Tolstoy: Tragedian or Comedian," The London Mercury, IV ( 1 9 2 1 ) , pp. 3 7 - 3 9 . I H BIBLIOGRAPHY BOOKS Brown, Ashley and John L. Kimmey, eds. Tragicomedy. Columbus: Charles E. M e r r i l l , 1968. Cameron, Donald. Faces of Leacock: An Appreciation. Toronto: Ryerson, 1967. Cook, Albert Spaulding. The Dark Voyage and the Golden  Mean: A Philosophy of Comedy. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1949. Corrigan, Robert Willoughby, ed. Comedy Meaning and Form. San Francisco: Chandler, 1965. Davies, Robertson. Stephen Leacock. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1970. Duncan, Sara Jeannette. An American G i r l i n London. Toronto: Williamson, 1891. • The Burnt Offering. London: Methuen, 1919. • The Consort. London? Stanley Paul, 1912. • Cousin Cinderella. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1908. . The Crow's Nest. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1901. . A Daughter of To-Day. New York: Appleton, 1894. . The Gold Cure. London: Hutchison, 1924. . His Honour and a Lady. Toronto: G. M. Rose, 1896. • His Royal Happiness. New York: Appleton, 1 9 H . . The Imperialist, i n t r o d . Claude B i s s e l l . Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1961. • The Path of a Star. London and Glasgow: C o l l i n s , TB99. . The Pool i n the Desert. New York: Appleton, 1903. 115 A So c i a l Departure: How Orthodocia and I Went Around the World by Ourselves. New York: Appleton, TEW. ^ . Set i n Authority. London: Constable, 1906. The Simple Adventures of a Memsahib. New York: Appleton, 1893. The Story of Sonny Sahib. New York: Appleton, • Those Del i g h t f u l Americans. New York: Appleton, 1902. . T i t l e Clear. London: Hutchison, 1922. . Vernon's Aunt: Being the Oriental Experiences of Miss Lavinia Moffat. London: Chatto and Windus, TEW. . A Voyage of Consolation. New York: Appleton, 1898. Enck, John Jacob et a l . The Comic i n Theory and Practice. New York: Appleton, 1960. : Feibleman, James K. In Praise of Comedy: A Study i n I t s  Theory and Practice. New York: Russell a n d R u s s e l l , 1939. F i e l d i n g , Henry. Joseph Andrews, i n t r o d . Maynard Mack. New York: Rinehart, 1948. Freud, Sigmund. Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, trans, and ed. James Strachey. New York: Norton, I960. Frye, Northrop. The Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m : Four Essays. New York: Atheneum, 1967. Guthke, K a r l S. Modern Tragicomedy. New York: Random House, 1966. Herrick, Marvin T. Tragicomedy. Urbana: Univ. of I l l i n o i s Press, 1955. Hoffding, Harald. Modern Philosophers and Lectures i n Bergson. trans. A l f r e d C. Mason. London: Macmillan, 1915. 116 Hogan, Robert Goode and Sven E r i c Molin. Drama: The Major  Genres. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1962. Hook, Sidney, ed. Art and Philosophy: Proceedings of a  Symposium. New York: New York Univ. Press, 1966. Houghton, Walter Edwards. The Victorian Frame of Mind  1830-1870. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1957. Hoy, Cyrus. The Hyacinth Room; An Investigation i n t o the  Nature of Comedy, Tragedy and Tragicomedy. New York: A l f r e d E. Knopf, 1964. Klinck, Carl Frederick et a l . , ed. L i t e r a r y History of  Canada: Canadian Literature i n English. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1965. Langer, Susanne. Feeling and Form. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1953. Lauter, Paul, ed. Theories of Comedy. Garden City, New York: Anchor, 1964. Leacock, Stephen Butler. Essays and L i t e r a r y Studies. New York: John Lane, 1916. ' The Garden of F o l l y . New York: Dodd, Mead, 1924. . Humour and Humanity. London: Thornton Butterworth, 1937. . Humour: I t s Theory and Technique. London: John L a n e , 1935. Mayne, Jonathan, trans, and ed. The Mirror of A r t . London: Phaidon, 1955. Meredith, George. An Essay on Comedy and the Uses of the  Comic S p i r i t . New York: Charles Scribner's, 1897. McCollum, William G. The Divine Average: A View of Comedy. Cleveland? Press of Case Western Univ., 1971, N i c o l l , Allardyce, The Theory of Drama. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1931. 117 Pacey, Desmond. Creative Writing i n Canada: A Short History  of English-Canadian Literature, rev, ed. Toronto: Ryerson, 1961. Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night, ed. George Lyman Kittredge. New York: Ginn, 1941. Sherman, Stuart Pratt. Matthew Arnold How to Know Him. New York: Peter Smith, 1932. Smith, A. J . M., ed. Masks of F i c t i o n . Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1961. Styan, J . L. The Dark Comedy: The Development of Modern Comic Tragedy. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1962. Sypher, Wylie, ed. Comedy: An Essay on Comedy Day!! George  Meredith: Laughter ^ y l Henri Bergson, Garden City, ltfew York: Doubleday, 1956. Tobias, Richard Clark. The Art of James Thurber. Athens: Ohio Univ. Press, iWo^ T h r a l l , William F l i n t et a l . , ed. A Handbook to Literature, rev. ed. New York: Odyssey, I960. Wagenknecht, Edward. Cavalcade of the American Novel: From the B i r t h of the Nation to the Middle of the Twentieth  Century. New York: Holt, Rinehart, arid Winston, 1965. . Cavalcade of the English Novel from Elizabeth to George VI. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965. 118 ARTICLES IN PERIODICALS Anon, [women Writers]. Can. Mag., 25 (Oct. 1905), PP. 58>85. Burness, Jean F. "Sara Jeannette Duncan: A Neglected Canadian Author," Ontario Library Review, 45 (Aug. 1961), pp. 205-06. Donaldson, F. "Mrs. Everard Cotes," The Bookman (London), 14 (June 1898), pp. 65-67. Duncan, Sara Jeannette. "Saunterings," Week, III (November 4, 1886), p. 781. MacMurchy, Marjory. "Mrs. Everard Cotes," The Bookman (London), 48 (May 1915), pp. 39-40. Rloss]1 M. E. "Sara Jeannette Duncan: Personal Glimpses," Can. L i t . , 27 (Winter 1966), pp. 15-19. Shaw, George Bernard. "Tolstoy: Tragedian or Comedian," The London Mercury, IV (1921), pp. 37-39. Thomas, Clara. "Happily Ever After: Canadian Women i n F i c t i o n and Fact," Can. L i t . , 34 (Autumn 1967), PP. 43-53. 119 THESES Cogswell, Fred. "The Canadian Novel from Confederation to World War I." (Thesis University of New Brunswick 1950). Goodwin, Rae E. "The Early Journalism of Sara Jeannette Duncan, with a Chapter of Biography." (Thesis University of Toronto 1964). I am p a r t i c u l a r l y indebted to the bibliography of Miss Duncan's journalism compiled by Rae E. Goodwin. 

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