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While Paris Laughed


While Paris Laughed

3.5 (1822)

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    Available in PDF Format | While Paris Laughed.pdf | English
    Leonard Merrick (Author), George Barr McCutcheon (Introduction)
Leonard Merrick (1864 –: 1939) was an English novelist. Although largely forgotten today, he was widely admired by his peers, J. M. Barrie called Merrick the 'novelist's novelist.'
* * * *
From the beginning of the Introduction by George Barr McCutcheon.
The joy that Leonard Merrick puts into his stories finds instant response in the soul of his reader. He writes with the clear, sparkling vision of one who for the time being is an active participant in the little comedies and tragedies (for sometimes they are tragedies notwithstanding the deft twist he exercises in transforming them into something else) through which he leads his characters to an almost unctuous 'curtain.' It is not difficult to imagine the author Merrick translating himself into Merrick the actor, playing many parts in all of these sprightly romances: nor is it hard to picture him as existing in the environment to which his whilom people confine themselves.
More than this, he has the power to transport his readers, as upon the fabled carpet, to the very heart of the scenes he describes —: a few swift prods of the pen and we are jauntily driven into every corner of Paris, there to find amiable companions, who do not bother themselves about our virtues any more than we trouble ourselves about their morals....
...Follow him through these pages, go arm and arm with him while Paris laughs, and the world will be brighter and gayer for you in consequence. Stroll along with him until you come up with that pair of despondent though exalted lovers who would have leaped into the Seine had it not been for the joyous intervention of the last franc and the philosophy of an equally moribund poet. Attend his earnest but melancholy aspirations in connection with his cousin Henriette, wherein a profitable marriage was to be his sacrifice upon the altar of necessity, and the notable journey which ended in pleasant disaster to his easily accommodated state of mind.
Join him and his inconsequential companions as a guest at the memorable banquet arranged by the valiant, adorable Kiki, whose desires and fancies far-outstripped her means but whose art (such as it was) naively triumphed over the cupidity of a most honorable and substantial landlord. Toil also with him far into the night while he writes the engaging memoirs of the actress, Toine: stand beside him when the task is completed and the light of his life goes out with the discovery that he has loved and labored in vain—:but glory with him when he springs up from the ruins and cheerfully goes back to his garret and its privations, by no means wiser or better than he was before but as undaunted as ever.
Gallant soul, Tricotrin! To the peak and to the pit with the same unfailing jauntiness of spirit. Who else but he could have fallen from so high and landed so composedly, so happily uninjured, back in the dingy old room with Nicolas, impoverished, disillusioned, hungry but still rejoicing after his flight into Romance with Simon? And who else could have led him to these heights and dropped him so gently as the man who created him?
I should like, above all things, to have been able to tell the sprightly tale of Tricotrin and his friends as Leonard Merrick has told it.
–:George Barr McCurcheon
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