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If I venture to say that sentimentality is the dominant of the Du Maurier music, it is because his art has made sentimentality beautiful; I had almost said real, and I am ready to say different from what it was before. It is a very manly sentimentality; we need not be ashamed of sharing it; one should rather be ashamed of disowning its emotions. It is in its sweetness, as well as its manliness, that I find the chief analogy between Du Maurier's literature and his art. In all the long course of his dealing with the life of English society, I can think of but two or three instances of ungentleness. The humor which shone upon every rank, and every variety of character, never abashed the lowly, never insulted women, never betrayed the trust which reposed in its traditions of decency and generosity. If we think of any other caricaturist's art, how bitter it is apt to be, how brutal, how base! The cruelties that often pass for wit, even in the best of our own society satires, never tempted him to their ignoble exploitation; and as for the filthy drolleries of French wit, forever amusing itself with one commandment, how far they all are from him! His pictures are full of the dearest children, lovely young girls, honest young fellows; snobs who are as compassionable as they are despicable, bores who have their reason for being, hypocrites who are not beyond redemption. It is in his tolerance, his final pity of all life, that Du Maurier takes his place with the great talents; and it is in his sympathy for weakness, for the abased and outcast, that he classes himself with the foremost novelists of the age, not one of whom is recreant to the high office of teaching by parable that we may not profitably despise one another. Not even Svengali was beyond the pale of his mercy, and how well within it some other sorts of sinners were, the grief of very respectable people testified.
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