Translated by W. Blaydes.
Jansoulet. To use another figure, he drew the spider, the fly, and a few strands of the web. The Balzac whose bust looked satirically down upon the two adventurers in Pere la Chaise would probably have given us the whole web. This is not quite to say that Daudet is plausible, Balzac inevitable; but rather that we stroll with the former master and follow submissively in the footsteps of the latter. Yet a caveat is needed, for the intense interest we take in the characters of a novel like The Nabob scarcely suggests strolling.
For although Daudet, in spite of his abounding sympathy, which is one reason of his great attractiveness, cannot fairly be said to be a great character creator, he had sufficient flexibility and force of genius to set in action interesting personages. Part of the early success of The Nabob was due to this fact, although the brilliant description of the Second Empire and the introduction of exotic elements, the Tunisian and Corsican episodes and characters, counted