"A Little Tour of France" by Henry James 1900 (8)

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There is a charming in his little tale of “La Grenadière” of the view of the opposite side of the Loire as you have it from the square at the end of the Rue Royale—a square that has some pretensions to grandeur, overlooked as it is by the Hôtel de Ville and the Musée, a pair of edifices which contemplate the river, and ornamented with marble images of François Rabelais and René Descartes. The former, erected a few years since, is a very production; the pedestal of the latter could, as a matter of course, only be inscribed with the Cogito ergo Sum. The two mark the two opposite to which the wondrous French mind has ; and if there were an effigy of Balzac at Tours it ought to stand midway between them. Not that he by any means always struck the happy mean between the sensible and the metaphysical; but one may say of him that half of his genius looks in one and half in the other. The side that toward François Rabelais would be, on the whole, the side that takes the sun. But there is no statue of Balzac at Tours; there is only in one of the of the melancholy museum a rather clever, coarse bust. The description in “La Grenadière” of which I just spoke is too long to quote; neither have I space for anyone of the brilliant attempts at landscape- which are woven into the shimmering texture of “Le Lys dans la Vallée.”