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Archibald Malmaison by Julian Hawthorne
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Archibald Malmaison

by Julian Hawthorne

Author of "Garth," "Sebastian Strome," "Dust," Etc.




INTRODUCTORY.



When I was a child, I used to hope my fairy-stories were true. Since
reaching years of discretion, I have preferred acknowledged fiction. This
inconsistency, however, is probably rather apparent than real. Experience
has taught me that the greater the fairy-story the less the truth; and
contrariwise, that the greater the truth the less the fairy-story. In
other words, the artistic graces of romance are irreconcilable with the
crude straightforwardness of fact. The idealism of childhood, believing
that all that is most beautiful must on that very account be most true,
clamors accordingly for truth. The knowledge of maturity, which has
discovered that nothing that is true (in the sense of being existent) can
be beautiful, deprecates truth beyond everything. What happens, we find,
is never what ought to happen; nor does it happen in the right way or
season. In palliation of this hardship, the sublime irony of fate grants
us our imagination, wherewith we create little pet worlds of poetry and
romance, in which everything is arranged in neat harmonies and surprises,
to gratify the scope of our little vision. The actual world, the real
universe, may, indeed, be picturesque and perfect beyond the grandest of