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With Zola in England   By: (1853-1922)

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WITH ZOLA IN ENGLAND

A STORY OF EXILE

TOLD BY

ERNEST ALFRED VIZETELLY

TO VIOLETTE AND TO VICTOR TO DORA AND TO BOTH MARIES DEAR WIFE AND ROMPING DAUGHTER I LOVINGLY INSCRIBE THIS LITTLE BOOK

He begged for Light! . . Lo, Darkness fell, And round him cast its stifling pall! In vain he clamoured! Ev'ry Hell Poured forth its fumes to drown his call.

He cried for Truth! . . Lo, Falsehood came, In robes of Impudence array'd, Polluting Patriotism's name, Degrading Honour to a trade.

He asked for Justice! . . Lo, between Him and the judgment seat there rose The Sword of Menace, ever keen To smite the braggart War Wolf's foes!

Light, Truth, and Justice all denied, He struggled on 'mid threat and blow A brave Voice battling by his side Till Error's minions struck him low.

Yet is his faith not dead, nor mine: O'er deepest gloom, o'er worst distress, Ever the mighty Sun doth shine Aglow with Truth and Righteousness.

The blackest clouds are rent at last; And the divine resistless flame Through all, some morn, its blaze shall cast, The Wrong disclose, the Right proclaim!

E. A. V.

February 23, 1898.

[Printed in 'The Star' on the morrow of M. Zola's condemnation in Paris]

PREFACE

All that I claim for this little book, reprinted from the columns of 'The Evening News,' is the quality of frankness. I do not desire to check or disarm criticism, but I have a right to point out that I have performed my work rapidly and have largely subordinated certain literary considerations to a desire to write my story naturally and simply, in much the same way as I should have told it in conversation with a friend. Very rarely, I think, have I departed from this rule.

The book supplies an accurate account of Emile Zola's exile in this country; but some matters I have treated briefly because he himself proposes to give the world probably in diary form some impressions of his sojourn in England with a record of his feelings day by day whilst the great campaign in favour of the unfortunate Alfred Dreyfus was in progress.

First, however, M. Zola intends to collect in a volume all his published declarations, articles and letters on the Affair. Secondly, he will recount in another volume his trials at Paris and Versailles; and only in a third volume will he be able to deal with his English experiences. The last work can scarcely be ready before the end of 1900, and possibly it may not appear until the following year. And this is one of the reasons which have induced me to offer to all who are interested in the great French writer this present narrative of mine. Should the master's promised record duly appear, my own will sink into oblivion; but if, for one or another reason, M. Zola is prevented from carrying out his plans, here, then, will at least be found some account of one of the most curious passages in his life. And then, perchance, my narrative may attain to the rank of memoire pour servir .

I have said that I claim for my book the quality of frankness. In this connection I may point out that I have made in it a full confession of certain delinquencies which were forced on me by circumstances. I trust, however, that my brother journalists will forgive me if I occasionally led them astray with regard to M. Zola's presence in England; for I did so purely and simply in the interests of the illustrious friend who had placed himself in my hands.

That M. Zola should have applied to me directly he arrived in London will surprise none of those who are aware of the confidence he has for several years reposed in me. A newspaper referring to our connection recently called the great novelist 'my employer.' But there has never been any question of employer or employed between Mr... Continue reading book >>




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