“The Frontier” is that old idea of the conflict between the old and the new, between fathers and sons, between the intense convictions of yesterday and to-morrow. The form which Le Blanc recreates it is that of the conflict between devotion to country and devotion to that latest ideal, world-wide Peace. The father is a rugged old French patriot who fought in the war with Germany, whose heart is still bitter, and whose hate flames quickly at the thought of Alsace and Lorraine. The son is a professor of history whose studies have taught him how vain are bloodshed and violence. The scene is at the father’s home, on the frontier, and he himself precipitates the war between France and Germany that comes crashing along in the last few chapters like a thunderstorm out of a Summer sky. Woven in with this intense and agonizing emotional drama that goes on between father and son. and woven so cleverly that the very doing of it excites one’s admiration, Is one of those fateful outbursts of elemental human passion which French novelists are accustomed to present as matters of course.
“They’ve done it!” “What?” “The German frontier–post… at the circus of the Butte–aux–Loups.” “What about it?” “Knocked down.” “Nonsense!” “See for yourself.” Old Morestal stepped aside. His wife came out of the drawing–room and went and stood by the telescope, on its tripod, at the end of the terrace. “I can see nothing,” she said, presently. “Don’t you see a tree standing out above the others, with lighter foliage?”