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[150] probable à priori. Their national character furnishes more material for it than can be found anywhere else; the forms of society and the tone of their conversation partake just enough of the nature of a representation to fit them admirably for the stage, and their light and flexible and equivocal language lends itself to express comical shades and inflections, of which all others are incapable, while at the same time the foppery and gallantry of their actors, and the levity and the coquetry of their actresses, are so natural and piquant, because they, like the nation they belong to, are playing the same parts all day in common life that they represent to the public in the evening.

Do not misunderstand me. I do not regret that we have none of this comedy in English, for I deprecate the character and principles out of which it grows, and should lose no inconsiderable proportion of my hope for England and America, if they had reached or were approaching that ominous state of civilization and refinement in which it is produced. . . . . After all, I had rather go to the French theatre than the English, as an entertainment. Shakespeare and Milton have more poetry than all France can show from the time of the Troubadours and Fabliaux to Delille and Chateaubriand; but no nation, I think, has hit like them the exact tone and grace of theatrical representation.

My love to all; and save me a corner in your new, old house in Summer Street, where I may feel at home when I come among you.

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