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[2199] know much about anything in France, except what you see with your two eyes. Lying is ingrained in ‘la grande nation,’ as they so plainly show no less in literature than life.


In France the theatre is living; you see something really good, and good throughout. Not one touch of that stage-strut and vulgar bombast of tone, which the English actor fancies indispensable to scenic illusion, is tolerated here. For the first time in my life, I saw something represented in a style uniformly good, and should have found sufficient proof, if I had needed any, that all men will prefer what is good to what is bad, if only a fair opportunity for choice be allowed. When I came here, my first thought was to go and see Mademoiselle Rachel. I was sure that in her I should find a true genius. I went to see her seven or eight times, always in parts that required great force of soul, and purity of taste, even to conceive them, and only once had reason to find fault with her. On one single occasion, I saw her violate the harmony of the character, to produce effect at a particular moment; but, almost invariably, I found her a true artist, worthy Greece, and worthy at many moments to have her conceptions immortalized in marble.

Her range even in high tragedy is limited. She can only express the darker passions, and grief in its most desolate aspects. Nature has not gifted her with those softer and more flowery attributes, that lend to pathos its atmost tenderness. She does not melt to tears, or calm or elevate the heart by the presence of that tragic

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