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Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC
By: Leigh Hunt
Excerpt from book: THE COMPANION. No. III.WEDNESDAY, JAN. 23, 1828. " Something alone yet not alone, to be wished, and only to be found, in a friend."Sir William Temple. FRENCH PLAYS IN LONDON.MOL1ERE S TARTUFFE. ANECDOTES OF THE AUTHOR. A SPECIMEN OF THE PIECE ITSELF, AND REMARKS ON THE PERFORMERS. There is something very delightful in the friendliness of intercourse that has sprung up between France and England, since the late troubles. Cabinets may quarrel again, and wars be renewed : but the more intimacy there is in the meantime between the two nations, the less they will be disposed to be gulled into those royal amusements. Formerly, this kind of intercourse was confined to kings and courtiers: and whenever these gentlemen were disposed to pick a quarrel with one another, the people were set on to fight, like retainers to a couple of great houses: their employers all the while making no more of the business, than if they were playing a game of chess. Nations are growing wiser on this head : and nothing will serve better to secure their wisdom, than an interchange of their socialities, and an acquaintance with the great writers that have made them what they are. It was with singular pleasure therefore that we found ourselves, the other night, sitting at a French play in the British metropolis, and that play Moliere's. There, on the stage, was Moliere, as it were himself: there spoke his very words, warm as when he first uttered them: there he triumphed over hypocrisy, and was wise and entertaining and immortal. But what in the meantime had become of Louis XIV and his splendour ? What of all those lords and courtiers, who used to make a brilliant assemblage around him (we could not help fancying them in this very pit), and praising or withholding Vol. . 3 their praise of ...