- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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I HAVE formerly censured the French for their extreme
attachment to theatrical exhibitions, because I thought
that they tended to render them vain and unnatural
characters ;
but I must acknowledge, especially as
women of the town never appear in the Parisian as at
our theatres, that the little saving of the week is more
usefully expended there every Sunday than in porter
or brandy, to intoxicate or stupify the mind. The
common people of France have a great superiority over
that class in every other country on this very score.
It is merely the sobriety of the Parisians which renders
theirfetes more interesting, their gaiety never becoming
disgusting or dangerous, as is always the case when
liquor circulates. Intoxication is the pleasure of
savages, and of all those whose employments rather ex-
haust their animal spirits than exercise their faculties.
Is not this, in fact, the vice, both in England and the
northern states of Europe, which appears to b tho
greatest impediment to general improvement ? Drink-
ing is here the principal relaxation of the men, including
smoking, but the women are very abstemious, though
they have no public amusements as a substitute. I
ought to except one theatre, which appears more than
is necessary ;
for when I was there it was not half full,
and neither the ladies nor actresses displayed much
fancy in their dress.
Tho play was founded on the story of the "
F 188

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