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Racine

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The celebrated French poet, Racine, having one day returned from
Versailles, where he had been on a visit, was waited upon by a gentleman
with an invitation to dine at the Hotel de Conde. "I cannot possibly do
myself that honour," said the poet; "it is some time since I have been with
my family; they are overjoyed to see me again, and have provided a fine
carp; so that I must dine with my dear wife and children." "But my good
sir," replied the gentleman, "several of the most distinguished characters
in the kingdom expect your company, and will be anxious to see you." On
this, Racine brought out the carp and showed it to his visitor, saying,
"Here, sir, is our little meal; then say, having provided such a treat for
me, what apology could I make for not dining with my poor children? Neither
they nor my wife could have any pleasure in eating a bit of it without me;
then pray be so obliging as to mention my excuse to the Prince of Conde and
my other illustrious friends." The gentleman did so; and not only His
Serene Highness, but all the company present, professed themselves
infinitely more charmed with this proof of the poet's affection as a
husband and a father, than they possibly could have been with his
delightful conversation.





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