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27. CHAPTER XXVII--IN THE FRENCH-FLEMISH COUNTRY
'It is neither a bold nor a diversified country,' said I to myself, 'this country which is three-quarters Flemish, and a quarter French; yet it has its attractions too. Though great lines of railway traverse it, the trains leave it behind, and go puffing off to Paris and the South, to Belgium and Germany, to the Northern Sea-Coast of France, and to England, and merely smoke it a little in passing. Then I don't know it, and that is a good reason for being here; and I can't pronounce half the long queer names I see inscribed over the shops, and that is another good reason for being here, since I surely ought to learn how.' In short, I was 'here,' and I wanted an excuse for not going away from here, and I made it to my satisfaction, and stayed here.
What part in my decision was borne by Monsieur P. Salcy, is of no moment, though I own to encountering that gentleman's name on a red bill on the wall, before I made up my mind. Monsieur P. Salcy, 'par permission de M. le Maire,' had established his theatre in the whitewashed Hotel de Ville, on the steps of which illustrious edifice I stood. And Monsieur P. Salcy, privileged director of such theatre, situate in 'the first theatrical arrondissement of the department of the North,' invited French-Flemish mankind to come and partake of the intellectual banquet provided by his family of dramatic artists, fifteen subjects in number. 'La Famille P. SALCY, composee d'artistes dramatiques, au nombre de 15 sujets.'
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