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Henry James, Jr.


It ___ be said of the English as is said of ___ council of war in Sheridan's farce of The Critic __ one of the spectators of the rehearsal, that when ____ do agree their unanimity is wonderful. (......) but neither ____ now nor at any other time do they fail __ conform to those social observances on which Respectability has ___ her seal. England is a country of curious anomalies, ___ this has much to do with her being so ___________ to foreign observers. The English individual character is very ________, very independent, very much made up according to its ___ sentiment of things, very prone to startling eccentricities; and ___ at the same time it has beyond any other ____ peculiar gift of squaring itself with fashion and custom. __ no other country, I imagine, are so many people __ be found doing the same thing in the same ___ at the same time ---- using the same slang, _______ the same hats and cravats, collecting the same china ______, playing the same game of lawn-tennis or of polo, ________ into the same skating-rinks-. The monotony of this spectacle _____ soon become oppressive if the foreign observer were not _________ of this latent capacity in the performers for the ____ play of character; he finds a good deal of _____________ in wondering how they reconcile the traditional insularity of ___ individual with this perpetual tribute to custom. Of course __ all civilized societies the tribute to custom is being __________ paid; if it is less observable in America than _________ the reason is not, I think, because individual independence __ greater, but because custom is more sparsely established.