I intended that when the curtain went up the scene should confront the public like the exaggerating mirror in the stories of Madame Leprince de Beaumont, in which the depraved saw themselves with dragons' bodies, or bulls' horns, or whatever corresponded to their particular vice. It is not surprising that the public should have been aghast at the sight of its other self, which it had never before been shown completely. This ignoble other-self, as Monsieur Catulle Mendes has excellently said, is composed "of eternal human imbecility, eternal lust, eternal gluttony, the vileness of instinct magnified into tyranny; of the sense of decency, the virtues, the patriotism & the ideals peculiar to those who have just eaten their fill." Really, these are hardly the constituents for an amusing play, & the masks demonstrate that the comedy must at the most be the macabre comedy of an English clown, or of a Dance of Death.
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