As Royal Ascot returns, French poet Théophile Gautier (1811-72) recalls the same enchanting meeting in 1849
There was racing that day at Ascot, London’s Chantilly, and all else gives way to that great national source of pleasure. It’s an occasion when the snows of English coldness melt and, seeing their furious animation, you wouldn’t say you were among the most phlegmatic people in the world. Horses and ships alone can impassion the British people, and whoever has not observed the English at sea and on the turf does not know them. ...
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