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help to row one of the boats, and arrange the dinner and “Would you very much like to know ?” that; wouldn't they let me come?”
" I shouldn't have asked, unless.” “ I never saw such a man!” Bessy exclaimed, losing all “ Guess, then." patience. “ Have you no single spark of self-respect “Because I've been making myself disagreeable?” dignity? Oh, how can you be so mean-spirited!"
“I don't think you have been making yourself disagree“ Work is as good as money, any day,” he replied, look- able.” ing her full in the face.
“Well, then, because I haven't been making myself use“ Yes; if you go as a servant.”
ful?” “ You said just now that every one had to make himself “ That is not the way to put it; but you are burning." useful at a picnic.”
“ Because I've got new clothes ? “It's no use arguing with you: you will not or can not “Nonsense! You know what I mean, or you wouldn't understand.”
have answered as you did at first. Good gracious! I hope “ You don't want me to go?”
it is not going to rain.” “On the contrary, I should like you to join us if” — “ Tell me why,” he persisted. “ If I had the money ?
Oh, don't tease !" “ If you could go on an equality with the rest.”.
“ All right." “ Well, I've got five pounds. is that enough ?”
As soon as he did not want to know, she, woman-like, “ Five times enough. But where on earth did you get wanted to tell him. So, in a minute or two, she began again. it?”
“ It is a great mistake to make one's self too cheap. There “ Sam sent it in that letter."
are some people who gain respect by being good-natured, “ And who is · Sam,' pray
and some people who lose it.” My chum in Chicago.'
“Ah, I see !” he replied: "I won't be good-natured any “ Don't you think it would be more proper to give the more." money to your cousin, who has been so liberal to you?” “Oh, you are so silly! Don't you know there is a medi
“ Oh, I'll pay her some day! This runs first-rate now," um in every thing? But, really, it is going to rain : I felt a he said, collecting his tools. “ Do let me go to the picnic. big drop: ‘My new blue costume will be ruined.”. Come, now, you help me to get an invitation, and I'll make Well, we can go into the house. Here it is.”
The shrubbery walk was so thickly hedged that they had And, if you'll believe me, this man set to work with the not seen where they were going; and at a sudden turn, machine he had just set in order, and ran seven breadths there, sure enough, was the villa close at hand. of the blue silk together as tight as wax and as straight as “I suppose we might stand under the veranda ?” suga rule, without missing a stitch.
gested Bessy; and, doubling up her skirts, she ran for it; As Bessy made a point of his being invited, and Mr. for the rain came down with a dash, came down with a Augustus Bailey was her humble servant, and hoped to be slant, too, driven by the wind, so that the veranda gave something more, no difficulty arose on this point; but on them little shelter. another there was trouble. Some cockneys had misbehaved “I wonder if any of the windows” (they were French winthemselves on the meadows where it was fixed that our dows, opening to the ground) “are open ?" said her comparty should dine; and the proprietor, hardening his heart panion, trying them. against all picnickers, had refused his permission. The Oh, we mustn't go in !” said Bessy. outing was nearly given up, when it was discovered that a
Very well." mile or two farther on there was an estate to let bordering “ But the splashing is spoiling my dress ; don't you see? on the river; and the great Augustus made it all right with and my boots will be wet through,” pleaded the inconsistent the agent.
The next day poor James Wymper disappeared before “ Then go in,” said poor James Wymper, opening a winbreakfast, and did not return till night.
dow," and I will run round and make it all right with the Where had he been ? To London. What for? Why, people in charge.” to buy some new clothes, to be sure! Did they think he In ten minutes he rejoined her, saying that it was all was going to let that skunk (by which term, I am sorry to right. say, he permitted himself to designate the elegant and " What a pretty room !” she said, looking at herself in highly-scented Augustus Bailey) - did they think he was the pier-glass. (Did you ever know a girl to enter a strange going to let that skunk insult him again about his coat? room without going straight up to the glass ?). “ I hope you did not think I had run away again, Cousin
- m, yes,” he replied; “but the fellow who built Margaret," he added with some anxiety.
it was an ass. Why, you have to twist your neck to get a There was nothing to find fault with in his personal ap- view of the river from these things,” — with a contemptuous pearance on the morning of the picnic, - dark green and kick towards the French windows. If I had it, I'd knock black heather mixture suit, tie to match, black felt wide- that veranda into a cocked hat, break out a big bow in the awake, with a little mallard's feather stuck in the band. middle, and then it would be something like."
“Dear me!” exclaimed Mrs. Jervoice: “ he looks quite Oh, you'd work wonders, I dare say !” she said, rather handsome!'
crossly; "only it would be as well to do something towards During the embarkation, and the row up the river, poor getting a house of your own, before you think about improvJames Wymper's conduct was peculiar. Instead of doing ing other people's.' every thing for everybody, as usual, he stood apart, and “ It would be nice to have a house of one's own," he said; ordered people about royally.
"particularly” – " I'm quite pleased with you to-day," whispered Bessy, « Well, go on.” as he handed her out of the boat, on the banks of the estate Particularly if it had a bow window." that was to let.
“James Wymper!” Now, I say, you
-what's your name ?- you, “And a pretty meadow for picnics; but I suppose it Wymper, come and help take the hampers out !” said the would not do to give people leave to picnic on one's great Augustus.
grounds ?” “ Take them out yourself, you — er, Bailey!” he shouted
Why not?” back. “You haven't been rowing; I have;" and he strut- “Would that not be being good-natured ? ted on to join a party of ladies, including Bessy. Bessy “I did not mean that sort of good-nature.” turned, on hearing the loud talking, and somehow got de- “ If I had a fine house and grounds like this, I might be tached from her friends.
good-natured then ?” "Why are you pleased with me to-day, Miss Jervoice ?” * It's no use arguing with you,” she replied sharply. “Is he asked, as they sauntered on together side by side through it ever going to leave off? Our picnic will be quite the shrubbery.
“ Never mind : we'll have another soon. I dare
Sam and invent things if I had a chance; but I was awkward will send me some more money."
with my hands. I could not draw, I could not plan. I " Are you not ashamed of yourself, James Wymper, to was not ready with my tongue : I could not explain ; I got take money like a beggar ? ” she said, with flashing eyes. impatient when people did
not understand me, and all went “Oh, I don't take it like a beggar!"
badly, until I fell in with Sam. Sam is the bandiest fellow “ Yes, you do."
in the world; and as for talking, he could coax a possum No, I don't.”
out of his hole; but at first he hadn't one idea of his own. “A man who takes money that he does not earn, takes it Well, we worked together, and, as we went on, I got handy like a beggar there!”
and Sam inventive; and, to make a long story short, we “Who told you I take money I do not earn ?”
sold two patents for fifty thousand dollars each, and we “Of course you cannot earn it.”
have four more, which bring in about two thousand a year “ Why of course ? "
in English money as royalties. I'm going to pay my share “What a plague you are! What do you do to earn it ?" in this picnic out of that money; and it is quite true that “Nothing, now.”
Sam sent me the cash, because all my remittances come “What have you ever done?”
through him.” “ Lots of things."
“I– I think,” stammered astonished Bessy, “ that we “Do you mean to say that this person you call • Sam's must not stop here any longer." really owes you money?” She came quickly to his side as “ Just a few minutes." she spoke, and laid her hand on his arm.
They will think it so odd." « Yes : he does."
“ As you please. Will you have these flowers ?" And “ What for?”
he took a bouquet from a vase on the table. “For my share of what we did at Chicago."
“ Put them back directly. How can you? Taking what “ That could not have been much."
does not belong to you! O James !” 6 What?"
“I bought the 'estate last week,” replied poor James “ Your share."
Wymper quietly, “ and I suppose the flowers go with it.” “ Sam says it was half; Sam's generally right."
* Mr. Wymper, are you mad, or am I dreaming ?” gasped “ Where is Chicago ?”
Bessy. “Well, now, that is good! You don't know where Chi- “I bought the place as soon as I heard you were coming cago is, and you're clever. I know.”
here. That's why I went to London — and to get some “Of course, when you've been there."
clothes." " That's true," he replied, after reflection.
“ Please, take me back to mamma;” and Bessy began to “ Did you really get your living there ? ” she asked. “ Yes, I did.”
“When you have answered me one question. I hardly “ Then go back. O James ! do- do go back. I can't dare ask it; but yet”, bear to see you as you are, dependent and looked down But yet! The stupid fellow ! it was evident that he had
Oh, do go back, and work like a man! I suppose it is not yet patented a machine for divining a girl's thoughts. because we women are so dependent, that we prize and He hem'd, and stammered, and beat about the bush, as he honor independence. For me there is nothing so contempti- did in his pre-Sam-Thacker days, and at last got it out. ble as a strong man who is idle and contented. Go back What was it? to Chicago. I shall be sorry to lose you, because — because Bessy left that room, as Sam would say, " inside an I like you very much, and you have been very kind to me; elbow," with an accepted lover's kiss tingling her lips, and but, don't you know, cannot you imagine, bow happy, how glorifying her heart. glorious it must be to strive and conquer, to stand erect Never mind what had become of the picnickers ; never before the world, owing nothing but to God and your own mind the astonishment of Mr. Augustus Bailey and the honest labor ?
rest when, invited by the master of the house to have their “I can, I do!” he cried, starting up. “It is glorious. dance in his dining-room (on account of the wet), they Do you know, can you imagine, what it is to haye people learned who that master was; never mind the explanation despising you as a fool -- an incapable — and yet to feel with Cousin Margaret. The only thing which I regret not here” (he struck his massive forehead as he spoke) “that having space to do justice to is the conduct of Sam at the you were wronged, that you had not fair play? To feel wedding, and the burning wrath and indignation of the knowledge, invention, power, coming, growing, burning in honest fellow when he heard that his partner had been your brain; to see the ideas thus born forming themselves once known as poor James Wymper. under your hands, and to know that they were right and “ Poor!” he almost howled: "why, their ain't a machine sound, to make those who came to scoff, stay to praise ? running on this old hemisphere, or in the United States, For this,” he added in a lower voice, “I humbly thank that he can't improve and beat. Poor! and he with the Almighty God, and good Sam Thacker.”
heart of a child and the brain of a Newton! Poor, indeed! Now, when Bessy Jervoice had had her say, as above Let me catch any one calling him poor, and I'll get mad; recorded, and piqued by surprise and excitement, and and when I get mad, there's shootin' round. Yes, sir.” perhaps by something else, had said more than a well-regulated young lady ought to say, she naturally sat down and cried; but, wonderstruck by the response she had evoked, a response which grew more astonishing, more fervid, as
AMERICAN TRAITS. it proceeded, — she slowly raised her eyes; and there, before her, stood a James W, ymper she had never seen
BY AN ENGLISHMAN. before. Not a poor James Wymper in any sense of the term.
That respect for the will of the majority which is in“Forgive me,” he said, taking her trembling hand, “ for culcated by democratic institutions has exercised a decided having played a part. It was Sam Thacker's doing. Said influence over the social, no less than the political, life of Sam, . You go back a rich man amongst those cusses' (Sam the people of the United States. It has not only had the is a regular Yankee),' and they'll just crawl over you, and effect of preventing the development of individuality of suck your vitals : you sham poor and stupid, and you'll character, but it has also considerably modified that obstisoon see who's who. Ah, Bessy, how kind you were to me nacy of temper which is one of the most strongly-marked at first! Am I wrong in thinking, in hoping, that what characteristics of the so-called Anglo-Saxon race. was not so kind lately was meant for my good ?”
“ An Englishman never knows when he is beaten," one “Oh! but how unfair - how"
often hears it triumphantly said in this country. But this “ Scold me presently, but hear my story. I ran away very unwillingness to admit defeat, however admirable a from Manchester, because I felt dimly' that I could improve quality on the battle-field, is not quite so desirable a one in
social life, when it assumes the form of an utter deafness to peace and quietness in the same house with his mother-inreason and argument.
law.” Now, the inhabitants of the American Union are singu- Now, the writer has seen the piece in question, more than larly devoid of this dogged tenacity of opinion. Mr. Dis- once, in both New York and London. Here the sentence raeli said on one occasion, in the House of Commons, that quoted never fails to elicit from the audience some tokens a friend of his, who had spent some time in the United of approval; there it is heard in absolute silence, the States, had declared it to be his conviction that the American having no sympathy with the sentiments exAmericans “ were the most tractable people in the world.” pressed, and therefore failing to appreciate the jest. And in saying this, he did them no more than simple The relations, too, existing between parents and children justice.
in America are of the most satisfactory character, notThis phase of the national character finds, indeed, an withstanding, or rather, perhaps, in consequence of the inillustration in one department of American literature. Let dulgence with which the latter are treated. “I never saw,” the reader take up any collection of anecdotes from the says the author of “ Vanity Fair,” “ people on better terms States, and he will, if he looks a little below the surface, with each other, more frank, affectionate, and cordial, than almost invariably discover in it evidence of the readiness the parents and the grown-up young folks in the United with which the American, when in the wrong, or worsted States. And why? Because they are spoiled, to be sure ! in argument, admits himself to be so. The evidence in I say to you, get the confidence of yours, before the day question is all the more reliable from the fact that it is comes of revolt and independence, after which love repurely incidental. Of the many thousand anecdotes, for turneth not." instance, to be found in the pages of Harper's Magazine, Unquestionably, the law of primogeniture has influenced, there is not one the object of which is to call attention to in some measure, the relations existing between father and this national trait. On the contrary, the narrators of the son in this country. The younger members of a family can, various stories are obviously quite unconscious of its ex- indeed, scarcely fail to feel, and tacitly, at least, resent, the istence; and yet how frequently does it manifest itself! invidious distinction made, both by law and custom, in The individuals, indeed, who figure in the majority of the favor of the first-born. It is not simply that in the case of anecdotes referred to, do not belong to the educated classes, entailed estates the bulk of the property goes to the one and the language they make use of is, frequently, neither son, but only too frequently all the father's love, pride, and elegant nor grammatical; but their readiness to admit aspirations for the future of the family, seem centred in the themselves to have been in error is unmistakable, and finds heir, to the exclusion of his other children, who, as near to expression in such phrases as, “ Well, I own the corn; him in blood, should be equally so in affection. To aggran“ You have me there, and no mistake;” “You may take dize his future successor, that he may be enabled to sustain my hat;” “ I'm dead beat, and that's a fact,” &c.
handsomely the family name and position, the interests of One result of the absence of marked individuality of his younger brethren are not unseldom sacrificed. Of this character in the United States is the circumstance, that, in feeling we recently had an illustration, when a nobleman, social life, people to use a colloquialism — "get on to whose rent-roll has been estimated at over four hundred gether better than they do here, where a man's idiosyncra- thousand pounds per annum, left nearly the whole of this sies are very apt to clash with those of his neighbor. vast property, comprising several unentailed estates, to his
When, in fact, Benjamin Franklin said, “No house is eldest son, bequeathing the comparative pittance of two large enough to hold two families," he uttered an aphorism thousand a year to the second. suggested by the experience of many years' residence in In America, not only is there no law in favor of primoEngland; or, if warranted as regards his own land, war- geniture, but there is incorporated in the code of every ranted simply by the fact that the influence of her new in- State in the Union a more or less stringent one against it: stitutions had not yet had time to make itself generally any clauses inserted in a will, with a view to entailing or felt. For there is no country - - not even France where attempting to entail an estate, being absolutely null and various families can and do live in such harmony under the void. When Daniel Webster, who enjoyed, and justly, the same roof as in the United States. In the larger cities reputation of being one of the most eminen: jurists in the especially, where house-rents are exceedingly high, it is United States, made his will, he exercised all his ingenuity frequently the case that the married sons and daughters of in endeavoring so to word the instrument as to enable him a family will live in the same house with their parents, for to keep “ Marshfield," his homestead, in the family of his years in succession, in peace and quietness.
eldest son; or, in other words, he sought to create a species A mother-in-law, again, is far from being the bête noire of entail. But the attempt was unsuccessful. The will in the States that she is in this country, where there seems was disputed by those members of the family whose into exist a species of chronic antagonism between most mar- terests were injuriously affected by it; and the Massachuried men and their wives' mothers. “ Strange infatuation setts judges were unanimous in their decision that the proof the human intellect !” says Thackeray, “there is, not vision in question was contra bonos mores, and in direct unfrequently, a period in a man's life, before marriage, contravention of the laws of the State. when, so far from regarding his future mother-in-law with I may observe here, en passant, that it is rather a curious dislike, he positively feels a certain degree of affection for commentary upon the inconsistencies of human nature, her.” Was it not Douglas Jerrold, too, who said, that on that Webster — the “great expounder of the Constitution,” “ the day of a woman's marriage her mother should sacri- the champion of law, par excellence — should, in one of the fice herself at the altar, as a propitiatory offering to secure most important acts of his life, have made a deliberate ather son-in-law's future happiness ?.” Indeed, English liter- tempt to evade the operation of the laws of his country. ature is full of references to the incompatibility supposed He was, however, quite exceptional in his desire to entail to exist between the members of a family standing in the his estate. As a rule, the feeling, created and fostered here above relations to each other.
by law and usage in favor of the eldest son, is, practically, This state of feeling certainly does not prevail to any non-existent in the United States, where a man in making appreciable extent in America, as will be seen from the a disposition of his property rarely evinces a preference following slight anecdote, which pretty fairly illustrates the for one child over another. difference of national sentiment on the subject.
In the State of New York, and, I believe, in nearly In the clever two-act comedy entitled “ The Little every one of the Northern and Eastern States, the law is, Treasurer,” part of the plot hinges on the fact that a hus- that, when a married man dies intestate, his widow shall enband has quarrelled with his wife, on account of the inter- joy a life-interest in one-third of his real and personal esference of her mother (who resides with them) in their tate, and that the remaining two-thirds shall be equally domestic affairs. In one scene, a friend is explaining to the divided among his children. So eminently just is felt to daughter of this couple how the difference between them be this law, and so entirely is it in harmony with the sentiarose, and he premises his statement by saying that “it is ments of the community, that very many persons never a law -- though an unwritten one that no man shall live in deem it necessary to make a will at all, being perfectly
content with the machinery the State has provided for the which, in this country, the "man in broadcloth " adopts as distribution of their property. And as there is, or rather a matter of course towards the “ man in fustian." No one, was, for I speak of the period before the imposition of perhaps, has a keener appreciation of the advantages of the “ war-taxes," — neither legacy, succession, nor probate wealth and education than the American ; but that the duty in America, no loss accrues to a man's family from possessor of them should feel justified in using towards him the circumstance of his not having made testamentary the language of a superior to an inferior is what be cannot disposition of his estate.
understand, and will not for one moment put up with. An In fact, so far is the feeling carried in the United States, anecdote related of the elder Mathews, when in New York, that all a man's children should be equal sharers in what- well illustrates this phase of the national character. Walkever property he leaves behind him, that in those instances ing up Broadway one day, he addressed an individual, where a will has been made leaving more to one son or having the appearance of a mechanic, in these terms: "My daughter than the others, and it has been contested on the good man, I want to go to Franklin Street.” — “ Then why ground of “undue influence," the courts of law have gener- the devil don't you go there?” was the uncivil reply. ally, in their decisions, leaned to the opinion that the very Now, I have heard this story quoted as showing the rudefact of the apportionment being unequal was primâ facie ness of the lower orders in the United States. But it evidence of undue influence having been exercised over the was, I have no doubt, the unlucky phrase “My good man," testator, to be rebutted only by proof that some substantial and the patronizing tone in which it may be inferred that reason, and not mere caprice, had dictated the apparently such words would be uttered, that roused the gall of the unfair preference for one child over another.
individual spoken to, and provoked a discourteous retort. The correctness of Thackeray's remarks on the character The inquiry, differently put, would not only have elicited of the relations existing between parents and children in a civil answer from ninety-nine out of a hundred of those the United States finds, incidentally, confirmation in the to whom it might have been addressed, but they would literature of that country. In the works of no American seeing he was a foreigner — have shown a courteous readiauthor are to be found the scenes of domestic dissension ness to afford him any information in their power; and and unhappiness portrayed in those of English writers; that, too, without the slightest expectation of fee or reward. and for the simple reason, that such phases of human life Indeed, the offer of a gratuity under such circumstances have not come under the observation of the former. The would be resented by the poorest American as an insult. great passions, indeed, — love, hate, revenge,
That the national independence of character may occapart in the writings of American novelists, as they do in the sionally be pushed too far, and degenerate into offensive literature of every nation. But such scenes of domestic self-assertion, must, however, be admitted. Thus it is rediscord as those painted so graphically in “ The Newcomes," lated of a stage-driver in one of the Western States, that, on and “ The Adventures of Philip,” could by no possibility entering a tavern in search of a passenger, he addressed occur in the state of society which exists in the United the solitary occupant of the bar-room in these terms: States; for, in nearly every instance, these dissensions “ Are you the man that's going by this here stage?” addarise from the circumstance that the elder members of the ing, as the reason for his making the inquiry, “ I'm the family neither recognize the individuality, nor respect the gentleman that drives it.” rights, of the younger; and in America they do both. This is ridiculous enough; but such cases are, in the
It is not my purpose, in this paper, to enter into an elab- older settled States at least, quite exceptional; and it orate disquisition upon the character of the people of the would be most unfair to regard the individual who figures United States, my object being simply to touch briefly up- in the above anecdote as the representative of other than on some of their more prominent national traits; but there a limited class in any section of the country. is one accusation brought against them which must not So far, indeed, as my observation has extended, not only pass unnoticed, — that of being a thoroughly ill-mannered is the American of the poorer classes better mannered than nation, - an accusation so persistently reiterated, that it the Englishman of the same grade, but so superior is he in has obtained almost universal credence in this country. this respect, that no comparison can fairly be instituted
Nearly every English traveller has some tale to tell of between them. the rudeness and incivility he has met with from the lower Any one who returns to this country, after having spent classes in America; and, primâ fucie, it would appear that some time on the Continent or in the United States, cancomplaints so general must be well founded. But it is not not, in fact, but be struck by the coarseness – I might
The annoyances to which these gentlemen have been almost say the brutality — of the lower classes ; at least, of subjected have arisen, almost invariably, from their failing such of them as the eye falls upon in the public streets. to properly appreciate the difference existing between the In the rough practical jokes, in the “chaff,” in which they social system of the Americans and that of their own so liberally indulge amongst themselves, the desire to inflict people.
pain or annoyance is, almost always, the basis of their wit. In this country, the separation of the various grades of Treating each other with habitual rudeness, it follows that society has had a marked effect upon the morale of what the show of courtesy they put on towards those above them are termed the “ lower classes.” The man in fustian can- is prompted simply by the desire of gain. Their civility is, not understand why he should render even the most trifling in fact, little better than servility. civility to the man in broadcloth without being paid for it. The American, on the other hand, however humble in If you only so much as inquire your way of a man having position, has a keen sense of personal dignity; no taste the appearance of a mechanic, and he goes a few steps out for horse-play ; and, prompt to resent an impertinence or of his path to show it to you, he will,-five times out of six, an insult, is equally slow, unprovoked, to offer either.
even if he do not ask for a gratuity, show palpably by The difference in morals as well as in manners between his manner that he expects one. On the other hand, a the lower classes in the two countries is rather significantly gentleman would scarcely accept the slightest civility from illustrated by the fact, that, during a residence of upwards a man of an inferior class without payment, even if none of seventeen years in New York, the writer cannot call to were demanded or expected. He pays for it to mark that mind a single instance of any native American citizen aphe does not regard what has been done for him in the light pearing at the bar of a police court on the charge of wifeof an act of courtesy from man to man, but as a service beating. And as to drunkenness, more intoxicated men, rendered him by a being so inferior to himself that there and women too, may be seen in the streets of London in can be nothing in common between them. The rich man, one day, than in those of any city of the United States in in fact, exacts, on most occasions, a servile deference from six months. the poor one and for it; while the latter has so The admirable system of public schools — in which a little self-respect that he is only too willing to be paid. purely gratuitous education is offered to all alike – which
No inequality of position or circumstances, however, will exists throughout the whole of the Northern and Eastern make a native of any portion of the United States submit States, has done very much to elevate the moral as well to being dealt with in the manner, or spoken to in the tone, as the intellectual character of the people. In New Eng
land the percentage of crime to population is less than the Americans — derived from a cominon stock, and speakthat of any European country, with the exception, possi- ing the same tongue as ourselves we absolutely know bly, of Holland. Even the State of New York — the less than we do of any Continental nation. Even of the chief city of which is the common receptacle for ignorance, geography of the United States the English people are, as poverty, and crime from all parts of Europe - presents a a rule, curiously ignorant. very fair record in this respect; and, if the foreign popu- One explanation of our ignorance of the social characterlation be eliminated from the calculation, an excellent one. istics of the Americans may be found in the fact that our Few persons, indeed, are aware how much this same foreign impressions of them are partly derived from the books of population contributes to the statistics of crime in America. travellers who, in hurried journeys through the States, In the State of New York alone seventy per cent of all the have simply noted such superficial traits of the people as offences wbich are brought under the cognizance of the tri- came under their observation in hotels, railroads, and bunals are committed by individuals of Irish parentage, steamboats; but also, in still greater degree, I conceive, while the fair proportion of this class would be less than from those English works of fiction in which natives of the twenty per cent.
United States have been introduced, the individuals therein As an evidence of the moral development of the people delineated being very generally accepted by the majority which has resulted from education, may be adduced the of readers as fair types of the American. In nearly every readiness with which they are disposed to subordinate one of these works, the American figures in either an their individual preferences to what they consider to be for odious or a ridiculous aspect. To say nothing of those the good of the commonwealth : of this the “ Prohibitory portions of Martin Chuzzlewit” the scene of which is laid Liquor Law” is a conspicuous example. Whatever differ- in the United States, I may mention Richard Avernal in ences of opinion may exist in this country as to the ab- Bulwer's “ My Novel;” the Colonel in Lever's “ One of stract merits of such a law, there can be, I conceive, no Them;" Fullalove in Charles Reade's “ Very Hard Cash;” question but that the very fact of its existence pre-supposes the younger Fenton in Yates's “ Black Sheep;” and a considerable amount of self-denial on the part of a large the American in “Mugby Junction.” In every instance, number of those who have been instrumental in passing it. whether represented as a man of good social position and Many thousands, in fact, in various States, voted for what presumably fair education, or not, he is made to express himis known as the “Maine" law, who had never been, nor self in a dialect happily combining all the peculiarities of were ever likely to be, guilty of excess themselves; but speech of each section of the country from Maine to Texas; who denied themselves what they believed to be a perfectly and such as, it may safely be affirmed, was never yet heard innocent indulgence, purely for the sake of those of their from the lips of any one human being. fellow-citizens less able to exercise self-control.
It is the same on the stage. In“ Our American Cousin,” The American is proverbially sensitive — almost mor- Lord Dundreary is accepted for what it is, an exceedingly bidly so — as to what is said of his country by foreigners. clever representation of an individual idiosyncrasy. Asa Curtis, perhaps, scarcely exaggerated when he asserted Trenchard, on the other hand, is received by the audience that after the disaster at Bull's Run, what troubled his as a fair type not only of a class, but of a people. Yet Mr. countrymen most was not the reverse their arms had Buckstone, excellent as he is in his own line, so far from sustained, - that they knew they should retrieve, — but the giving a fair likeness of the Yankee, does not even present thought of what the Times' correspondent would say a caricature of him; that is, if caricature be understood in about it. But this very thin-skinnedness — though a its proper sense, i.e., the humorous or ridiculous exaggeradefect in the national character, as evincing a certain lack tion of features or habits peculiar to the individual or of dignity — has yet its counterbalancing advantages. species. Asa Trenchard on the Haymarket stage is simply The sufferer writhes and cries out under the lash of his a vulgar cockney, with a habit of speaking through his critics; but his punishment makes a permanent impression nose ; and it appears strangely inconsistent that a delicateon him, and he sets himself seriously to work to correct the minded, refined woman like Mary Meredith should tolerate faults or follies which have been condemned or satirized. the addresses of such a man. When the play in question
Many years ago, when Mrs. Trollope visited New York, was originally produced in New York, Jefferson, of Rip the occupants of the upper tiers of boxes of the Park Van Winkle fame, was the Asa Trenchard; and in his Theatre were in the habit, between the acts, of resting hands the character became a fair, unexaggerated type of their legs upon the balustrade in front of them, and were the native of New England, - cool, clear-headed, brave, guilty of other breaches of etiquette. But so much did the warm-hearted, but ignorant of the conventionalities of people take to heart what the lady said of them in her society. Here it would have been caviare to the mass of book, that, for years afterwards, if any of the practices she playgoers, their preconceived idea of the character being had commented on were indulged in, a cry was raised of so totally different. “ A Trollopel a Trollope !” and the offending individual In closing this paper I may add that the opinions was obliged to desist. At the present day the propriety, expressed have not been lightly hazarded, but are the the order, the courtesy of manner to each other, of an result of careful observation of the characteristics of the American audience, are remarkable. A play, too, is sel- American people. dom or never, what is termed in theatrical parlance, damned. If a performance does not please those who witness it, they show their dissatisfaction only by silence,
A TRIP TO THE SULTAN'S CITY. being apparently of Lovelace's opinion, that to manifest dislike to a play by tumultuous disapprobation” is in bad THERE are few spots whose names awaken more pleasant taste. The only exceptions I can remember to this rule fancies or more sweet illusions than, Constantinople. I do were when a performer was guilty of some violation of not know whether the reader has had the same experience decorum, by either word or gesture; and then he has been as I in this matter; but I believe many persons connect the dealt with sharply enough.
name of Constantinople in a vague and indefinite way with Before concluding these desultory observations upon boundless luxury and splendor, piquant mystery, and strange American traits, I may observe, that any Englishman who
Whether this be the prevailing feeling or not, returns home, after a residence of some years in the United at any rate, I for one had always somehow looked forward States, cannot but be struck by the ignorance which exists to seeing Constantinople as the realization of many pleasant here, both with regard to the institutions and character of musings about the land “ of the cedar and vine, where the the people of that country, - an ignorance, be it said, flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine.” Accordingly, infinitely more inexcusable than that so frequently imputed when I left London, bound for the city of Constantine, or as to the French in respect to us.
For them, indeed, may be the Turks call it, the “Gate of Felicity” (Der-u-Saadet), pleaded the excuses of difference of race and language, it was with my brain full of agreeable anticipations. I was the latter an almost insuperable barrier to the thorough about to visit the East, under very favorable circumstances comprehension of the idiosyncrasies of a people. But of I considered. I had letters of introduction to many nota