Domestic Manners of the Americans
I’ve been thumbing through the account of one Mrs. Frances Trollope, and her coming from England to America in 1827 to found a department store in Cincinnati. It’s whining and snarky, and altogether a fun read.
Miss Wright was well known [at the hotel], and as soon as her arrival was announced, every one seemed on the alert to receive her, and we soon found ourselves in possession of the best rooms in the hotel. The house was new, and in what appeared to me a very comfortless condition, but I was then new to Western America, and unaccustomed to their mode of “getting along,” as they term it. This phrase is eternally in use among them, and seems to mean existing with as few of the comforts of life as possible.
We slept soundly however, and rose in the hope of soon changing our mortar-smelling quarters for Miss Wright’s Nashoba.
In its gossipy tone and incessantly personal scope, the book immediately reminded me of blogland; and Mrs. Trollope’s response to her critics has a familiar ring to it.
My little volumes on America have been much read. Many have said that this was owing to their being written with strong party feeling: but I – who am in the secret – know that such was not the case. The cause of their success, therefore, must be sought elsewhere; and I attribute it solely to that intuitive power of discerning what is written with truth, which is possessed, often unconsciously, by every reader. Be he pleased, or displeased by the picture brought before him, he feels that the images portrayed are real; and this will interest, even if it vex him.
I have an inveterate habit of suffering all I see to make a deep impression on my memory; and the result of this is a sort of mosaic, by no means very grand in outline or skillful in drawing; but each morsel of colour has the reality of truth – in which there is ever some value.
I don’t think I’ll take up the cause of small-scale unskilled morsels of truth any time soon; but damn, I’m impressed by those semicolons.