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Complete Works of RWE XII - Natural History of the Intellect

II Walter Savage Landor

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    WE sometimes meet in a stage‑coach in New England an erect, muscular man, with fresh complexion and a smooth hat, whose nervous speech instantly betrays the English traveller;— a man nowise cautious to conceal his name or that of his native country, or his very slight esteem for the persons and the country that surround him. When Mr. Bull rides in an American coach, he speaks quick and strong; he is very ready to confess his ignorance of everything about him, — persons, manners, customs, politics, geography. He wonders that the Americans should build with wood, whilst all this stone is lying in the roadside; and is astonished to learn that a wooden house may last a hundred years; nor will he remember the fact as many minutes after it has been told him: he wonders that they do not make elder‑wine and cherry‑bounce, since here are cherries, and every mile is crammed with elder‑bushes. He has never seen a good horse in America, nor a good coach, nor a good inn. Here is very good earth and water and plenty of them; that he is free to allow; to all other gifts of Nature or man his eyes are sealed by the inexorable demand for the precise conveniences to which he is accustomed in England. Add to this proud blindness the better quality of great downrightness in speaking the truth, and the love of fair play, on all occasions, and moreover the peculiarity which is alleged of the Englishman, that his virtues do not come out until he quarrels.

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