Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 1.djvu/56

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1800.
45
POPULAR CHARACTERISTICS.

obstinate restlessness than coffee. Supper again intro­duces salt meats or oysters. As Chastellux says, the whole day passes in heaping indigestions on one an­other; and to give tone to the poor, relaxed, and wearied stomach, they drink Madeira, rum, French brandy, gin, or malt spirits, which complete the ruin of the nervous system."

An American breakfast never failed to interest for­eigners, on account of the variety and abundance of its dishes. On the main lines of travel, fresh meat and vegetables were invariably served at all meals; but Indian corn was the national crop, and Indian corn was eaten three times a day in another form as salt pork. The rich alone could afford fresh meat. Ice-chests were hardly known. In the country fresh meat could not regularly be got, except in the shape of poultry or game; but the hog cost nothing to keep, and very little to kill and preserve. Thus the ordi­nary rural American was brought up on salt pork and Indian corn, or rye; and the effect of this diet showed itself in dyspepsia.

One of the traits to which Liancourt alluded marked more distinctly the stage of social development. By day or by night, privacy was out of the question. Not only must all men travel in the same coach, dine at the same table, at the same time, on the same fare, but even their beds were in common, without distinc­tion of persons. Innkeepers would not understand that a different arrangement was possible. When the English traveller Weld reached Elkton, on the main