Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 1.djvu/67

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56
Ch. 2.
HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.

I was from, if I was acquainted with any news, where bound to, and finally my name. 'Stop, Mister! why, I guess now you be coming from the new State?' 'No, sir.' 'Why, then, I guess as how you be coming from Kentuck?' 'No, sir.' 'Oh, why, then, pray now where might you be coming from?' 'From the low country.' 'Why, you must have heard all the news, then; pray now, Mister, what might the price of bacon be in those parts?' 'Upon my word, my friend, I can't inform you.' 'Ay, ay; I see, Mister, you be'ent one of us. Pray now, Mister, what might your name be?'"

Almost every writer spoke with annoyance of the inquisitorial habits of New England and the imper­tinence of American curiosity. Complaints so com­mon could hardly have lacked foundation, yet the Americans as a people were never loquacious, but inclined to be somewhat reserved, and they could not recognize the accuracy of the description. Presi­dent Dwight repeatedly expressed astonishment at the charge, and asserted that in his large experience it had no foundation. Forty years later, Charles Dickens found complaint with Americans for taci­turnity. Equally strange to modern experience were the continual complaints in books of travel that loungers and loafers, idlers of every description, in­fested the taverns, and annoyed respectable travel­lers both native and foreign. Idling seemed to be considered a popular vice, and was commonly associated with tippling. So completely did the practice disappear in the course of another generation that it