Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/124

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and ridiculous in any just view of the real facts. It does not follow that gestures and movements, due to, we will say, acute tactical sensitiveness, indicate community of race. Some which I have had myself, I remark in my English housekeeper, and no doubt I might see them in an Indian or a negro. But one decisive fact disposes of Dr. Büchner's inference. The English much oftener suggest the Indian type than the Americans do, and there is much less extravagance in imagining, baseless as the notion would be, that England is turning Indian than in supposing that America shows such a tendency. In America I never saw a markedly Indian type without Indian blood, but I have seen it in England again and again; in one case a lady with the dirty-black skin, straight, intensely black hair, high, fierce temper, indifference to grime and smut on her hands, and habitually very bad breath of a savage, and yet purely English, and as much a lady and a Christian as her peculiarities permitted. America is much further than England from the Indian type, and is not tending toward it, but the contrary. In the earliest American days the opinion was at one time general in England that the climate of Virginia turned the colonists into blacks, and that, besides going black, a man was there harnessed into the plow and the cart and made to do the work of a beast. The like notions, only not quite so outrageous, form now a large part of English and foreign supposed knowledge of America, and Dr. Büchner's notion that Americans tend toward the Indian type is about the worst item of this pseudo-knowledge. English ignorance about America seems to me the worst ignorance anywhere existing. It is largely due to the greed of the general English mind for mean ideas of America. Unfortunately, many Americans unwittingly feed this greed, either from lacking correct comparative knowledge of England and America, or from making assertions or admissions which will be entirely misunderstood by the English mind. It requires a good deal of varied residence and reading for an American to know accurately and adequately his own country, and to know it in comparison with England requires residence in England, and that among the people. The most rural parts of England are best for knowledge calculated to throw light on America. The peculiar Yankee characteristics, as of guessing and questioning and cute getting to know all about a person or matter, I have actually seen in England, in their native seats. They are all old rural English, and have nothing to do with either climate or character in America. In America they have dwindled and been effaced more than they have in England.

But what I would particularly emphasize is the twofold fact that the character and the climate which are said to be American are both English a good deal more than they are American. The nervous temperament; the excess of energy; the exaggerations and intensities of character; the vulgarities and madness of selfish getting; the fierce resort to sham and shoddy as a short cut to profit; and all the forms