Readings for Rural Life

From Moore’s Rural New-Yorker in Rochester, NY

June 11th, 1864

The American Young Lady Talking

I said that all the young ladies can talk. A flow of sharp, shrewd, intelligent talk, is the shinning attainment of all American ladies, and from the school-girl upward. All the school-girls themselves talk with an ease and volubility that would astonish the superintendents of the ladies’ colleges at home. There is no blushing, no stammering, no twiddleing of the fingers, no plucking at boquets, or nervous unhemming of handkerchiefs. The vapid inanities that pass between partners at the English ball would be scouted. To be shy is to be unpatriotic. The American young lady goes straight to the point. How is your health? How long have you been in the country? Do you like it? Have you had a good time? What do you think of the actions in the present struggle? Are you not stuck with admiration at the deeds of valor performed by the nation’s armies? Have you read Longfellow’s Wayside Inn? When is Tennyson’s Boadicea to appear? Was not England convulsed with enthusiasm at the appearance of Rev. Ward. Beecher? Don’t you think the room wants oxygen? Are not the monitors triumphs of mechanical construction? Have you been to Niagara? These are a few of the queries she rattles out. You are the first delighted, then amazed, and at last puzzled; for the intelligent and well dressed young lady continutally addresses you as “sir,” and every now and then she asks you a question so naïve, so artlessly ignorant, that you pause to inquire of yourself whether she can be more than six years old. Salo.

 

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