It Was Through An Introduction Given Me By A Valued English Friend That I,
As An English Stranger, Was Received With The Kindest Hospitality By Some
Of Those Who Have Been Rendered Thus Exclusive By The Bad Taste And Worse
Conduct Of Foreigners.
I feel, as I write, that any remarks I make on New
York society cannot be perfectly free from bias, owing to the overwhelming
kindness and glowing hospitality which I met with in that city.
I found so
much to enjoy in society, and so much to interest and please everywhere,
that when I left New York it was with the wish that the few weeks which I
was able to spend there could have been prolonged into as many months.
But, to answer the question. The best society in New York would not suffer
by comparison in any way with the best society in England. It is not in
the upper classes of any nation that we must look for national
characteristics or peculiarities. Society throughout the civilized world
is, to a certain extent, cast in the same mould; the same laws of
etiquette prevail, and the same conventionalisms restrict in great measure
the display of any individual characteristics. Balls are doubtless the
same in "society" all over the world; a certain amount of black cloth, kid
gloves, white muslin, epaulettes if they can be procured, dancing, music,
and ices. Every one acknowledges that dinner-parties are equally dull in
London and Paris, in Calcutta and in New York, unless the next neighbour
happens to be peculiarly agreeable.
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