Diary in America, Series Two

Frederick Marryat

Diary in America, Series Two, by

Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat) This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: Diary in America, Series Two
Author: Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)
Release Date: October 21, 2007 [EBook #23138]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

Diary in America--Series Two
by Captain Marryat.

I believe that the remarks of a traveller in any country not his own, let his work be ever so trifling or badly written, will point out some peculiarity which will have escaped the notice of those who were born and reside in that country, unless they happen to be natives of that portion of it in which the circumstance alluded to was observed. It is a fact that no one knows his own country; from assuetude and, perhaps, from the feelings of regard which we naturally have for our native land, we pass over what nevertheless does not escape the eye of a foreigner. Indeed, from the consciousness that we can always see such and such objects of interest whenever we please, we very often procrastinate until we never see them at all. I knew an old gentleman who having always resided in London, every year declared his intention of seeing the Tower of London with its Curiosities. He renewed this declaration every year, put it off until the next, and has since left the world without having ever put his intention into execution.
That the Americans would cavil at portions of the first part of my work, I was fully convinced, and as there are many observations quite new to most of them, they are by them considered to be false; but the United States, as I have before observed, comprehend an immense extent of territory, with a population running from a state of refinement down to one of positive barbarism; and although the Americans travel much, they travel the well beaten paths, in which that which is peculiar is not so likely to meet the eye or even the ear. It does not, therefore, follow that because what I remark is new to many of them, that therefore it is false. The inhabitants of the cities in the United States, (and it is those who principally visit this country), know as little of what is passing in Arkansas and Alabama as a cockney does of the manners and customs of Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man.
The other day, one American lady observed that, "it was too bad of Captain Marryat to assert that ladies in America carried pigtail in their work-boxes to present to the gentlemen;" adding, "I never heard or saw such a thing in all my life." Very possible; and had I stated that at New York, Philadelphia, Boston, or Charleston, such was the practice, she then might have been justifiably indignant. But I have been very particular in my localities, both in justice to myself and the Americans, and if they will be content to confine their animadversions to the observations upon the State to which they belong, or my general observations upon the country and government, I shall then be content; if, on the contrary, their natural vanity will not allow any remarks to be made upon the peculiarities of one portion of society without considering them as a reflection upon the whole of the Union, all I can say is that they must, and will be annoyed.
The answer made to the lady who was "wrathy" about the pigtail was, "Captain M has stated it to be a custom in one State. Have you ever been in that State?"
"No, I have not," replied the lady, "but I have never heard of it." So then, on a vast continent, extending almost from the Poles to the Equator, because one individual, one mere mite of creation among the millions (who are but a fraction of the population which the country will support), has not heard of what passes thousands of miles from her abode, therefore it cannot be true! Instead of cavilling, let the American read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest all that I have already said, and all that I intend to say in these volumes; and although the work was not written for them, but for my own countrymen, they will find that I have done them friendly service.
There is much comprehended in the simple word "travelling" which heads this chapter, and it is by no means an unimportant subject, as the degree of civilisation of a country, and many important peculiarities, bearing strongly
Continue reading on your phone by scaning this QR Code

 / 207
Tip: The current page has been bookmarked automatically. If you wish to continue reading later, just open the Dertz Homepage, and click on the 'continue reading' link at the bottom of the page.