Wednesday, May 18, 2011

1831 America's Grim, Determined Women

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Frances Trollope, Domestic Manners of the Americans. Written during her stay in America, 1827-1831

1831 America's Grim, Determined Women

EN ROUTE TO NIAGARA BY CANAL BOAT THROUGH NEW YORK. Spring 1831. 

There is a great quietness about the women of America (I speak of the exterior manner of persons casually met), but somehow or other, I should never call it gentleness.

In such trying moments as that of fixing themselves on board a packet-boat, the men are prompt, determined, and will compromise any body's convenience' except their own.

The women are doggedly stedfast in their will, and till matters are settled, look like hedgehogs, with every quill raised, and firmly set, as if to forbid the approach of any one who might wish to rub them down.

In circumstances where an English woman would look proud, and a French woman nonchalante, an American lady looks grim; even the youngest and the prettiest can set their lips, and knit their brows, and look as hard and unsocial as their grandmothers.
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