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America To-day, Observations and Reflections   By: (1856-1924)

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AMERICA TO DAY

OBSERVATIONS AND REFLECTIONS

BY WILLIAM ARCHER

NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 1899

CONTENTS

PART I OBSERVATIONS

I. The Straits of New York When is a Ship not a Ship? Nationality of Passengers A Dream Realized

II. Fog in New York Harbor The Customs The Note Taker's Hyper├Žsthesia A Literary Car Conductor Mr. Kipling and the American Public The City of Elevators

III. New York a much maligned City Its Charm Mr. Steevens' Antithesis New York compared with Other Cities Its Slums Advertisements Architecture in New York and Philadelphia

IV. Absence of Red Tape "Rapid Transit" in New York The Problem and its Solution The Whirl of Life New York by Night The "White Magic" of the Future

V. Character and Culture American Universities Is the American "Electric" or Phlegmatic? Alleged Laxity of the Family Tie Postscript: The University System

VI. Washington in April A Metropolis in the Making The White House, the Capitol, and the Library of Congress The Symbolism of Washington

VII. American Hospitality Instances Conversation and Story Telling Overprofusion In Hospitality Expensiveness of Life in America The American Barber Postscript: An Anglo American Club

VIII. Boston Its Resemblance to Edinburgh Concord, Walden Pond, and Sleepy Hollow Is the "Yankee" Dying Out? America for the Americans Detroit and Buffalo The "Middle West"

IX. Chicago Its Splendour and Squalour Mammoth Buildings Wind, Dust, and Smoke Culture Chicago's Self Criticism Postscript: Social Service in America

X. New York in Spring Central Park New York not an Ill Governed City The United States Post Office The Express System Valedictory

PART II REFLECTIONS

North and South, I

North and South, II

North and South, III

North and South, IV

The Republic and The Empire, I

The Republic and The Empire, II

The Republic and The Empire, III

The Republic and The Empire, IV

American Literature

The American Language, I

The American Language, II

The American Language, III

The American Language, IV

The letters and essays which make up this volume appeared in the London Pall Mall Gazette and Pall Mall Magazine respectively, and are reprinted by kind permission of the editors of these periodicals. The ten letters which were sent to the Pall Mall Gazette appeared also in the New York Times .

PART I

OBSERVATIONS

LETTER I

The Straits of New York When is a Ship not a Ship? Nationality of Passengers A Dream Realized.

R.M.S. Lucania .

The Atlantic Ocean is geographically a misnomer, socially and politically a dwindling superstition. That is the chief lesson one learns and one has barely time to take it in between Queenstown and Sandy Hook. Ocean forsooth! this little belt of blue water that we cross before we know where we are, at a single hop skip and jump! From north to south, perhaps, it may still count as an ocean; from east to west we have narrowed it into a strait. Why, even for the seasick (and on this point I speak with melancholy authority) the Atlantic has not half the terrors of the Straits of Dover; comfort at sea being a question, not of the size of the waves, but of the proportion between the size of the waves and the size of the ship. Our imagination is still beguiled by the fuss the world made over Columbus, whose exploit was intellectually and morally rather than physically great. The map makers, too, throw dust in our eyes by their absurd figment of two "hemispheres," as though Nature had sliced her orange in two, and held one half in either hand. We are slow to realise, in fact, that time is the only true measure of space, and that London to day is nearer to New York than it was to Edinburgh a hundred and fifty years ago. The essential facts of the case, as they at present stand, would come home much more closely to the popular mind of both continents if we called this strip of sea the Straits of New York, and classed our liners, not as the successors of Columbus's caravels, but simply as what they are: giant ferry boats plying with clockwork punctuality between the twin landing stages of the English speaking world... Continue reading book >>




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