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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Cheerful Yesterdays, chapter 11 (search)
e me, she caught at some other remark of mine, and asked with hearty surprise, But you do not mean that you really like being an American, do you? When I said that I should be very sorry not to be, she replied, I can only say that I never thought of such a thing; I supposed that you were all Americans because you could n't help it; and I assured her that we had this reason, also. She sung, later in the evening, with a dramatic power I never heard surpassed, Kingsley's thrilling ballad of Lorraine, of which the heroine is a jockey's wife, who is compelled by her husband to ride a steeple-chase, at which she meets her death. The young singer had set the ballad to music, and it was one of those coincidences stranger than any fiction that she herself was killed by a runaway horse but a few months later. An American had also to accustom himself, in those days, to the surprise which might be expressed at his knowing the commonplaces of English history, and especially of English legend