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Chapter 28: the really interesting people

A newly arrived English authoress, sitting beside an American author at the dinner-table a few years since, looked up and said to him with the cheerful frankness of her nation, “Isn't it a pity, don't you think, that all the really interesting Americans are dead?” It was not, perhaps, a very encouraging inducement for a surviving American to make himself interesting; and probably the talk which followed became a series of obituaries. As a matter of fact, it always seems as if the interesting people had just passed away, as in any town it always seems as if the really fine trees had lately died or had been cut down. But, as Goethe remarked, the old trees must fall in order to give the younger growth a chance; and it would be wiser to say that the really interesting people are always those who survive. The younger they are, indeed, the more

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