quickness of mind is as unquestionable as her greater vivacity of spirits or taste in dress; it is only when you come to the voice that she is at a disadvantage.
It is not that one does not hear attractive voices of women in America
; they, indeed, are growing more and more common, and this is encouraging, because it shows that the climate offers no real obstacle.
But, after all, there is in the voice of the typical English “gentlewoman,” tame, conventional, narrow though she may be, a peculiar and soothing charm --a combination of mellowness and clearness and crispness that makes you willing, for the first few days at least, to listen to the very tamest discourse on lawn-tennis or water-colors or the new curate, for the sake of the agreeable vehicle by which it comes.
It is amusing to find that Mr. Andrew Carnegie
--“the star-spangled Scotchman,” as William Black, the novelist, appropriately calls him-interrupts his altogether jubilant book on “Triumphant democracy” by an expression of discontent over the American
voice — the only thing about which he makes the slightest concession.
“The American voice,” he says, “is thin to begin with — the effect of climate, I fear-and to this is added the abominable practice of slurring over or cutting off inconvenient syllables.
The American woman is the most intelligent, entertaining, and agreeable in the world.