music without notes.’
Why are we so severe on poor stray Englishmen, who know no better, when we ourselves furnish such social observation as this?
Yet this kind of thing may be read far and wide under the head of ‘Society Chit-chat,’ and is apt to leave the impression that the writer was about as near to the wondrous creatures he describes as that coachman mentioned by Horace Walpole
, who, having driven certain maids of honor for many years, left his savings to his son on condition that this chosen heir should never marry a maid of honor.
The real test of the manners and morals of a nation is not by comparison with other nations, but with itself.
It must be judged by the historical, not by the topographical, standard.
Does it develop?
Manners, like morals, are an affair of evolution, and must often be a native product,—a wholly indigenous thing.
This is the case, for instance, with the habitual American courtesy to women in travelling,—a thing unparalleled in any European
country, and of which, even in this country, Howells
finds his best type in the Californian.