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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Women and Men, chapter 33 (search)
because we were thinner; but it is now pretty well proved that we needed only to become acclimated and adapt ourselves to the new ways of living. So with the American voice; it will probably never be a chest voice, like the English, but it will come more from the head, and when well trained will be an instrument capable of finer modulation and greater expression. As the very best American manners — such manners, for instance, as those of the late Mr. Charles Dabney, so long our consul at Fayal — seem to me finer than the best English manners, so the very best American voices seem to me better than the best English voices, being equally clear and mellow, with more positive sweetness and far more range of expression. But such really good voices are rarer here than in England, mainly because there is not the same close attention given to the matter on this side the Atlantic. An English mother, in the well-bred classes, is as solicitous about her daughter's way of speaking as about
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Women and Men, chapter 53 (search)
dethroned, and some new substitute inaugurated. Meanwhile, who would not welcome the Santa Claus agent? She will be sent for, let us suppose, by a family with whom she has dealt already, and whose peculiar tastes she knows. They will unfold to her their needs and exigencies-so many uncles and aunts, so many deserving relatives at a distance, so many children of different ages. Something will readily occur to her for each : have the household seen those lovely new things, so cheap, in Fayal goods? those pretty boxes of colored crayons for little girls? One of her great functions will lie in the simple answering of questions; the information that would otherwise involve the ascending and descending of a dozen elevators in warehouses is here obtained by simple cross-examination in five minutes. Supposing that you take absolutely nothing that she brings or recommends, the mere suggestions she offers are worth the fee you pay. Simply to hear from her what you can not find this ye