- Project Runeberg -  America of the Fifties: Letters of Fredrika Bremer /
67

(1924) [MARC] Author: Fredrika Bremer
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World, and least of all among the women of New
England. They were so haughty and puffed up
with pride, so unlovely—one read the stamp of
money both in glance and figure. I was told that
Mrs. So-and-so and her sister had spent a year in
Paris. They ought to have brought thence a little
Parisian grace and common sense as well as fashion!
People who are arrogant on account of their
wealth are about equal in civilization to Laplanders,
who measure a man’s worth by the number of
his reindeer. A man with a thousand reindeer is
a very great man. The aristocracy of wealth is
the lowest and commonest possible. It is a pity
that one meets it in America more than one ought
to. One can even, in walking through the streets,
hear the expression, “He is worth so and so many
dollars!” But the best people here despise such
expressions. They would never defile the lips of
Marcus Spring, Channing, or Mr. Downing. And
it must be acknowledged that the fashionable circles
are not considered the highest here. One
hears people spoken of as “above fashion,” and by
this is meant people of the highest class. It is clear
that there is an aristocracy forming here by
degrees which is much higher than that of birth,
property, or position in society; it is really an
aristocracy of merit, of amiability, and of character.
But it is not general. As yet there is only a

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