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

(1924) [MARC] Author: Fredrika Bremer
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Full resolution (TIFF) - On this page / på denna sida - (To the Rev. P. J. Böklin) Cincinnati, Nov. 27

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The traveler who finds in the United States a great
uniformity and resemblance among the people
there has looked merely on the exterior. There
is really a great, a too great uniformity in speech,
manners, and dress (for a little costume, delicately
expressive of individuality, belongs to a fully
developed character); one travels from one end of
the Union to the other, and hears the same questions
about Jenny Lind; the same phraseology at
the commencement of conversation; the same
“Last Thoughts of Weber” on the piano. After
this, however, an attentive observer soon remarks
that there is no lack of character and individuality;
and I have nowhere felt, as here, the distance
between one human being and another, nor have seen
anywhere so great a difference between man and
man, wholly irrespective of caste, rank, uniform,
outward circumstances. Here is the Transcendentalist,
who treads the earth as though he were a
god, who calls upon men to become gods, and from
the beauty of his demeanor and his character we
are induced to think more highly of human nature;
and here is the Clay-eater, who lives in the forest,
without school or church, sometimes without a
home, and who, impelled by a morbid appetite,
eats clay until, demoniacally dragged downward
by its oppressive power, he finds in it his grave;
here is the Spiritualist, who lives on bread, and

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