The streets of New York, as most people know, are named only in the older Southern quarter. In the newer parts they go by numbers. The Avenues —First, Second, and the like—run North and South, beginning on the East side. The streets run East and West, beginning from the South. To the European mind this device is at first hateful. What possible individuality can you associate with Sixty-ninth Street? But after two days you begin to appreciate it. For you have only to know the address of any place and you know not only exactly the direction, but also exactly how far you have to go.
I seem to notice that the Americans love strong flavours and violent contrast in the domain of food, as elsewhere: their sweets seem sweeter than ours; their salt fish is uncompromisingly salt, and their pickled pork remorselessly pickled.
To him a week's journey is far less hardship tlian a week's stay in the same place. I believe many Americans regard that day as wasted in wliich they do not see the inside of a railway train. This roving temperament is, after all, perfectly natural. The native American has it in his blood. He descends from generations of colonists, and the colonist is essentially the man who thinks there is something a little further on a little better than what he has, and who goes after it.
Be that so or not, it is certain that commercial concerns make frequent, powerful, and successful combinations to override the public interest. One of the most odious forms of this is a combination among great employers of labour — railway companies and the like—to keep a mutual black list. If a working man offends one of them, in time of strike or otherwise, he will get no employment from any. Men have changed their names and disguised themselves in vain to escape this omniscient and merciless boycott.
He talks English — often as if he were trying to imitate Mr Eugene Stratton, often with a clarity of pronunciation that put me again and again to shame.
To pass from the manufactory, and the farm, and the mine, into the home, it is believed by people in this country that the American still preserves the private life of the Puritan, from whom, in some not unexaggerated measure, he descends. But there is a good deal of misapprehension about this. As to the home, the Americans talk about it a great deal. A man never builds himself a house: he builds himself a home. But you cannot call a people who will never be happy ten years in the same place, who build themselves houses with the view of shortly moving them bodily somewhere else, who often voluntarily live in public and comfortless liotels—you cannot call them home-loving in the English sense.