Sunday 10 October 2010


"The complaints, which some English travellers have entered against the coldness and reserve of American ladies towards strangers, may apply to English gentlemen, on their first introduction to a new acquaintance. It is seldom that an Englishman extends his hand to a stranger who is presented to him. He bows slightly and formally, and with a grave composure of his features ; which produces rather a repulsive effect, until you recollect that such is the manner of the English, and that it does not necessarily infer unkindness. It is not till after two or three interviews, and you have been admitted to the hospitality of his fireside, that you give him credit for all the warmth of feeling which he really possesses. Introductions are not common, even when a number of guests, strangers to each other, are dining together. The name of each is announced by the servant as he enters the room; and his being invited by the entertainer is understood by the other guests as a proof, that they are proper society for each other. He is thus spared the tiresome, and somewhat embarrassing operation, of being presented to a dozen persons in succession, the object or convenience of which formality it is difficult to understand."

Nathaniel S. Wheaton, A Journal of a Residence during Several Months in London, 1830

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