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American Ladies

The Illustrated London News, vol.41, no.1155, p.89.

July 19, 1862

American Ladies.--I confess that in the States I have sometimes been driven to think that chivalry has been carried too far--that there is an attempt to make women think more of the rights of their womanhood than is needful. There are ladies' doors at hotels, and ladies' drawing-rooms, ladies' sides on the ferry-boats, and ladies' windows at the post-office for the delivery of letters (which, by-the-by, is an atrocious institution, as anybody may learn who will look at the advertisements called personal in some of the New York papers). Why should not young ladies have their letters sent to their houses instead of getting them at a private window? The post-office clerks can tell stories about these ladies' windows. But at every turn it is necessary to make separate provision for ladies. From all this it comes to pass that the baker's daughter looks down from a great height on her papa, and by no means thinks her brother good enough for her associate. Nature, the great restorer, comes in and teaches her to fall in love with the butcher's son. Thus the evil is mitigated; but I cannot but wish that the young woman should not see herself denominated a lady so often and should receive fewer lessons as to the extent of her privileges. I would save her, if I could, from working at the oven; I would give to her bread and meat earned by her father's care and her brother's sweat; but, when she has received these good things, I would have her proud of the one and by no means ashamed of the other.--Trollope.

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