Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The American mood

In America there are no moods, or there is only one mood.

It is the same whether it is called hustle or uplift; whether we regard it as the heroic love of comrades or the last hysteria of the herd instinct.

It has been said of the typical English aristocrats of the Government offices that they resemble certain ornamental fountains and play from ten till four; and it is true that an Englishman, even an English aristocrat, is not always inclined to play any more than to work.

But American sociability is not like the Trafalgar fountains. It is like Niagara. It never stops, under the silent stars or the rolling storms.

There seems always to be the same human heat and pressure behind it; it is like the central heating of hotels as explained in the advertisements and announcements.

The temperature can be regulated; but it is not. And it is always rather overpowering for an Englishman, whose mood changes like his own mutable and shifting sky.

The English mood is very like the English weather; it is a nuisance and a national necessity.
Source: What I Saw in America by G. K. Chesterton

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