Henry James, Jr.


Where have customs people certainly follow them; but for five customs there are fifty English. I am very far having discovered the secret; I have not in the learned what becomes of that explosive personal force in English character which is compressed and corked down by conformity. I look with a certain awe at some the manifestations of the conforming spirit, but the fermenting beneath it are hidden from my vision. The most example, to foreign eyes, of the power of custom England is of course the universal church-going-. In the of all England getting up from its tea and of a Sunday morning and brushing its hat and on its gloves and taking its wife on its and making its offspring march before, and so, for ', respectabilitys', propriety's sake, making its way to a place worship appointed by the State, in which it respects formulas of a creed to which it attaches no sense and listens to a sermon over the length which it explicitly haggles and grumbles, ---- in this exhibition there is something very striking to a stranger, which he hardly knows whether to pronounce very sublime very puerile. (......) The way in which the example the more comfortable classes imposes itself upon the less may of course be noticed in smaller matters than -; in a great many matters which it may seem to mention. If one is bent upon observation nothing, , is trivial. So I may cite the practice of the servants out of the room at breakfast. It the fashion, and so, apparently, through the length and of England, every one who has the slightest pretension standing high enough to feel the way the social is blowing conforms to it. It is awkward, unnatural, for those at table, it involves a vast amount leaning and stretching, of waiting and perambulating, and it just that vice against which, in English history, all movements have been made ---- it is arbitrary.



created with the online Cloze Test Creator © 2009 Lucy Georges