American Chivalry (Article – originally published in 1846)

The following article, describing American culture as an epicenter of exaggerated gynocentric chivalry, was published in The London Sun, Wed 11th November, 1846.

I am convinced that a lady, no matter what her age and attractions might be, could journey through the whole extent of the union, not only without experiencing a single annoyance, but aided in every possible way with unobtrusive civility. Indeed a great number of Saphonisbas and Almiras do travel about, protected only by the chivalry of their countrymen and their own undoubted propriety.

To them the best seats, the best of everything, are always allotted. A friend of mine told me of a little affair at New York Theatre, the other night, illustrative of my assertion. A stiff-necked Englishman had engaged a front place, and of course the best corner: when the curtain rose, he was duly seated, opera-glass in hand, to enjoy the performance. A lady and a gentleman came into the box shortly afterwards; the cavalier in escort, seeing that the place where our friend sat was the best, calling his attention, saying “The lady, sir,” and motioned that the corner should be vacated. The possessor, partly because he disliked the imperative mood, and partly because it bored him to be disturbed, refused. Some words ensued, which attracted the attention of the sovereign people in the pit, who magisterially enquired what was the matter?

The American came to the front of the box and said, “There is an Englishman here who will not give up his place to a lady.” Immediately their majesties swarmed up by dozens over the barriers, seized the offender, very gently though, and carried him to the entrance; he kicked, cursed, and fought all in vain: he excited neither the pity nor the anger of his stern executioners; they placed him carefully on his feet again at the steps, one man handing him his hat, another his opera glass, and a third the price he had paid for his ticket of admission, then quickly shut the door upon him, and returned to their places. The shade of the departed Judge Lynch must have rejoiced at such an angelic administration of his law! – England in the New World.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s