I was most struck by the connectedness people felt toward the land and
history that we don't really have in a country like the US which has such a
relatively short history. This is illustrated nicely by the passage:
"I was aware too, quite suddenly, of what it was that attracted me to
Europe and most of all to France; it was the sense of continuity and the
permanence of small but eternal things, ...
The permanence, the continuity of France was not born of weariness and
economic defeat, but was a living thing, anchored to the soil, to the very
earth itself. Any French peasant, any French workingman with his little
plot of ground and his modest home and wages, which by American standards
were small, had more permanence, more solidity, more security, than the
American workingman or white-collar worker who received, according to
French standards, fabulous wages, who rented the home he lived in and was
perpetually in debt for his car, his radio, his washing machine.
Sitting there it occurred to me that the high standard of living in America
was an illusion, based upon credit and the installment plan, which threw a
man and his family into the street and on public relief the monent his
factory closed and he lost his job. ..."
The last paragraph above, which had originally been underlined by some
previous reader or probably the original owner who had gifted his book to
the Morrell Library in 1952, was carefully returned to the non-underlined
I mused that the erasure was most likely done by the librarian who stamped
EXAMINED AND KEPT above the original gifter's name which was written with
a fountain-type pen on the inside of the front cover.
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. I guess here in America, in our
own way, we have continuity with the past too. Mike Miller
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