Thursday, November 22, 2012


Aloof from Mankind

Francis Parkman (1823-1893), History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac, and the War of the North American Tribes against the English Colonies after the Conquest of Canada (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), pp. 378-379 (from Chapter XXII, describing "the Virginian frontiersman"):
Concerning the business, pleasures, and refinements of cultivated life, he knew little, and cared nothing; and his manners were usually rough and obtrusive to the last degree. Aloof from mankind, he lived in a world of his own, which, in his view, contained all that was deserving of admiration and praise. He looked upon himself and his compeers as models of prowess and manhood, nay, of all that is elegant and polite; and the forest gallant regarded with peculiar complacency his own half-savage dress, his swaggering gait, and his backwoods jargon. He was wilful, headstrong, and quarrelsome; frank, straightforward, and generous; brave as the bravest, and utterly intolerant of arbitrary control. His self-confidence mounted to audacity. Eminently capable of heroism, both in action and endurance, he viewed every species of effeminacy with supreme contempt; and, accustomed as he was to entire self-reliance, the mutual dependence of conventional life excited his especial scorn.

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