Roundabout Papers.—No. XVII. A Mississippi Bubble
[William M Thackeray]
Regular Feature, Editorial, Travelogue, Drollery
Race, Monstrosities, Heredity
Although 'not an advocate for "the institution" [i.e. slavery]', the narrator records his memories of the ebullient cheerfulness of the 'negroes of the cities of the southern parts of the then United States', who often dressed in 'such splendour and comfort as freeborn workmen in our towns seldom exhibit' (754). Also notes that his travelling companions on a Mississippi steamer were 'no less personages than the Vermont Giant and the famous Bearded Lady of Kentucky'. While the latter's son was a 'little Bearded Boy of three years old' (757), her six-year old daughter had 'a cheek no more bearded than a rose's', and was consequently ignored by her mother in favour of her brother whose 'little beard was beginning to be a little fortune already' (759).
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