ARE THE ENGLISH DULL?
THIS title for a chapter might be considered unnecessarily impertinent, not to say insulting, were it not that it must be promptly answered in the negative. Why then put the question at all? For the very sufficient reason that it is a common misapprehension in America, in France, and elsewhere, and because in explaining this misapprehension we shall light upon interesting characteristics of Mr. John Bull and his family.
The slowness and steadiness of the race tempt the superficial critic to call them dull. But the people who have produced Chaucer, Shakespeare Swift, Sterne, Sydney Smith, Charles Lamb, and Robert Louis Stevenson, may well laugh at any accusation of their lack of intellectual humor; while the people who have gobbled the wealth and commerce of the world for a century may look on with some amusement while other nations call them dull.