|| But language is a treacherous thing, a
most unsure vehicle, and it can seldom arrange descriptive words in such
a way that they will not inflate the facts -- by help of the reader's imagination,
which is always ready to take a hand and work for nothing, and do the bulk
of it at that.
- Following the Equator
My sympathies are also with you in your desire & purpose to preserve your
native language in your American homes, & keep it alive in the family along
with our American tongue. My sympathies could not fail there, for this movement
of yours, so publicly & trustingly expressed, is a high compliment to our
free institutions. There are countries where it is a punishable crime for the
alien subject to use the speech that was born to him, but in America we do not
care what a man talks; for we know that the sentiment back of the words will
be American, every time -- & deep & strong, too.
- letter to an unidentified subject, 29 May 1892
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