Tuesday, November 4, 2014

French princes find Chicago "slangy"

November 4, 1904

Princes Luiz and Antoino of Orleans, sons of Prince Gaston, Count of Eu, and Princess Isabel of Braganza, daughter of the late Emperor Pedro II of Brazil, returned to New York after traveling throughout the United States, reports the Chicago Daily Tribune.

They have been in the country for about three months, and have visited Boston, Lenox, Newport, Chicago, St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Prince Luiz said: "Chicago is a big, bustling city. We were there for the horse show and a fine show it was, too."   Prince Antoine added: "Yes, we saw there the American harness horse on his native heath.  He is a fine animal. You know we have been exporting American harness horses to Austria for the trotting races.  The American style is a feature of our sport."

But Louis added that "we found it hard getting on in Chicago. Somehow we couldn't well understand the vernacular, that is the vernacular of the streets, cars and hotels. They use so many Americanisms there - what you call slang, we call patois  - we could not understand it. They are difficult, your Americanisms.

"We have had a fine time and we have been treated handsomely by your people. You Americans are so cordial, no courteous, so hospitable.

"America is a great country. There is one thing that surprised us most agreeably. We had heard before coming here that almost everything was frightfully expensive in America, but we have found it quite the contrary.  Generally speaking, we had to pay no more for the same things at our home in Vienna, Paris, or in London -- except for cabs -- your cab tariff does seem high to Europeans.

"Take your theaters, for example. It costs practically the same to occupy a seat in the orchestra here that it does in Paris, Vienna and London.  The New York theaters are about the same as those of London, much finer than those of Paris, but not nearly so roomy as those of Vienna.  A man can get much more of what you call elbow room in a Vienna theater than he can in a playhouse in New York, but I realize land is not so dear in Vienna as it is here.

"As for the performances, we saw nothing anywhere in Europe so delightfully light and amusing as we found in New York.  We go in for heavier things on the other side.  If Europe wants to be amused it must come to the states and go to the theater. And American stage girls - why, there is none in all Europe to compare with them.

"We went from here to Lenox and had a delightful, quiet time. It is a beautiful country, that, and we shall always remember its beauties. We were late for the Newport season, but we enjoyed ourselves there.

"We saw at the St. Louis exposition about what we saw in Paris two years ago. But the electric light effects are wonderful. At evening, when one looks down from the big wheel upon the exposition grounds it is like looking at a fairy city just coming out of the mist.  That is beautiful and worth the trip over the ocean to see.

"In Philadelphia, we were delightfully entertained. That is a fine, quiet, and beautiful old city, and the people were charming."

Prince Luiz is 26-years-old and Prince Antonio is 23.  Their older brother, Prince Pedro d'Alcantara, is the heir, after his mother, the Princess Imperial, to the former throne of Brazil.

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