Rupert Holmes, on Creating a Victorian-Flavored Escape in Upstate NY
[Editor’s Note: This is the second “In Context” post for a series on the influence of 19th-century British authors. Today: Rupert Holmes (1840-1899). You can learn more about his novels here.]
New York, New York, I’ve heard so much about this city from so many people I hardly know what to believe. I’ve had the same reaction to the state it occupies that I guess the people in the Midwest would have had if they saw Illinois. I didn’t expect so many words to describe it. It’s like nothing else I’ve seen.
It’s not that the people are inscrutable, but it is not easy to figure out who these people are with so many layers and layers of class and education and education and education. I suppose only a novelist could do a detailed job of describing the people of New York.
So many of them are the children of people who came over on the Mayflower. In fact, there are more than two generations of Mayflower descendants living in this very city. Yet they are so very different from each other.
This is a fact that can be seen everywhere in New York. It’s like there is no one area. The people of New York would look at people in a different light as their grandparents. But you can also see that people of New York are a blend of the American and the European. They can be very much Americans, but they also have traits of the British and the French. It’s not a simple thing to pinpoint where one person comes from, but everyone has some of these traits in some degree.
I suppose that all cities are a blend of peoples but New York gives you a more detailed idea of how it works. I thought about that the other day when I had the car towed to our place because the radiator hose had burst. The first thing I did was look up the car in the Manhattan phone book. I found the address on Madison and Broadway.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was all one building with six floors. It was exactly like the Grand Central Terminal. I couldn’t believe my eyes