In a magazine article by Wilde, originally uncredited.
'The American Invasion' in The Court and Society Review Vol. IV, No. 142, March 23, 1887, pp. 270-271
Bibliography of Oscar Wilde
by Stuart Mason, 1914
LONDON | T. WERNER LAURIE LTD.
Reproduced here: The American Invasion
Reprinted in Miscellanies, 1908, pp. 77-82
Miscellanies is Vol. XIV of The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, 1908, fourteen vols. edited by Robert Ross.
From its earliest years every American child spends most of its time in correcting the faults of its father and mother; and no one who has had the opportunity of watching an American family on the deck of an Atlantic steamer, or in the refined seclusion of a New York boarding-house, can fail to have been struck by this characteristic of their civilisation. In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience. A boy of only eleven or twelve years of age will firmly but kindly point out to his father his defects of manner or temper; will never weary of warning him against extravagance, idleness, late hours, unpunctuality, and the other temptations to which the aged are so particularly exposed; and sometimes, should he fancy that he is monopolising too much of the conversation at dinner, will remind him, across the table, of the new child's adage, 'Parents should be seen, not heard.' Nor does any mistaken idea of kindness prevent the little American girl from censuring her mother whenever it is necessary. Often, indeed, feeling that a rebuke conveyed in the presence of others is more truly efficacious than one merely whispered in the quiet of the nursery, she will call the attention of perfect strangers to her mother's general untidiness, her want of intellectual Boston conversation, immoderate love of iced water and green corn, stinginess in the matter of candy, ignorance of the usages of the best Baltimore society, bodily ailments and the like. In fact, it may be truly said that no American child is ever blind to the deficiencies of its parents, no matter how much it may love them.
Full text here: The American Invasion
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