Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Visions of America Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Truth is, it was more important to be rough," said Jack. "This is rough country, and it takes a rough man."
"Must you choose one or the other?" asked Abe. "I've always found time for books, and I know something of rough country."
Jack smiled. "Not Illinois rough." (5.72-4)
"Illinois rough" may not explain why Illinois governors keep ending up in jail, but it does make Illinois sound different from Kentucky (where Abe was born) and Washington, D.C. (where Abe will die). But is that real or is that just what Jack thinks? Is it just hometown pride, or is Illinois really rougher than the rest? And why would it be so?
The savage clashes which laid siege to much of Manhattan these two days and nights have at last been quieted. By order of the Governor, militiamen entered the Five Points late Sunday and engaged the remaining combatants with volley upon volley of musket fire. Untold numbers of dead could this morning be seen lining Baxter, Mulberry and Elizabeth Streets—victims of the worst rioting this or any city has seen in memory. The violence seems to have begun when those notorious Five Points gangs, the Plug Uglies and Dead Rabbits, sprung an attack against their shared enemy, the Bowery Boys. (9.4)
Gang warfare has always been a popular hobby in New York, just behind scrapbooking. These gang fights may be the subject of the movie Gangs of New York, and this book has 'em, too, only with vampires. This gang warfare makes it seem like New York may be just as rough as Illinois (see quote #7); and it also shows us that vampires aren't just a problem in the South. They're everywhere, including right behind you.
The drawings do it no justice—it is a city without end or equal! Each street gives way to another more grand and bustling than the last. Buildings of such size! Never have I seen so many carriages crowded together. The air rings with the clopping of horseshoes against cobblestones and the murmur of a hundred conversations. There are so many ladies carrying so many black parasols, that if a man were to look down from a rooftop, he would scarcely see the sidewalk. One imagines Rome at its height. London and its grandeur. [Footnote:] As big as New York City was, it was still only a quarter of London's size in 1857. (9.63)
New York City tends to be thought of (and tends to think of itself) as the best city in the world. (Ever notice how alien invasion and disaster movies always destroy New York? Wonder what that's about.) And here, in 1857, Abe agrees with that assessment. New York City is even bigger and more amazing than New Orleans and Springfield. But then we get that awesome footnote to puncture Abe's wonder. The Big Apple can be nice, but it's still small compared to the real metropolis of the time, London. This also points to a larger truth: America is still pretty new at this point. It has a lot of growing up to do.