For Esmé with Love and Squalor
"I thought Americans despised tea," [Esmé] said.
It wasn't the observation of a smart aleck but that of a truth-lover or a statistics-lover. I replied that some of us never drank anything but tea. (11-12)
I bit into a piece of toast myself, and commented that there's some mighty rough country around Ohio.
"I know. An American I met told me. You're the eleventh American I've met." (21-22)
"You seem quite intelligent for an American," my guest mused.
I told her that was a pretty snobbish thing to say, if you thought about it at all, and that I hoped it was unworthy of her.
She blushed – automatically conferring on me the social poise I'd been missing. "Well. Most of the Americans I've seen act like animals. They're forever punching another about, and insulting everyone, and – You know what one of them did?"
I shook my head.
"One of them threw an empty whiskey bottle through my aunt's window. Fortunately, the window was open. But does that sound very intelligent to you?"
It didn't especially, but I didn't say so. (27-31)