American Way of Life
This breakneck speed of trains, ships, trams and lifts; these wire-entangled streets; this smoke; this noise; this ado… and those troubled faces; those mute mouths that seem incapable of giving a smile any longer… Brrr! Cold! Rushing, scurrying - as if unconsciously, like machine cogs, all the Americans automatically shuttle to and fro and interlock; the machine spits dollars; they take the dollars and put them back into the machine and move like cogwheels again… Eh, when will there be time to live?…
On the other hand, when we compare the situation of the working population in American cities with that of London, the well being of the former and the poverty of the latter stick out a mile. All the populace is well dressed. You see them in the streets, at the harbours, in the factories, in public institutions and in the churches: you can hardly tell the difference in their social status judging from their appearance. Go on a train or a ship: a cobbler sits alongside a governor or a millionaire, a cook sits alongside a professor - all of them wearing similar clothing, with a newspaper in hand, a cigarette in their mouths, their feet up wherever possible and nobody caring that this man is a big shot and that one a worker. Aren’t they lovely, those Americans!"
Aleko Konstantinov’s 1893 travelogue “To Chicago and Back”