This story takes the form of an anecdote related at a meeting of a sort of literary society. A great format for what really is just a tall tale of an incident witnessed by one of the attendees on his voyages. In this case we have Mr. Jefferson Adams who appears to be an American. Doyle writes in what I suppose he must of thought of as an American western dialect. We are treated to such phrases as
"...they'd make some of your European's har riz with astonishment..."
"...if I rec'lects aright..."
as well as the inclusion of the letter 'h' on the word ain't; amusing in it's own right, but hardly accurate.
The bulk of the story takes place in Arizona, although half a page later Doyle mentions Montana. It is essentially a humorous morality play about American settlers skirmishing with a British colony in a frontier town. The final paragraph has an echo of what would later be paraphrased in a Holmes story about the union between Britain and the US. Clearly a situation that Doyle rather fancied. In this case it reads like this " Made a speech too - a darned fine speech - from the counter. Somethin' about the British lion an' the 'Merican eagle walkin' arm in arm for ever an' a day." Vaguely similar to the Union Jack/Stars and Stripes bit.
Oh, and did I mention the pivotal role played by a giant Venus flytrap? No? Well, go read it yourself to figure that one out.
Basically a short little nothing of a story that amused me greatly. Doyle would use a similar tone nearly twelve years later in his Los Amigos Fiasco.
Reviewed by Charles Prepolec
|The Americans Tale (1880)
Originally published in 'London Society'