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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Social Functions in the West

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

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Social Functions in the West is the second article of the series American Impressions by Miss Conan Doyle written by Mary Conan Doyle, the first daughter of Arthur Conan Doyle, in the Los Angeles Evening Express on 14 may 1920.

Social Functions in the West

Los Angeles Evening Express
(14 may 1920, p. 21)

[Miss Doyle, daughter of the distinguished English novelist, has consented to write a series of articles for the Evening Express during her sojourn in Southern California. The second appears herewith.]

One is struck by the delightful simplicity and the very real spirit of hospitality that animates the western "party." They have the true old feeling that a "party" is a gathering of friends in joyous companionship, and not the complicated, cold affair it becomes to the overcultured, who have sacrificed sincerity to polish.

Of course, there are occasions when the individual warmth of host or hostess gets lost in the crush — as it were! It is rather difficult to keep the unity in handling a large crowd of people, because one cannot get ALL the minds and natures harmoniously blended. There are always a certain number of "wads of nothingness" that dissipate the sympathetic current, and then very often the critical element gets in as well, creating more confusion, and the result is — the stifled mind, and the longing for air on the part of the individual!

But as a rule big functions are either organized by some club, where the general interest will be a literary subject, or else it's a musical gathering, and unity of interest is again assured. Another interesting diversion is the dancing. The wild pounding rhythm of the "jazz" and the complete freedom of interpretation it allows of — everything from a plain moving around to the most intricate steps and body twists.

But some millionaire ought to construct a ballroom with plate-glass walls for the good of this generation. If some of these gyrating couples could see themselves — well, they'd stop it pretty soon, for apart from any question of morals — it's not becoming!

In the main, though, the dancing is fascinating to watch and in spite of the cries of the anti-prohibitionists, a party can still be a gay and happy affair, with no stronger spirit — than youth — to animate it.

We, of the old world, have much to learn from the west. But the west has still to prove the final test — to grow — to refine and develop — and yet retain its simplicity. If it can do this, it may lead the world!