Tom: the quibble you raise is one of the points I'm trying to make.
You say someone from 1890 would go crazy. I vehemently don't agree. Go back
and read letters from the 1890s. Heck, go read letters from 1776; the
language, the emotions, they're all very much the same. The chrome of
technology has changed, some social styles and attitudes have changed, but
people still go through school (usually), get married, raise kids, hold jobs,
and look to a better future one day.
Mariah was also a scientist, sent forth expecting and prepared to see new
things; this isn't the same thing as an average person just plucked out of
I think people -- Americans in particular -- over-emphasize how much
things change with time, in large measure because in a country that's only
200+ years old, we *really* don't understand what time IS here. The Romans
who left grafitti all over parts of England are only one step removed from the
South Central taggers of today....