Plus ça change

For those who think that the Teenager is a modern invention, there’s this, from Dickens’s Sketches by Boz, 1836, The scene is a box at the theater:

First of all, there came three little boys and a little girl, who, in pursuance of pa’s directions, issued in a very audible voice from the box-door, occupied the front row; then two more little girls were ushered in by a young lady, evidently the governess. Then came three more little boys, dressed like the first, in blue jackets and trousers, with lay-down shirt-collars: then a child in a braided frock, and a high state of astonishment, with very large round eyes, opened to their utmost width, was lifted over the seats – a process which occasioned a considerable display of little pink legs – then came ma and pa, and then the eldest son, a boy of fourteen years old, who was evidently trying to look as if he did not belong to the family.

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