North America - Volume 1 By Anthony Trollope 

 -   He was
seated on a horsehair-covered chair in the middle of a small,
dingy, ill-furnished private sitting-room - Page 6
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He Was Seated On A Horsehair-Covered Chair In The Middle Of A Small, Dingy, Ill-Furnished Private Sitting-Room.

No eloquence of mine could make intelligible to a Frenchman or an American the utter desolation of such an apartment.

The world as then seen by that Frenchman offered him solace of no description. The air without was heavy, dull, and thick. The street beyond the window was dark and narrow. The room contained mahogany chairs covered with horse- hair, a mahogany table, rickety in its legs, and a mahogany sideboard ornamented with inverted glasses and old cruet-stands. The Frenchman had come to the house for shelter and food, and had been asked whether he was commercial. Whereupon he shook his head. "Did he want a sitting-room?" Yes, he did. "He was a leetle tired and vanted to seet." Whereupon he was presumed to have ordered a private room, and was shown up to the Eden I have described. I found him there at death's door. Nothing that I can say with reference to the social habits of the Americans can tell more against them than the story of that Frenchman's fate tells against those of our country.

From which remarks I would wish to be understood as deprecating offense from my American friends, if in the course of my book should be found aught which may seem to argue against the excellence of their institutions and the grace of their social life. Of this at any rate I can assure them, in sober earnestness, that I admire what they have done in the world and for the world with a true and hearty admiration; and that whether or no all their institutions be at present excellent, and their social life all graceful, my wishes are that they should be so, and my convictions are that that improvement will come for which there may perhaps even yet be some little room.

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