I and My Chimney

I and My Chimney

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I and My Chimney by Herman Melville

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I and My Chimney

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Book Excerpt

nd yet, when that stylish gentleman, Louis le Grand of France, would build a palace for his lady, friend, Madame de Maintenon, he built it but one story high--in fact in the cottage style. But then, how uncommonly quadrangular, spacious, and broad--horizontal acres, not vertical ones. Such is the palace, which, in all its one-storied magnificence of Languedoc marble, in the garden of Versailles, still remains to this day. Any man can buy a square foot of land and plant a liberty-pole on it; but it takes a king to set apart whole acres for a grand triannon.

But nowadays it is different; and furthermore, what originated in a necessity has been mounted into a vaunt. In towns there is large rivalry in building tall houses. If one gentleman builds his house four stories high, and another gentleman comes next door and builds five stories high, then the former, not to be looked down upon that way, immediately sends for his architect and claps a fifth and a sixth story on top of his previous four. And, not till t

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A very slow story to get started. An old man lives with his wife and daughters in a three-story house dominated by a huge chimney in the middle. Every room's fireplace feeds into the chimney, and none of the rooms are plumb.
The narrator's wife and daughters plot to have the chimney removed, and he good-naturedly foils their schemes. The old man's easy-going humor sucks in the reader.
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