Bill for paints, paper and canvas

Discussion in 'English Only' started by huynhvantinhftu, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. huynhvantinhftu

    huynhvantinhftu Senior Member

    I have read this excerpt from "The Last Leaf" by O.Henrry Short Stories: The Last Leaf by O. Henry
    "An artist once discovered a valuable possibility in this street. (1) Suppose a collector with a bill for paints, paper and canvas should, in traversing this route, suddenly meet himself coming back, without a cent having been paid on account!
    So, to quaint old Greenwich Village the art people soon came prowling, hunting for north windows and eighteenth-century gables and Dutch attics and low rents."

    But I don't really the meaning of the sentence (1). I think the (1) is the reason for "an artist" to find Greenwich having a valuable possibility. And it results in "art people" coming to Greenwich. I don't know why (1) is that reason for this to happen. I also don't understand what is the "bill for paints, paper and canvas".

    Thank you for taking the trouble to help me.
  2. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    O. Henry refers to the fact that West 4th Street in Greenwich Village is actually a single name applied to what were originally two different streets, and there really is a corner where West 4th Street crosses West 4th Street. Therefore, if a bill collector were looking to collect the money an artist who lived on "West 4th Street" owed for the purchase on credit of paints, paper and canvas, where would the bill collector find the artist? Greenwich Village was a popular neighborhood for poor artists at the start of the 20th Century, and O. Henry therefore offers the fanciful reason that artists moved there because the complicated street plan (which is very unlike the regular grid of the rest of Manhattan Island) made it hard for bill collectors to find them when they bought art supplies on credit.
  3. huynhvantinhftu

    huynhvantinhftu Senior Member

    Your explanation is very very clear. I thank you so much, GreenWhiteBlue.

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