'Twas on a various street,


Senior Member
Russian - Ukraine
"But, notwithstanding, we hired a room that afternoon in the Calle de
los Angeles, the main street that runs along the shore, and put our
trunks there. 'Twas a good-sized room, dark and cheerful, but small.
'Twas on a various street, diversified by houses and conservatory
plants. The peasantry of the city passed to and fro on the fine
pasturage between the sidewalks.

From Cabbages and King by O Henry, chapter 6 "The Phonograph and the Graft"

Am I right to understand this phrase as "the windows of the room overlooked another street (i.e. the street other than Calle de
los Angeles)" ?

Or they just say that Calle de los Angeles was a picturesque street?
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I think this is probably just O.Henry using a word in a jocular pseudo-old-fashioned way, Japutra, to mean something like varied, variegated, interesting, picturesque.


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Japutra, this is more of the constant, intentional contradiction found in this story. We are told that the room is large ("good-sized") and small at the same time, and that it is also dark and bright ("cheerful".) We are then told that the street is various -- that is, it contains a mixture of types of business -- but then we are told that the diversity consists of no businesses at all, but instead consists of houses and potted plants. We are then told that the people do not walk on the sidewalks, but instead walk in the road between them -- and the road is not a road, but overgrown with grass.

    You really should stop looking for sense in this story; it is supposed to be contradictory nonsense. If you are translating it, the ONLY correct way to translate it is so that it does NOT make complete sense , but instead contradicts itself constantly.


    Senior Member
    Russian - Ukraine
    Thank you for your comments guys!

    GreenWhiteBlue! I've got your point and I follow it! Still to make the Russian story I need to get at least a vague idea of what the initial nonsense was intended to mean and how an English-speaking person would perceive it . So, all your comments are really indispensable.

    Now you say that "various" has something to do with business here - I had no idea of that.

    Am I right to believe that what you say is that the meaning of "various" here is "business street with various types of business in it" ?
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