Oscar Berg’s building in Brooklyn was of worn sandstone, the
street wide, and lined with dignified old brownstone houses. He
smothered a dream of ample old-fashioned rooms, quaintly furnished. He
had found no such enchanting places, except at exorbitant rents.
So he abandoned the dream, and enthusiastically accepted the North Sixth
Street substitute, though the plumbing facilities, and often the janitor
service, were of the poorest; water from a burst pipe
had buckled the pine floors. In the sitting room in
winter, he would pen his obsessive thoughts and read Dickens
by a little droplight lighted on a little mahogany table.
Paraphrases from the novel Undertow by Kathleen Thompson Norris.