A Canary for One (Hemingway)

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A Canary for One
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: An American lady, traveling with a canary, shared a train compartment with a married couple, discussing her daughter's failed romance with a Swiss man and her belief that only Americans make good husbands.

An American lady was traveling on a train from the south of France to Paris with her canary, which she had bought in Palermo. She was taking the bird home to her daughter. The lady was a little deaf and had difficulty sleeping on the train due to its speed. She was also afraid of missing the train's departure signals.

During the journey, the American lady struck up a conversation with a couple, who she initially thought were English but later discovered were also American.

The American Lady — middle-aged, a little deaf; protective mother; believes only Americans make good husbands.

She expressed her belief that American men made the best husbands and shared her story of taking her daughter away from a Swiss man she had fallen in love with in Vevey.

American men make the best husbands. That was why we left the Continent, you know. My daughter fell in love with a man in Vevey.

The lady believed that no foreigner could make an American girl a good husband. The couple revealed that they had been to Vevey on their honeymoon and stayed at the Trois Couronnes hotel.

The Wife — American; married to the narrator; had honeymoon in Vevey.
The Narrator — American; married to the wife; had honeymoon in Vevey.

As the train approached Paris, they saw the wreckage of a train accident, which the American lady had feared might happen during their journey. Upon arrival at the Gare de Lyons, the travelers said their goodbyes, and the couple decided to set up separate residences in Paris.

We were returning to Paris to set up separate residences.