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The Reverberator by Henry James
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"I guess my daughter's in here," the old man said leading the way into
the little salon de lecture. He was not of the most advanced age, but
that is the way George Flack considered him, and indeed he looked older
than he was. George Flack had found him sitting in the court of the
hotel--he sat a great deal in the court of the hotel--and had gone up to
him with characteristic directness and asked him for Miss Francina. Poor
Mr. Dosson had with the greatest docility disposed himself to wait on
the young man: he had as a matter of course risen and made his way
across the court to announce to his child that she had a visitor. He
looked submissive, almost servile, as he preceded the visitor, thrusting
his head forward in his quest; but it was not in Mr. Flack's line to
notice that sort of thing. He accepted the old gentleman's good offices
as he would have accepted those of a waiter, conveying no hint of an
attention paid also to himself. An observer of these two persons would
have assured himself that the degree to which Mr. Dosson thought it
natural any one should want to see his daughter was only equalled by the
degree to which the young man thought it natural her father should take
trouble to produce her. There was a superfluous drapery in the doorway
of the salon de lecture, which Mr. Dosson pushed aside while George
Flack stepped in after him.

The reading-room of the Hotel de l'Univers et de Cheltenham was none too
ample, and had seemed to Mr. Dosson from the first to consist
principally of a highly-polished floor on the bareness of which it was
easy for a relaxed elderly American to slip. It was composed further, to
his perception, of a table with a green velvet cloth, of a fireplace