Like many of Hemingway’s stories, ‘A Canary for One also deals with the essential loneliness of man and the futility of human relationships. Here he describes a train journey to Paris. After a brief note on the environment in the first character, an American lady starts a conversation obviously referring to the Canary that she bought in Palermo for a dollar and a half. The interior of the lit salon was quite stuffy with smoke coming out from many chimneys. After sometime when the train stopped at Marseilles, she bought a copy of ‘The Daily Mail’ and a bottle of water and at this juncture, it was known that the lady was deaf. Then follows a beautiful description of the train journey with references of the harbour with stone hills and the last of the sun on water. After dark the train passes through a farm-house before reaching Avignon where people got on and off the train.
On the station were Negro soldiers who were wearing brown uniforms and they were quite tall with shining faces on the electric lights. The sergeant who was with them was of course a white man. During the night, the American lady could not sleep because the train was speeding up very fast and she was not use to such a speed. But everything was alright in the morning as she was quite relaxed. The train was approaching Paris by then. She refreshed herself and also the Canary. The American lady was having a conversation with the writer’s wife who happens to be one of the characters of the story including the writer himself. The most remarkable question that the American lady asked the writer’s wife was whether her husband, that is the writer was an American or not. At this she remarked that she took him to be an English man. At this, the writer interrupted by saying that she might have made this remark because he was wearing braces. He, however, wanted to say suspenders but he end up saying braces instead.
After knowing that both of them were Americans, the lady expressed gladness and went on to say that the American husbands were the best in the world. She also said that this was the reason why she left the continent. She continued talking about her daughter who fell in love with a man in Vevey after which she took pains to put an end to their relationship. Though her daughter was yet to recover from that split, the American lady was of the opinion that an American boy would make a perfect match for an American girl. Then there were some discussions about their clothes. It was dark when the train reached Gare de Lyons and it was time for the writer and his wife to get down. As porters were called out to help with the luggage, the couple bid goodbye to the American lady. As the train passed by the writer and his wife moved towards the gate only to part ways and go their respective ways to set up individual residences in Paris.