an attempt to provoke thought

‘It is but a few hours, sir,’ Clenham cheerfully urged upon him.

‘A few hours, sir,’ he returned in a sudden passion. ‘You talk very easily of hours, sir! How long do you suppose, sir, that an hour is to a man who is choking for want of air?’

picture from ffffound.com
quote from Charles Dickens’ “Little Dorrit”
If you’re looking for some reading material that beautifully entertwines characters and themes in an exciting plot with eloquently styled writing, Look no further.
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