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The setting is a Dickensian one: a seedier side of life in New York City, a huge city that is impersonal, uncaring, and rife with misfortune. One furnished room is the specific area where the drama of life takes place, when a young man stops at the twelfth house in the red brick district of the lower West Side.

New York City at the turn of the nineteenth century was a city that lured the innocent with false...

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