The famed English art critic Roger Fry once penned a thoughtful obituary of Canadian Pacific Railway founder (and avid art collector) Sir William Van Horne in The Burlington Magazine. The gulf between North American and British usage had grown wider than Fry imagined, however, and he was soon obliged to apologize to Van Horne's family. Among other gaffes, Fry fondly recalled drinking beer with the great man in a "saloon" -- which he incorrectly supposed to be an approximatation to what the English called a "saloon bar" -- a high class section of a regular pub.
[Fry also apologized for calling the magnate's language "racy." "Here it is always used as praise," Fry explained. "No one would suppose that it even denoted the freedom of speech employed in Shakespeare or the Bible."]