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Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit, Chapter 24

'Mr F. was so devoted to me that he never could bear me out of his sight,’ said Flora, ‘though of course I am unable to say how long that might have lasted if he hadn’t been cut short while I was a new broom, worthy man but not poetical manly prose but not romance.'

What does "worthy man but not poetical manly prose but not romance" mean?

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    I suspect it's missing a few punctuation marks.
    – Mary
    Jun 30 at 1:54
  • 4
    Please format and tag your questions properly when posting. This is not the first time someone has had to do it. It's not even the first time you've been asked. Putting a little effort towards making your question readable is the least you could do to be polite when asking us to answer your questions.
    – bobble
    Jun 30 at 5:18

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What does "worthy man but not poetical manly prose but not romance" mean?

First off, I didn't know the quote and haven't looked it up either but still I suppose Dickens wrote it correctly - which means with some interpunction. Most probably like this:

worthy man but not poetical, manly prose but not romance

I feel little compulsion to cause compunction but correct interpunction saves lives:

Let's eat, Grandma!
Let's eat Grandma!

From there on, the meaning is quite clear: Flora reminisces about her dead husband, who was more or less ok but didn't exactly cause her bells to ring.

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    All of Flora's dialog is like this (see chapter 24 here), so it's a deliberate choice. "Romance, however, as I openly said to Mr F. when he proposed to me and you will be surprised to hear that he proposed seven times once in a hackney-coach once in a boat once in a pew once on a donkey at Tunbridge Wells and the rest on his knees [...]" Jun 30 at 12:52
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    There are a couple of editions on Google Books which use the same punctuation, so I think we can indeed assume Dickens meant it to be like that.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 1 at 14:43

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