I had the pleasure of coming across one of Winthrop Mackworth Praed's better-known poems the other day, his 'A Letter of Advice', which purports to be a verse epistle from one young woman to another, and in which the letter-writer doles out unsolicited advice about the sort of man the recipient should marry. The full poem is a bit long, but here is a link.
I do not quite understand a line from the last verse, which reads:
Don't listen to tales of his bounty,
Don't hear what they say of his birth,
Don't look at his seat in the county,
Don't calculate what he is worth;
But give him a theme to write verse on,
And see if he turns out his toe;
If he's only an excellent person,-
My own Araminta, say "No!"
What does it mean to turn out one's toe? My educated guess is that it means something like "to have an unfavourable reaction", but it seems to be an extinct idiom which I cannot find used anywhere else, and thus I can neither confirm nor clarify my hypothesis.
I know that Lewis Carroll, in his ''Tis the Voice of the Lobster', states that said crustacean 'turns out his toes' - note the plural - but in any case this appears to be nonsense. I am also vaguely familiar a similar idiom, to turn up one's toes, which means to die, or otherwise collapse dramatically - compare popping one's clogs - but is that the same as turning out one's toes?