I am reading "Quality" by John Galsworthy and there are some phrases and lines which I could not grasp. I thought that this site would be the perfect place to ask this question. Below are some lines from the story from the beginning.
I knew him from the days of my extreme youth, because he made my father's boots; inhabiting with his elder brother two little shops let into one, in a small by-street--now no more, but then most fashionably placed in the West End.
That tenement had a certain quiet distinction; there was no sign upon its face that he made for any of the Royal Family--merely his own German name of Gessler Brothers; and in the window a few pairs of boots.
I remember that it always troubled me to account for those unvarying boots in the window, for he made only what was ordered, reaching nothing down, and it seemed so inconceivable that what he made could ever have failed to fit. Had he bought them to put there? That, too, seemed inconceivable. He would never have tolerated in his house leather on which he had not worked himself.
Besides, they were too beautiful--the pair of pumps, so inexpressibly slim, the patent leathers with cloth tops, making water come into one's mouth, the tall brown riding boots with marvelous sooty glow, as if, though new, they had been worn a hundred years. Those pairs could only have been made by one who saw before him the Soul of Boot--so truly were they prototypes incarnating the very spirit of all foot-gear.
These thoughts, of course, came to me later, though even when I was promoted to him, at the age of perhaps fourteen, some inkling haunted me of the dignity of himself and brother. For to make boots--such boots as he made--seemed to me then, and still seems to me, mysterious and wonderful.
What does the phrase "two little shops let into one" mean? Does it mean that Does it mean that the shop consisted of two "shops" and there was one entrance into the shop?
What does the phrase "reaching nothing down" mean? I think it means that he did not make more shoes than required, that is, he only made what was required.
What does "the tall brown riding boots with marvelous sooty glow, as if, though new, they had been worn a hundred years" mean? I think it means that by looking at those shoes one could understand that the shoes were the epitome of endurance.
What does "These thoughts, of course, came to me later, though even when I was promoted to him, at the age of perhaps fourteen, some inkling haunted me of the dignity of himself and brother." mean? I am unsure of its meaning.
What does "When one grew old and wild and ran up bills, one somehow never ran them up with Gessler Brothers. It would not have seemed becoming to go in there and stretch out one’s foot to that blue iron-spectacled glance, owing him for more than — say — two pairs, just the comfortable reassurance that one was still his client." mean? I think that the first sentence means that the shoes made by him were affordable so one never fell into debts with them. I am unsure of the second part of the paragraph.
Thanks for your help.