27

The spelling "Bool-var" is an attempt to render the French pronunciation of boulevard, in which the 'e' in the middle and the 'd' at the end are silent: /bul.vaʁ/ (in IPA). In the English pronunciation, the 'e' and the 'd' are not silent: /ˈbuː.ləˌvɑːd/ or /ˈbʊləvɑɹd/. There are many well-known boulevards in Paris, such as the Boulevard Haussmann ...


22

“If the court knows herself” is a catch-phrase referencing a joke that was popular in mid-19th-century America. The earliest version of the joke that I have been able to find is from 1853: When a Kentucky judge, some years since, was asked by an attorney, upon some strange ruling, “Is that law, your honour?” he replied, “If the court understand herself, and ...


11

The phrase is ‘the sword so often quoted’ and refers to the Sword of Damocles, which in turn refers to the: moral parable popularized by the Roman philosopher Cicero in his 45 B.C. book “Tusculan Disputations.” Cicero’s version of the tale centers on Dionysius II, a tyrannical king who once ruled over the Sicilian city of Syracuse during the fourth and ...


10

The title of the question isn't applicable to the provided example, because as Hosek and shoover point out in their answers, Mr. Barr is never referring to Mr. Bartlett as a "lady" in the provided context: Here we get a description of the clean, tidy and generally welcoming setting, which of course is thanks to the housekeeper (Mrs. Bartlett) ...


10

Making land suitable for farming can require a lot of work. Examples of this can be found in other literary works. For example, the father in Federico García Lorca's play Blood Wedding / Bodas de sangre (1932) says about his land, En mi tiempo, ni esparto daba esta tierra. Ha sido necesario castigarla y hasta llorarla, para que nos dé algo provechoso. In ...


8

The word "expletive" is commonly understood to mean a swear word, but that is not, in fact, its oldest meaning. Merriam-Webster defines expletive as follows: 1 a : a syllable, word, or phrase inserted to fill a vacancy (as in a sentence or a metrical line) without adding to the sense especially : a word (such as it in "make it clear which you ...


7

"Mrs. 1812" refers to Mrs. Bartlett, the housekeeper. In Chapter III, Mr. Hiram Bartlett appears in the bar. After he leaves, the barkeep describes him as obsessed with the War of 1812, thus "1812" is Mr. Bartlett, and "Mrs. 1812" is his wife, the housekeeper Mrs. Bartlett who is mentioned in the passage you quoted. Chapter III: ...


7

In my reading of the passage, Stilly(?) says “Who? 1812?” because he’s confused by the sudden mention of a motherly old lady—he knows that 1812 is a man and then there’s a sudden mention of a female, thus the question.


6

Nothing in the passage suggests it means anything but the ordinary meaning of "equator." The significance of the sentence is to explain how servile and obsequious he is being. Is there any reason to speak with particular respect of the equator? But he would do so if he could win Miss Howard's approval and regard -- and without concern for his own ...


6

Googling revealed the same phrase used by O. Henry in "A Cosmopolite in a Cafe" (published in The Four Million, 1906 — i.e., after your quotation). My cosmopolite was named E. Rushmore Coglan [...] He took the great, round world in his hand, so to speak, familiarly, contemptuously, and it seemed no larger than the seed of a Maraschino cherry in a ...


5

I don't know about this specific book, but they could simply be actual place names. For instance: Cross Roads, Pennsylvania. And an 1861 NYT news article reports that "The skirmish took place about one mile in advance of the Cross Roads, just this side of the railroad", referring to a place properly known as "Ball's Cross Roads". ...


5

"Dirt is matter out of place" is a phrase apparently originating from Lord Palmerston, but nowadays associated more with Mary Douglas who cited it to Lord Chesterfield. The origin of this phrase is a fascinating topic! Perhaps much more so than you realised when you asked the question. It's commonly attributed nowadays to Mary Douglas and her 1966 ...


5

He's saying he can't offer anyone a drink. Formally, a libation is a religious ritual involving the pouring of liquid (such as alcohol) to appease a god or spirit or as an offering. In a more casual, often humorous, sense, the word can be used to refer to any drink of alcohol. In this case, Yates is (somewhat flippantly) partly combining the two meanings: ...


4

Barr is using the noun equator in its geographical sense. However, the Equator contrasts with Professor Stillson Renmark and University College in Toronto, in two ways: from a Canadian point of view, the Equator is far away, and when making inconsiderate or even disrespectful comments about something far away, you are much less likely to offend the person ...


4

From a grammatical point of view, the only plural antecedent is "protracted meetings" in the discussion that precedes the quoted passage: "What's the matter with MacDonald? Doesn't he like protracted meetings? And, by the way, what are protracted meetings?" "They're revival meetings—religious meetings, you know, for converting ...


4

Your understanding of "hard pushed" is correct. "hard pushed in argument" means "facing great difficulty in putting his side of the argument". "fling the New Yorker at him" is a bit more difficult to explain. Imagine that the Blacksmith is having a heated argument with another individual. It's common in this situation ...


4

American girls were, indeed, much less chaperoned than their European counterparts and regarded this as their right. This would give them freedoms, such as going for a walk with a gentleman, or going on a row boat out on a lake, without a third party hanging about watching. "Shocking" does not necessarily mean "provoking" though overlap ...


3

"At least" here qualifies a statement from the preceding sentence, namely "kissed her before she knew what was about to happen". That statement at first looks like a statement from the author's point of view, but it turns out that it is Yates who thinks he kissed Kitty "before she knew what was happening". Yates appears to be ...


3

There is a difference between not knowing you are beaten and not admitting it, if the denial includes not admitting it to oneself. This is the difference between a literal and figurative usage. While ‘refusing to admit one is beaten’ can be lauded as a strength and being seen to ‘never give up’, there usually comes a point at which admitting defeat is ...


3

My interpretation is that the passage means that "happiness will surely follow". A shotgun is a rather fearsome weapon, which would be sufficient to ward off most things. However, once one has achieved self-sufficiency and independence, one cannot keep from being happy. Happiness here is personified somewhat as something that comes to you, but you ...


3

"New York's a fool to it" means New York is a foolish thing compared to this place. At the link you provided, Green's Dictionary of Slang gives "a stupid or foolish thing" as the slang meaning of fool that was prevalent at the turn of the twentieth century, right around when this story was written. "If I can stand it for two weeks&...


2

Sugarcane is a known substitute for tobacco. Here are some examples: In India, a tobacco alternative made from sugarcane and called "Soex" is marketed for use in waterpipes. Mexico has banned vaping, but smoking sugarcane is fine. There's a US patent for a tobacco-free smoking product that includes sugarcane. In North America, sugarcane ...


2

In this answer I’ll give a possible further antedating of the phrase “dirt is matter out of place”. First, the speech by Palmerston. As reported by Richard Fardon (Anthropology Today 29:1, p. 25), it was given to the Royal Agricultural Society of England on 15th July 1852, and a report published in The Farmer’s Magazine for August of that year. The toast ...


2

It's not necessarily perfect grammar. People often speak elliptically. Consider it like "These chocolate chip cookies are amazing, even if they do cost three dollars each." So he's saying: "They're immense, [and so are worth it even] if they do cost a quarter each.".


2

No, Renmark is not saying that he himself did not lack self-conceit. Yates says that he and Renmark are both single, but for different reasons. He says Renmark was too diffident to propose to anybody, while he himself just did not have the time to do so. Renmark adroitly pushes back against this characterization by saying Yates is just being conceited. Yates'...


1

To the first question: the intended meaning is indeed "fail + make a lot of money". Yates is not a Dutchman, so he is saying that he expects Spink (a) to "fail" and (b) to make a lot of money. How that might work is illustrated by the example of Brown, who had also been expelled from the academy, just like Yates. Yates says to Renmark, ...


1

Professor Stillson Renmark does not say how he was in the old days, but he does not deny Yates's comment that he lacked the courage to propose to a woman. Courage is something different than self-conceit, which Wiktionary defines as Conceit of oneself; an overweening opinion of one's own powers or endowments; vanity. Renmark is saying that Yates ...


1

The sentence in bold ("The accent told plainly as speech that the word represented the one man on earth to her.") appears to describe the point of view of Yates, "her listener". The phrase "the word" refers back to "you" in the preceding sentence. In other words, the intonation with which Margaret says "you" ...


1

In Chapter XVI Yates had received a telegraph from his employer that ended with the following words: Draw on us for cash you need; and don't spare expense. Even though he was on vacation, the newspaper wanted him to report on the Fenian raids. The telegraph boy in Chapter XVIII still remembers the phrase "Spare no expense" and he is the only one ...


1

It's the New World and the 20th Century is less than a decade away. North American girls now felt it was acceptable to not be chaperoned all the time. By saying "birthright", the author is expressing this idea in an exaggerated way. In a similar vein, girls now thought they could say things that would be considered forward or even risqué by a ...


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