17

The quote is a parody of the folklore motif known as the king in disguise. In Norse mythology Odin was said to wander in disguise among humans. Shakespeare used the king-in-disguise motif in Act 4, scene 1 of Henry V. Outside of fiction, a number of real kings and queens have been said to disguise themselves, e.g. King Charles XI of Sweden (1655 – 1697), who ...


7

The "she" who went is the cook, who was also a woman. I think this is your misunderstanding. It's the cook herself who went, not the Woman (the main character of the story, referred to with the capital W). With that it makes more sense. Just to break it down since it's a fun paraprosdokian (and thank you for teaching me that word today!): The cook ...


6

This is a slight twist on the common aphorism that "The early bird gets the worm", i.e. that being the first one, a pioneer, means you're also the first to face the danger. Here, they're alluding to possibly apocryphal situation where the Roman emperors would sacrifice Christians to the lions in the Coliseum for sport. The emperor Nero is referred ...


5

Many Swedish kings have been known for travelling incognito, but the most likely reference is to Gustav IV Adolf, who was deposed in 1809 and spent the rest of his life travelling the continent using the name Colonel Gustafsson (and other aliases). He would have met many people who at first didn't realize he was a former king of Sweden. At the time Saki was ...


4

"the partner who declares on a weak red suit and hopes for the best" is certainly a reference to the card game Bridge, specifically the early form called Bridge Whist. The game is played by two pairs of players, known as partnerships; this structure makes any player very dependent on their partner's ability, particularly in the opening stage where ...


3

I believe that this is exactly the artist he is referring to, and the meaning of the phrase is to essentially say that being painted by Sargent is something that should be done in one's lifetime, with the mention of going to heaven being used as an allusion to dying. So if you die before you get your portrait painted by Sargent, you died too early. Imagine a ...


3

It's a play on "beauty is only skin deep" -- the second character agrees about the vanity but is willing to accept the sin for the beauty.


2

The cat’s pedigree is Persian. If we look at the Persian Breed Standard we read: COAT: long and thick, standing off from the body. Of fine texture, glossy and full of life. Long all over the body, including the shoulders. The ruff immense and continuing in a deep frill between the front legs. Ear and toe tufts long. Brush very full. From this we can ...


1

What does the line mean? Reginald is probably commenting on the increasing number of Jews living in England (and doing it in a snide, anti-Semitic, way). From Wikipedia: In the late 19th and early 20th century, the number of Jews in Britain greatly increased due to the exodus from Russia, which resulted in a large community forming in the East End of London....


1

It is simply an ironic summary of the preceding sentence: “Someone who Must Not be Contradicted said that a man must be a success by the time he’s thirty, or never.” If you have achieved nothing of note by the time that you have attained your thirtieth year, you are unlikely to achieve anything afterwards.


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