19 votes
Accepted

Why does "it always turn out to be the King of Sweden"

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, ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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11 votes
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What does "The cook was a good cook, as cooks go; and as cooks go she went" mean?

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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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10 votes
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What does "It's the Early Christian that gets the fattest lion." mean?

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 ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
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9 votes
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What does this mean? "To die before being painted by Sargent is to go to Heaven prematurely."

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 ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
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6 votes
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What does it mean to declare "on a weak red suit"?

"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 ...
Vince Bowdren's user avatar
6 votes

Why does "it always turn out to be the King of Sweden"

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 ...
Paula's user avatar
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3 votes
Accepted

Why does Reginald call Britain "a suburb of Jerusalem"?

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 ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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3 votes

Why is it that Hohenzollerns "can't help taking life seriously"?

The idea that these are the “only two classes that really can’t help taking life seriously” is (like everything else Reginald says) utter nonsense, but is there a joke or satirical point behind it? I ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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3 votes
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What does "beauty is only sin deep" mean?

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.
Mary's user avatar
  • 6,035
3 votes
Accepted

What is the Ruff of Don Tarquinio?

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, ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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2 votes

Why are Ibsen Dramas in particular mentioned in Reginald?

(Originally posted as a comment on the question, and converted to an answer as it was suggested to do so.) It's hard to be sure, but we can make a guess: If you search the internet for the phrase “...
ShreevatsaR's user avatar
  • 1,374
2 votes

What does "To have reached thirty, is to have failed in life." mean?

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 ...
Mick's user avatar
  • 1,339
1 vote

What does "To have reached thirty, is to have failed in life." mean?

In the first story in the Reginald collection, "Reginald," he teases an Anglo-Indian soldier for referring to the year 1876. The narrator comments, "Reginald ... never admits to being ...
Judy's user avatar
  • 21
1 vote

What does this mean? "To die before being painted by Sargent is to go to Heaven prematurely."

Sargent was an extremely popular portraitist (and very good, too, as Reginald is admitting). Max Beerbohm has a caricature of people waiting outside his studio to be painted. http://sargentology.com/...
Judy's user avatar
  • 21
1 vote

What does "To be clever in the afternoon argues that one is dining nowhere in the evening" mean?

Without more context it could mean People want their dinner guests to be dull and staid, to avoid offense. Being clever in the afternoon risks having no one be willing to have you as a guest. (...
Mary's user avatar
  • 6,035

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