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The question is right that “grave” is used with the sense “dignified; serious”. “Notations” is a typographical error for “flotations”. You can check this against page 32 of the 1931 Ward, Lock, and Co. edition on the Internet Archive: “Rubber” is natural rubber (latex), which is used in the manufacture of pneumatic tyres and many other objects. In the early ...


4

The writer is playing with definitions a little, the room has the form of a chapel and has been a chapel in Norman times, but has now been restored to meet a non-ecclesiastical purpose and no longer has the function of a chapel. This is why it has the built features of a chapel, but not the furnishings of one. This causes a dissonance where the form is ...


4

“Put upon” is just being used in its ordinary (non-idiomatic) sense of “placed in a particular situation or position”. The constable has been put upon (assigned to) a particular duty, namely that of “point work”. You noted in the question that “put upon” has another sense, namely “imposed on, taken advantage of” and this other sense is attractive because the ...


4

The words the Dennington “Velásquez” do suggest a Velásquez painting that was in the possession of a person or place named Dennington. Similarly diamonds and Stradivarius violins are often given names that reflect their provenance. I haven't found any connection between the painter and anyone named Dennington. Dennington is a village in Suffolk. I think your ...


4

In this context, "the new man" is a new "fence" that Jakobs had not dealt with before. Fence is a noun with several meanings, including the following: Someone who hides or buys and sells stolen goods, a criminal middleman for transactions of stolen goods. Since "fence" can also be a verb ("engage in the selling or buying ...


4

The word “saving” is being used in this sense: save, v. 13.d. transitive. Horse Racing slang. To hedge so as to protect (a person, esp. oneself, or one’s bets) from loss, or so as to recover (a certain sum) out of one’s losses (upon a horse). Also intransitive: to hedge one’s bets. Oxford English Dictionary To figure out how to apply this sense, we need to ...


3

From the context of reading the whole quote, the author is trying to describe the diversity of the crowd. As such, to my reading the four clauses separated by commas are each self-contained. I read it like this: There were people from optimistic (cheery) through to pessimistic (sceptical) All ages of men were there He saw all sorts of people from ...


3

The adjective group "cheery and skeptical" refers back to the journalists. I assume the reason for putting it after "journalists" instead of before it has to do with rhythm. Compare the rhythm with Wallace's version with the alternative: Wallace: There was a sprinkling of journalists, | cheery and sceptical, | young men and old men, | ...


3

“Piscatorial” means “relating to the sport of fishing” and “dragging his unwilling victim along a road” is a metaphor for one of the participants in a conversation choosing a topic that the other does not enjoy talking about. Putting this together, Lord Verlond is insisting on talking about fishing to Sir Isaac, who is not at all interested. Wallace ...


2

Colonel Black is interested in something much more valuable to him than stamps and small coins, namely a very specific letter. This letter wouldn't have a stamp on it, "for the silent man on the floor had come with his resignation in his pocket". Jakobs knows nothing about the letter, so from his point of view, Colonel Black is not looking for a ...


2

‘Colours and cap’ refers to the racing ‘silks’ worn by the jockeys to aid identification during the race. The colours are registered to the horse-owners, in the UK the register is kept by the British Horseracing Authority. Source The length of straight track, from the final bend to the finish line is called the ‘Home Straight’. So their homeward journey ...


1

The stained-glass windows, raftered roof, and solemn character of the architecture gave the illusion of being a chapel. But that was all. Nothing else about the room looked like a chapel. The illusion ended after those three things.


1

For an explanation of "these things", the reader needs to remember the description of Colonel Black's line of business from Chapter 2: Colonel Black, Financier: They [Black and Gram] recommended to their clients certain shares, and the clients bought or sold according to the advice given, and at the end of a certain period of time. Black and Gram ...


1

A man of character is someone who has a strong character, i.e. someone who has positive personality traits such as honesty, dependability, perseverance, loyalty, etc. Calling someone a man of some character suggests that the person has those traits, but only to a degree. That the man has something behind him means that there is something unfortunate in his ...


1

In order of the highlighted portions: It is the younger son in particular because the oldest son will inherit the title and the estate. It's probably entailed on him. The younger sons need to make a living somehow. I note that many of the situations described after it are more likely in novels of adventure and drama than real life. Leaving the family home ...


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