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Nines?

  • 22-07-2018 9:46pm
    #1
    Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 70,305 mod New Home


    I've been reading "The Collected Works of Saki", and I've come across an expression I've never heard being used in contexts like these before. I figured it means too much, too loud, exaggerated, over the top. It's probably a slang word of that time, but I just can't find any reference to it.

    "There is my Aunt Agatha, _par exemple_, who sent me a pair of gloves last Christmas, and even got so far as to choose a kind that was being worn and had the correct number of buttons. But--they were nines! I sent them to a boy whom I hated intimately: he didn't wear them, of course, but he could have--that was where the bitterness of death came in. It was nearly as consoling as sending white flowers to his funeral. Of course I wrote and told my aunt that they were the one thing that had been wanting to make existence blossom like a rose; I am afraid she thought me frivolous--she comes from the North, where they live in the fear of Heaven and the Earl of Durham. (Reginald affects an exhaustive knowledge of things political, which furnishes an excellent excuse for not discussing them.) Aunts with a dash of foreign extraction in them are the most satisfactory in the way of understanding these things; but if you can't choose your aunt, it is wisest in the long-run to choose the present and send her the bill."

    "We had to argue it in a disjointed fashion, because some of the people wanted to listen to the play, and Miriam takes nines in voices."


    For the first sentence someone suggested it might mean the gloves were a size nine, but I'm unconvinced.

    Could someone please point me in the right direction?

    Thanks.


Comments



  • I would agree it would refer to a size nine, especially with the reference to Miriam's voice and its loudness.




  • What puzzles me is, why didn't he use "nine" instead of "nines"? Why the plural?




  • Well 'Dressed up to the Nines' is to be perfect or extravagant, so I'd look in that direction to try and come to an understanding of the meaning.....




  • New Home wrote: »
    What puzzles me is, why didn't he use "nine" instead of "nines"? Why the plural?

    Because there were two of them, they were nines. If it were a comment on just one - he found a glove, it was a nine - then it would be singular.




  • Well 'Dressed up to the Nines' is to be perfect or extravagant, so I'd look in that direction to try and come to an understanding of the meaning.....

    That's where I started from, too, but that didn't seem to match the second example. The closest thing I could come up with was "loud", which could apply to both the garish colours of the gloves, and Miriam's booming voice.

    looksee wrote: »
    Because there were two of them, they were nines. If it were a comment on just one - he found a glove, it was a nine - then it would be singular.

    What about the voice, though? Did it mean that it was as loud as nine voices together?




    For both, are there any other examples in other texts that would show a similar use?


    Thanks. :)


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  • New Home wrote: »
    What about the voice, though? Did it mean that it was as loud as nine voices together?

    No, that's not the implication, it is continuing the (in my opinion) horribly affected style of writing and saying that if Miriam's voice were a glove size it would be a nine - or, using the plural for two gloves, nines.

    Edit, I am not sure if this will show the highlighting but https://books.google.ie/books?id=H1ViDAAAQBAJ&pg=PT143&lpg=PT143&dq=put+his+size+nines+in+it&source=bl&ots=MvVDoO9Eo6&sig=1ROirfsLssGNclkMJMep3oFBW1o&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjn-KenzrTcAhXEJMAKHeuGB48Q6AEwEXoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=put%20his%20size%20nines%20in%20it&f=false mentions 'size nines' in reference to shoes.


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