I have finished reading BARCHESTER TOWERS by Anthony Trollope–retold by Clare West. The story was more interesting than I had expected. In the last chapter titled “The new dean,” there was an expression “like cats.”
“Is is well known, however, that the Slopes of this world fall on their feet like cats.”
Why and how are cats supposed to fall on their feet?

( Mr Slope was chaplain of Dr Poudie, Bishop of Barchester.)

Dr Poudie → Dr Proudie

Cats land on their feet when they jump; as they rarely fall, it is presumed they will land (fall) on their feet in that case, too. In other words, cats are lucky. A cat has nine lives in the English language. If I say of someone “he has fallen on his feet”, I am implying that he has been very lucky - perhaps even undeservedly so - in a situation which could have ended badly.

I was puzzled by the expression, but I have fallen on my feet. Thank you, SanneT.

According to the descriptions of the author, Anthony Trollope worked in the Post Office and was “responsible for the introduction in Great Britain of the red pillar box for letters.”

So we can thank him not only for his words, but also for his deeds.

Amazing to think that he could well have entrusted his mountains of manuscripts to his very own innovation.

Whenever I send letters by Royal Mail, they fall with a satisfying clunk into these cast iron boxes, some of which can be found set into a wall right in the middle of the countryside and these boxes tend to be oldest still around, some from the Victorian age.

He was Postmaster General wasn’t he? A very responsible position, yet he still found time to write all those books. I like a Trollope now and then…

Which reminds me of the most erudite rude joke anyone has yet told me.

A magazine once ran a competition to come up with a collective noun for prostitutes. Collective noun is the special name for a group of them, eg a flock of birds, a shoal of fish. Runners-up included: a plate of tarts, a punch of judies, a bucketful of scrubbers and a chapter of Trollopes, etc but the winner was: an anthology of prose.

See for words which Trollope was probably too well-bred to use :wink:

Helen, thank you for another addition to your skein of entertaining and informative threads.

It took several minutes for me to understand the meaning of “an anthology of …”

I have two questions. Is Mr Slope as famous as Mr Scrooge? Does the expression “the Slopes of this world” have a special meaning?

We can’t all be pros at everything! Mr Slope is not as well known these days as Scrooge is; I don’ know whether this was different in the 19th century.

Mr Slope with his deceitful behaviour stands for “The Slopes of this world”. It implies that there is a class of people who show the same character traits as Mr Slope, ie they are manipulative and devious and would act like he did.

You could equally well use a positive representation as in “the Peter Pans of this world”, “the Christopher Robins of this world”, etc.

Thank you, SanneT.

I imagined that “the Slopes” did not mean “the Slope family” in the context of the novel, but I was not so sure. I appreciate your detailed explanations. You are the Wonder Woman of this world. If you should open a writers’ school in London or somewhere, I would become your student and pay . . . .

You make me blush. I’m ‘only a poor little widder woman’ with (sometimes) too much time on my hands. The time for a career change is over for me [sobs into her peppermint tea]. I make a great babysitter, though.