Please explain the bolded words below from this passage in "Compliments of the Season."i want to know the meaning of :- His hand was itching to play the Roman and wrest the rag Sabinefrom the...

Please explain the bolded words below from this passage in "Compliments of the Season."

i want to know the meaning of :- His hand was itching to play the Roman and wrest the rag Sabine
from the extemporaneous merry-andrew who was entertaining an angel
unaware.

 

the paragraph for your reference is:-

Black Riley gauged Fuzzy quickly with his blueberry eye as a wrestler
does. His hand was itching to play the Roman and wrest the rag Sabine
from the extemporaneous merry-andrew who was entertaining an angel
unaware. But he refrained. Fuzzy was fat and solid and big. Three inches
of well-nourished corporeity, defended from the winter winds by dingy
linen, intervened between his vest and trousers. Countless small,
circular wrinkles running around his coat-sleeves and knees guaranteed
the quality of his bone and muscle. His small, blue eyes, bathed in the
moisture of altruism and wooziness, looked upon you kindly, yet without
abashment. He was whiskerly, whiskyly, fleshily formidable. So, Black
Riley temporized.

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In the part of the story that you quote for us, Fuzzy has found the doll but does not know of its significance.  Black Riley does know that he could get money for the doll.  This is the background to the passage that you have given.

There are two parts of the passage that must be explained.  First, the part about the Romans and the Sabine.  In Roman legends, there is an episode in which Roman men supposedly went and took wives from a neighboring community.  You can find more about this episode in the link below (the Rape of the Sabine Women).  So what O. Henry is saying here is that Black Riley wants to take the doll away by force.

Second, there is the phrase "merry-andrew."  This is a phrase that is used to refer to a clown or a buffoon of some sort.  So, by including this phrase, O. Henry is is showing that Black Riley looks down on Fuzzy and thinks that he is some sort of an idiot.

We’ve answered 318,950 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question