In "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," what does Harte mean by "professional tint" and why is the "tint" considered "professional"? "The Duchess turned away sharply to conceal something that reddened...

In "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," what does Harte mean by "professional tint" and why is the "tint" considered "professional"? 

"The Duchess turned away sharply to conceal something that reddened her cheeks through their professional tint..." (paragraph # 20).

  • What does Harte mean by "professional tint"?
  • Why is the "tint" considered "professional"?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I can only assume that the "professional tint" of the Duchess' cheeks refers to her profession as a prostitute and the amount of makeup that she regularly used to attract her customers. The fact that her cheeks were visibly reddened through the thick makeup suggests that she was highly embarrassed. The remark that reddened her cheeks was an innocent one made by Piney (who did not know the Duchess' true profession), concerning her tasteful arrangement of the dilapidated cabin.

“I reckon now you're used to fine things at Poker Flat,” said Piney.

An unintentionally ironic statement, Piney meant it as a compliment, thinking the Duchess was a classy woman used the finer things of life. Although Mother Shipton (the Duchess' madam) told Piney to stop her "chatter" for fear of starting trouble, the three women were soon filled with "happy laughter."

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