The same face: the very same. Marley in his pigtail, usual waistcoat, tights and boots; the tassels on the latter bristling, like his pigtail, and his coat-skirts, and the hair upon his head.

I can't get the 'the tassels on the latter bristling' part. Please try to help me to get this.

  • 1
    Did Mick's answer clarify, or are you confused about what "on the latter" means? Dec 15, 2017 at 19:50
  • Oh, I understood every part of it. Thank you guys!!! : )
    – user66705
    Dec 15, 2017 at 20:07
  • 1
    @joiedevivre Updated.
    – Mick
    Dec 15, 2017 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


Leather boots sometimes have tassels, mostly for decoration:

tassel noun [ C ]

a group of short threads or ropes held together at one end, used as a hanging decoration on hats, curtains, furniture, etc.

Cambridge Dictionary

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The latter just means the second of two items (in this case, Marley's boots). Also, the former refers to the first of two items (and would indicate Marley's tights).

latter noun [ S ]

the latter

the second of two people, things, or groups previously mentioned:

  • She offered me more money or a car and I chose the latter.

Compare with: former noun

Cambridge Dictionary

To bristle just means to stand up (or stick out):

bristle verb [ I ] (of hair)

to stand up:

  • The cat's fur bristled and it arched its back.

Cambridge Dictionary

So, the tassels on Marley's boots were standing up (like his pigtail, coat tails, and hair).

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