And then had come the unlooked-for tidings of the imminent proceedings for divorce. And such a divorce! There were cross-suits and allegations and counter-allegations, charges of cruelty and desertion, everything in fact that was necessary to make the case one of the most complicated and sensational of its kind. And the number of distinguished people involved or cited as witnesses not only embraced both political parties in the realm and several Colonial governors, but included an exotic contingent from France, Hungary, the United States of North America, and the Grand Duchy of Baden. Hotel accommodation of the more expensive sort began to experience a strain on its resources. "It will be quite like the Durbar without the elephants," exclaimed an enthusiastic lady who, to do her justice, had never seen a Durbar. The general feeling was one of thankfulness that the last of the strikes had been got over before the date fixed for the hearing of the great suit.

from East of the Web

In this case what does it mean "to do her justice"?

Why do people need to do her justice?

If people don't do her justice, what happens?

  • 1
    It's an idiomatic usage meaning to treat her with justice / fairness (i.e. - to be fair to her) Another common idiomatic alternative is in all fairness. Dec 22, 2018 at 18:47
  • 2
    Note that you've asked several questions about this text, which was written over a century ago. It's not really a good source for learning current English, as you might see from this chart showing how to do him justice has been overtaken by in all fairness since Saki's time. Dec 22, 2018 at 18:52
  • Nothing in Saki's writing is archaic; it seems a little formal today, and is probably better for a later stage of learning. Dec 22, 2018 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


The situation described was not in fact at all like the Durbar (an enormous celebration of British Imperial pomp in India), so the enthusiastic lady was quite wrong in stating that it was.

The meaning of the phrase 'to do her justice' in this context is that the writer thinks that her ignorance of what the Durbar was really like is an excuse for her not realising that the sensational divorce case could be compared to the Durbar.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .