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Lord Beamys led the way with Mrs. Gervase, Mrs. Dixon followed with Sir Vivian Ponsonby, and the multitudes that followed cried, saying, “What a dear old man!”—“Isn’t it kind of him to come all this way?”—“What a sweet expression, isn’t it?”—“I think he’s an old love”—“One of the good old sort”—“Real English nobleman”—“Oh most correct, I assure you; if a girl gets into trouble, notice to quit at once”—“Always stands by the Church”—“Twenty livings in his gift”—“Voted for the Public Worship Regulation Act”—“Ten thousand acres strictly preserved.” The old lord was leering pleasantly and muttering to himself: “Some fine gals here. Like the looks of that filly with the pink hat. Ought to see more of her. She’d give Lotty points.”

It's from Arthur Machen's The Hill of Dreams

  1. if a girl gets into trouble; notice to quit at once

Who is receiving the quit notice and what exactly is a quit notice in this context? Is Lord punishing and firing some girl if she gets herself into trouble? There is no explanation in the book, that is all there.

  1. Lotty points: I think the Lord here likes the girl and is then saying something inappropriate. Lotty points? What is that? I couldn't find anything. Is it the lottery? Or is he making a joke about horse racing? Because he likened her to a filly.
  • 6
    It's not a good idea to ask two separate questions at once. Notice that you got separate answers to each part of the question, but you can only accept one of them. – Barmar Mar 7 at 0:17
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    I'm not quite sure how to read this. It might be, "She'd give something that we call 'Lotty points'." Or, it might be, "She'd give Lotty some points." (In other words, she'd give some points to Lotty.) So it is not clear to me whether Lotty is an adjective or a noun. – TOOGAM Mar 7 at 10:36
  • Barmar, you are quite right. I won't do it again. Sorry. Thank you for the warning. – bakemono Mar 7 at 10:53
  • Toogam, that's exactly what I'm trying to say. But mkennedy's answer seems right. – bakemono Mar 7 at 10:56
12

"if a girl gets into trouble, notice to quit at once"

The "girl" may mean a servant, eg a maid. "Into trouble" usually means pregnant. "Notice to quit" means (to a servant) dismissal from her employment or (to a tenant) eviction from her home.

  • 1
    It doesn't have to always mean "pregnant". And that's only for females. If it's saying "boy", it might mean that the boy is doing something wrong. – zixuan Mar 7 at 1:12
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    What I find perplexing is that such an abhorrent attitude is somehow presented as positive in the context. – Emil Jeřábek Mar 7 at 9:36
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    I mean, I understand that this is (by the sounds of it) a Victorian novel, and the idea is to preserve the social propriety of the household, but still I would have hoped that stripping a poor, vulnerable girl, about to have a baby, of her only source of income and dumping her on the street for this reason would be seen as a necessary evil rather than something to cheerily brag about. – Emil Jeřábek Mar 7 at 9:58
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    Actually, the main character is hating the Victorian society. The author is merely showing the corruption of society here. I think according to the book, the people talking in this scene are evil. – bakemono Mar 7 at 10:40
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    Let me give you an example from the book that I really liked: "This putrid filth, molded into human shape, made only to fawn on the rich and beslaver them, thinking no foulness too foul if it were done in honor of those in power and authority; and no refined cruelty of contempt too cruel if it were contempt of the poor and humble and oppressed; it was to this obscene and ghastly throng that he was something to be pointed at." – bakemono Mar 7 at 10:40
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I'm not familiar with the work. However, "Lotty", or Charlotte, could be a character in the book.

If so, the old lord is saying that the pink-hatted girl could give "Lotty" points--pointers or help--on dressing well, being fashionable, etc. A more current way to say this would be "to give someone pointers."

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    There is nothing about a character named Lotty in the book. There is not much information about the old lord either. That is why I get confused. But I think you might be right. She must be the old lord's daughter or something. Thank you! – bakemono Mar 6 at 20:44
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    I read it to mean giving points in the sense of giving someone a head-start in a game; a handicap. – Rupert Morrish Mar 7 at 0:48
1

She would give Lotty points.

Means that she is competitively attractive with some other woman named Lotty. It is a horse- racing expression.

Here's a book with a reference ("Lord Loudoun, though only half-bred, could give points to many a full-bred animal,")

Even better is this book: A dictionary of confusable phrases. For 'Give Points', it includes:

Give points to someone - 2. be considerably better than another: She could 'give points' to many younger women and beat them.

In other words, think of a golf handicap. A really good golfer can give someone else points and still win.

  • Thank you. Could you give me an example, please? I couldn't find any horse racing expression like that. – bakemono Mar 7 at 10:44
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    I found more content for you. – bmargulies Mar 8 at 5:17
  • Considering all the answers, your answer seems right too. Thank you again! – bakemono Mar 8 at 20:54

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