By seven, he is shaved, breakfasted and wrapped beautifully in fresh unborrowed linen and dark fine wool. Sometimes, at this hour, he misses Liz's father; that good old man, who would always be up early, ready to drop a flat hand on his head and say, enjoy your day, Thomas, on my behalf.

(Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel)

what is the meaning of "unborrowed" here? New? 100% linen? or not the second- hand bought linen?

1 Answer 1


It means, literally, not borrowed.

In the previous chapter it is said that immediately upon returning to London from the North Cromwell went "to his clerks at Grey's Inn and borrowed a change of linen"; after a quick visit to the City for news he went to an interview with his master Wolsey, without going to his own home until after dark. The passage you quote takes place on the following morning, when he at last changes into his own linen.

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