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I've recently come accross a sentence:

I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar.

I'm wondering whether "behind a gun" means more or less "to carry a gun". And whether Trafalgar stands here for the Trafalgar Square??

Thanks for help!

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Here the word "drudge" means "toil", or "do hard work": http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drudge. It's not so commonly used these days (so I'd imagine that this is a relatively old quote) but still makes sense ('drudgery' is still in relatively common usage, at least in the UK).

From the context of "behind a gun", I'd assume that the author is speaking about the Battle of Trafalgar, rather than about Trafalgar Square. Since that was a naval battle, "gun" would be referring to a ship's cannon rather than some kind of handheld weapon. So another way of putting the last part of the example would be to change

drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar

to

work behind a cannon during the Battle of Trafalgar.

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  • +1 Here's a painting, from Christie's, of men working the guns at Trafalgar. Oct 19 '15 at 16:44
  • Right. Admittedly, one would not ordinarily speak of "drudging behind a gun". The word choice is intentionally forced in furtherance of an implicit argument. Oct 7 '18 at 5:16

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