Would you be kind enough to tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expressions in bold in the following sentence?
Mr. Tapley… entertained a constitutional dislike to gentlemen out-at-elbows who flourished on false pretence.
out-at-elbows = wearing clothes that are worn out or torn; poor
gentlemen out-at-elbows = lofty beggars
on false pretence = by fraud; by deception
Thanks for your efforts.
Your interpretation makes sense.
As a note, in modern Br Eng we would make "pretence" plural - the set phrase is "on false pretences". I don't know if you've just made a typo in your quote, and it was pluralized in your original that you are reading, or if that's a change that has happened over time.