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    • Join Date: Sep 2008
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    This is an excerpt from a novel by G.K.Chesterton:

    When he reappeared in the room, or rather in the doorway, it was in company with another waiter, with whom he whispered and gesticulated with southern fierceness. Then the first waiter went away, leaving the second waiter, and reappeared with a third waiter. By the time a fourth waiter had joined this hurried synod, Mr. Audley felt it necessary to break the silence in the interests of Tact. He used a very loud cough, instead of a presidential hammer, and said: "Splendid work young Moocher's doing in Burmah. Now, no other nation in the world could have—"

    My questions are these:

    1 What does "in the interests of Tact" really mean in this context?
    2 Why does "Tact" start with a capital letter?

    Thank you in advance

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
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    Re: Tact

    When the writer says " the interests of Tact," I think he just means that Mr. Audley genuinely wanted to handle the situation in a tactful manner. By capitalizing the word and writing it as Tact, the writer is effectively elevating the abstract concept of tact to a lofty plane—almost as if it possessed an eternal, divine quality. Maybe others can explain this more clearly. Writers occasionally do this for effect; it's not "standard" practice.

    Hope this makes some sense.


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