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    #1

    guard?

    Hi there.

    I am really stuck here.

    If you would, please, check the following quote:

    Ed was dazed, stupefied. Was Fairchild crazy? What could be the meaning of this? He started slow and dreamily down toward the wharf-boat; turned the corner of a freight-pile and came suddenly upon two of the boys. They were lightly laughing over some pleasant matter; they heard his step, and glanced up just as he discovered them; the laugh died abruptly; and before Ed could speak they were off, and sailing over barrels and bales like hunted deer. Again Ed was paralyzed. Had the boys all gone mad? What could be the explanation of this extraordinary conduct? And so, dreaming along, he reached the wharf-boat, and stepped aboard nothing but silence there, and vacancy. He crossed the deck, turned the corner to go down the outer guard, heard a fervent--

    "O lord!" and saw a white linen form plunge overboard.
    This is from the Twain's "The Joke That Made Ed's Fortune."

    To me I cannot see any meaning for the word guard (in red) other than a passage in a boat. However, for the life of me, I couldn't find anything to that extent in any of the English English dictionaries I know.

    Would anyone, please, make any sense out of this.

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    #2

    Re: guard?

    Could be the meaning of a protective cover of some sort? (To stop you falling overboard or the protect you from the elements)

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    #3

    Re: guard?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Could be the meaning of a protective cover of some sort? (To stop you falling overboard or the protect you from the elements)
    I thought about this.
    The only thing that comes to mind is the rubbery lines along the boat. You see the main character is aboard a wharfboat, which is, as the name suggests, a boat that is used as a wharf in rivers that don't have a fixed level, where a regular wharf is just impractical. So such a rubbery protective cover makes so much sense, in our modern day and age. Keep in mind this was in the 1800's, and I quite frankly think this wasn't a standard back then.

    Moreover, I don't think one can walk on these things.

    Correct me if I am wrong (as English isn't my native tongue), "walk down" means exactly walking on but with a definite direction in mind, right? Not just passing by?

    If the former was the case, the guard has to be an actual passage. If the former, on the other hand, was the case, then we could say he passed a guard or a little guard kiosk, which I highly doubt.

    I think this has to do with river boating lingo of the time.

    I would really appreciate if someone could shed some light on this matter.


    Edit: I just read the statement in parantheses. Do you mean the boat rail? That would actually make sense.

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    #4

    Re: guard?

    I was thinking of some sort of rail and walk down meaning along. The other possibility was some sort of awning or sheet to one side.
    Last edited by Tdol; 04-Feb-2014 at 13:23.

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    #5

    Re: guard?

    I've found this:

    (d) A fence or rail to prevent falling from the deck of a vessel. (e) An extension of the deck of a vessel beyond the hull; esp., in side-wheel steam vessels, the framework of strong timbers, which curves out on each side beyond the paddle wheel, and protects it and the shaft against collision.


    Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) - The ARTFL Project

    (e) seems to fit.

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    #6

    Re: guard?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I've found this:

    (d) A fence or rail to prevent falling from the deck of a vessel. (e) An extension of the deck of a vessel beyond the hull; esp., in side-wheel steam vessels, the framework of strong timbers, which curves out on each side beyond the paddle wheel, and protects it and the shaft against collision.


    Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) - The ARTFL Project

    (e) seems to fit.
    I have checked Webster, and none of these two showed. "Unabridged" is the word.

    Thank you very much. You are a life saver. Both work, and (e) seems to be the best choice.

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    #7

    Re: guard?

    I found this through OneLook: General dictionary sites, a very useful site.

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