Interested in Language
I cannot understand what the author means by the bold text. Can anybody help me?
One good thing was that the impulses which drove him to do such actions were violent rather than enduring; in fact, I often thought that if the force and emotion of these bouts ever came to last longer, he would be a very dangerous character. This was not only my opinion; it was the opinion of a number of respectable people who knew him as well as I did. I recollect that one evening, as three or four of us were coming out of a music hall, Barber offered some freedom to a lady which the gentleman with her—a member of Parliament, I was told—thought fit to resent. He turned fiercely on Barber with his hand raised—and then suddenly grew troubled, stepped back, lost countenance. This could not have been physical fear, for he was a strongly built, handsome man—a giant compared to the insignificant Barber. But Barber was looking at him, and there was something not only in his face, but, so to speak, encompassing him—I can't well describe it—a sort of abstract right—an uncontrolled power—a command of the issues of life and death, which made one quail.
Master Of Fallen Years by Vincent O´Sullivan, 1921
Thanks a lot.
Not a Teacher
Perhaps it was a way to say he took a liberty with the lady; that is, that he was too familiar with her and treated her with less formality than her companion thought appropriate.
I am not a teacher.