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  1. Senior Member
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    Come to grief


    Can anybody tell me if my suppositions I put inside the brackets about what the bold text could mean are correct?

    The boy who resided at Agathox Lodge, 28, Buckingham Park Road, Surbiton, had often been puzzled by the old sign-post that stood almost opposite. He asked his mother about it, and she replied that it was a joke, and not a very nice one, which had been made many years back by some naughty young men, and that the police ought to remove it. For there were two strange things about this sign-post: firstly, it pointed up a blank alley, and, secondly, it had painted on it in faded characters, the words, "To Heaven."
    "What kind of young men were they?" he asked.
    "I think your father told me that one of them wrote verses, and was expelled from the University and came to grief in other ways (other misfortunes happened to him). Still, it was a long time ago. You must ask your father about it. He will say the same as I do, that it was put up as a joke."
    "So it doesn't mean anything at all?"
    She sent him upstairs to put on his best things, for the Bonses were coming to tea, and he was to hand the cake-stand (his parents made him take the cake-stand and offer the desert to the guests).
    It struck him, as he wrenched on his tightening trousers, that he might do worse than ask Mr. Bons about the sign-post (it cannot do any harm to him if he asks the gentleman about the post-sign). His father, though very kind, always laughed at him—shrieked with laughter whenever he or any other child asked a question or spoke. But Mr. Bons was serious as well as kind. He had a beautiful house and lent one books, he was a churchwarden, and a candidate for the County Council; he had donated to the Free Library enormously, he presided over the Literary Society, and had Members of Parliament to stop with him—in short, he was probably the wisest person alive.

    The Celestial Omnibus by Edward Morgan Forster, 1911.

    Thank you.
    Not a Teacher. A guy who is fond of old horror and weird literature and who is interested in English language.

  2. VIP Member
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    Re: Come to grief

    Your understanding matches mine.
    I am not a teacher.

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