Could you tell me what "chiseling" means in the following passage?
(Person A killed Patricia Vas Osdel, an heiress of a millionair of the flypaper industry, and was arrested)
A: "I didn't take anything from Patricia Van Osdel that wasn't mine. Do you know where her old man got his flykiller formula? From my mother. She made it up herself and used it around the farm. Old Van Osdel came along selling phony patent medicine one day, and he saw it work. He got my mother to tell him how she made it and got her to sign a release of all her rights in it for five dollars. Five dollars!"
B: "Patricia came by her chiseling honestly."
My dictionary says that to "chisel" is to cut and shape wood or stone, but this does not make sense in this context. It seems to me that the last sentence says something like "Patricia obtained her fortune legally from her father." Am I right?
'chisel/chiseling' as an American slang word which means to cheat or swindle someone out of something, usually money.
So - Patricia's father chiselled Person A's mother out of the formula, and so made a fortune which Patricia inherited.
The writer is using 'chiselling' as a noun to combine the idea that he chiselled the mother out of the formula, and therefore in effect, chiselled her out of a fortune as well. '
'came by her chiselling' = came by what was chiselled out of the woman by her father.
Patricia came by it honestly in that she had no part in the actual 'chiselling' and merely inherited the money from the father.