I read these from True Pleasures by Lucinda Holdforth:
1. I ... linger at the overflowing bookshop, dogleg through the courtyard...
Does "overflowing" mean there are many people at the bookshop?
What does "dogleg" mean?
2. Her blue, white and gold reception room was intimate, scaled down, with little alcoves to encourage private exchanges.
What does "private exchange" refer to?
3. The guest list was pruned to privilege talent, beauty, honour and wit... Wives and husbands were not automatically included - no free riders, thanks - and this no doubt contributed a flirtatious element to the conversation. (ps. this is talking about French salone in the 16th century)
What does "free rider" mean here? Why are wives and husbands "free riders"?
a. Something that has a sharp bend, especially a road or route that bends abruptly. b. A sharp bend or turn: Make a dogleg at the fire station and continue south.
2. A conversation between two people, usually about something they don't want the group to hear.
3. If you had talent, beauty, honour and wit, etc, you were invited. If your spouse didn't have those qualities, then s/he wasn't invited. In this context a free rider is a person who has nothing to offer yet gains from being in the company of those who have something to offer.
[IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/JOSET%7E1.CAL/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot.jpg[/IMG]First, overflowing could mean the number of books that would take long to count, therefore so numerous and the varieties of topics and titles of books are so wide where interested buyers can choose from, the spectrum of books that would coincide with their interests and inclinations.
Second, private exchange means the moments where two parties can securely and personally talk with each other without worrying for spectators or eavesdroppers that would even permit or encourage trading of sweet words and nice gestures between persons with mutual attraction that lovers normally do or practice.
Third, free riders refer to those interested attendees, short of parasites who when grouped altogether represents a sector which does not contribute anything for the advantage of the event itself or the people in general, but rather gains and benefits from the affair. Husbands and wives were probably screened and weeded out in the process if it has been determined that they won't be able to give their share for the success and enjoyment, glory and whims of the attendees and the occasion itself respectively.