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    went down like a row of ninepins

    Dear teachers,

    Yesterday I read a passage of Somerset Maugham’s “The escape” where I noted an expression which aroused my curiosity.

    “His name was Roger Charing. He was no longer young when he felt in love with Rut Barlow and he had had sufficient experience to make him careful; but Ruth Barlow had a gift (or should I call it a quality?) that renders most men defenseless, and it was this that dispossessed Roger of his common sense, his prudence and his worldly wisdom. He went down like a row of ninepins.”
    I know that in Colonial time, children did not have Nintendo, TV, or many books to read, so they often made their own games. They spend so much time at school and doing chores that outdoor games were exciting to them.
    A fun game was Nine Pins which is similar to bowling.
    Nine pins would be placed three in a row on the lawn and the object was to knock down all nine pins with a ball. The slope of the lawn made the game tricky.
    There is a figurative sense in that expression.
    He probably pictured how my hurtling car might have hurled Cambodian pedestrians in all directions, knocking them down like nine pins. . knock down all the nine pins at once

    I guessed that the expression in question “He went down like a row of ninepins = “He fell passionately in love.” in the present case by that context.

    In my humble opinion the brief meaning of the expression is “infatuated” = “affected with intense romantic attraction” or “besotted”.

    Would you be kind enough to confirm my guesswork?

    Thank you for your efforts.


    Last edited by vil; 26-Jul-2008 at 07:30.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: went down like a row of ninepins

    I'd say you have guessed correctly.


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