Student or Learner
Would you be kind enough to tell me whether I am on the right way with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following brief excerpt from the Dickens’ “Burnaby Rudge”?
To-night,' returned the other. 'What do you stare at? This tavern would seem to be a house of call for all the gaping idlers of the neighborhood!'
a house of call for all the gaping idlers of the neighborhood = a haunt for all the despicable/contemptible people of the neighborhood
a house of call =
analogous to “ a port of call = any port where a ship stops except its home port
gaping idlers = wretched fellows, lame ducks, lazybones
Thank you for your efforts.
An idler is someone who is not employed productively. A gaping idler is (my guess) someone who is looking for gossip or news or something to see.