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his little mean excise-rod

An excise rod was a measuring stick used by officials in order to determine the excise tax to charge, either during the manufacturing process or before sale.

the World, with its best glass in its eye

The "glass in its eye" is a reference to a monocle, which may have been a sign of worldliness or pretension.

an impromptu wrestle with my friend Bounderby in the Lancashire manner

The Lancashire style was a particularly rough-and-tumble type of wrestling. To win, a competitor had to hold down his opponent’s shoulders for two seconds. It was considered the most vicious of the various English manners of wrestling, and it gave rise to such maneuvers as the half nelson and full nelson.

thirteen or fourteen stone

A stone is a standard British measurement of 14 pounds: thus, between 182 and 196 pounds.

his hotel in St. James's Street

A fashionable area in London's West End, running between Pall Mall and Piccadilly and near a number of gentleman's clubs.

Venus, who had risen out of the mud instead of the sea

Venus, the goddess of love in Roman mythology (called Aphrodite in Greek mythology), is said to have been born from the sea.



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