a <good one> to tell them

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fateh ahmadpanah

Senior Member
Kurdish/Iran
Hi.
I got confused to find the reference of quantifier" One" in these sentences sentence from James Joyce's THE BOARDING HOUSE (A STORY IN DUBLINERS):


" He was fond of using soldiers' obscenities: usually he came home in the mall hours. When he met hi friends he had always a good one to tell them and he was always sure to be to be on good on to a good thing- that is to say , a likely horse or a likely artiste.

I slept on it for a while and I paraphrased it as: he always utilized offensive words. when he met his friends he offended them by calling them: horse or a wandering artist. or making bad words related to some qualities of horse or artiste, he offended his friends. here the quantifier "one" refers to obscenity.
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Here's a corrected version of the quoted text, which may be helpful:

    "He was fond of using soldiers' obscenities: usually he came home in the small hours. When he met his friends he had always a good one to tell them and he was always sure to be on to a good thing- that is to say , a likely horse or a likely artiste."

    Source: "The Boarding House," from The Duliners, by James Joyce

    I see no reason to think "a good one" refers to anything other than "a good story." or "a good joke." He certainly isn't calling his friends horses or artistes. This is essentially a list of the man's traits or habits: he swears, he comes home well after midnight, he always has a good tale to tell, and he always has inside information on a racehorse or a would-be artiste.
     
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