detectives in the wedding


Senior Member
Dear all
Could someone please explain what are "detectives" doing in the wedding in the following context, taken from "Charley Anderson" in "The Big Money" by Dos Passos:
It's a wedding party and Gladys (the bride) is asking Charley (bridegroom) to see the presents.
She led them into an upstairs sittingroom stacked with glassware and silver table articles and flowers and smokingsets and toiletsets and cocktailshakers until it looked like a departmentstore. "Never saw anythin' like it in my life," said Charley. They sawsome guests coming in at the other end and ran into the back hall again. "How many detectives have they got?" asked Charley. "Four," said Gladys.
  • GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    When weddings were held in the house of the bride's parents, it was a long-standing custom to display all the wedding presents in one of the rooms of the house (you can read Emily Posts 1922 instructions for how to do this at line 39 here.) Naturally, at a very large and fashionable wedding, where everyone was not well known to the bride's parents, and strangers might slip inside unnoticed, there might be some concern for the safety of the very valuable presents, especially when the family and guests were all sitting down to eat in another room. Thus, detectives might be hired to watch over the gifts when the invited guests were eating or dancing elsewhere.
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