evidently some oriental curiosity caught up at random.


Senior Member
Over his evening clothes he wore a curious pale yellow coat that looked more like a very light dressing gown than an overcoat, and on the back of his head was stuck an extraordinary broad-brimmed hat of a bright green colour, evidently some oriental curiosity caught up at random.

Chesterton is describing one of his 'The Hammer of God''s main characters. Could you please explain what is meant by this phrase in bold?
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    A curiosity -> something (often, but not always, a rare or unique item or style of item) that attracts one's interest.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Caught up at random" suggests to me that this person grabbed the first piece of headgear that came to hand. Perhaps he reached into his wardrobe and took out this hat without giving it a moment's thought. It looked odd because it didn't go with the rest of his clothes.

    There doesn't seem to be anything in the text to suggest that he bought this distinctive hat at random (rather than selecting it because he liked it).


    Senior Member
    Yes. This is true. I discovered this when I went on reading the story.
    He says:
    “It was the first hat to hand,” explained his brother airily; “always the nearest hat—and the nearest woman.”

    Thank you, velisarius.
    < Previous | Next >