get the salt-cellars

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Senior Member
Hi folks, this is cited from Redburn by Hermann Melville (1849)
Q: What does “get the salt-cellars” mean here?

The servant girls were running about, mustering the various crews, whose dinners were spread, each in a separate apartment; and who were collectively known by the names of their ships.
"Where are the Arethusas?--Here's their beef been smoking this half-hour."--"Fly, Betty, my dear, here come the Splendids."--"Run, Molly, my love; get the salt-cellars for the Highlanders."--"You Peggy, where's the Siddons' pickle-pat?"--"I say, Judy, are you never coming with that pudding for the Lord Nelsons?"
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's an older form of the salt shaker.
    The term "salt cellar" is still common in Britain, at least in our household, where it is used to refer to what Americans call a salt shaker. I also have a "salt pig", which I would not call by any other name. However, manfy is almost certainly correct that a "salt cellar" here means a type of pot, as illustrated in the linked Wikipedia page.
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