he catches his toe...

kahroba

Senior Member
Persian
Dear friends
What's meant by "he catches his toe..." in the following passage, chosen from "Manhattan Transfer" [1925] by Dos Passos:
Time 1905
Location: on board of a steamer just arriving into Manhattan. A mother asks her son to promise he will stay on the promenade deck so that she can finish packing. The boy promises.
He catches his toe on the brass threshold of the smoking-room door and sprawls on deck, gets up rubbing his bare knee just in time to see the sun break through chocolate clouds and swash a red stream of brightness over the puttycolored water.
The problem is that I can't imagine the scene or the position of the smoking-room to understand what's meant by "he catches his toe..." Is he climbing something by catching his toe on the threshold?
 
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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I assume that the brass threshold of that door is elevated above the rest of the floor, which would make it possible for this poor fellow to trip over it.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I imagine the doorway of the smoking-room has some kind of brass bar along it, about one toe in height, just enough for you to catch your toe on it (= hit your toe on it and thereby trip or stumble or suffer pain or yell "damned stupid place to put a brass bar!"). The threshold can be just the barrier, the imaginary line of crossing, or it can be a doorstep or any such physical structure at the base of the door.
     

    kahroba

    Senior Member
    Persian
    I see the point now, thanks to your patient explanation.
    Thanks again dear Owlman5, dear Entangledbank. Most helpful like always.
     
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