making his professional acquaintance

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thetazuo

Senior Member
Chinese - China
“I have watched the fellow more than once before ever I thought of making his professional acquaintance, and I have been surprised at the harvest which he has reaped in a short time. His”

Excerpt from
Sherlock Holmes Illustrated and Complete
Doyle, Arthur Conan

Hi. The fellow is a beggar who pretends to a small trade in wax vestas.
Does the bold part mean “the speaker (Holmes) thought of approaching the beggar in a professional capacity”?
Thank you.
 
  • Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    To make someone's professional acquaintance is to meet him in a professional or working environment.

    Holmes is being ironical. Begging isn't really a profession as such of course. He means he'd watched him more than once before he actually approached him to give him money.

    Edit: Cross-posted. Heypresto could be right too.

    This is from "The Man with the Twisted Lip", isn't it? I've read it but don't remember it now. (With Sherlock Holmes short stories, I think it'd be useful to name the actual story too.)
     
    Last edited:

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you both. Sorry for the delayed reply. I have to finish reading the short story before I can get back to you.
    Yes. I'm guessing he 'employs' him as a sort of informant, to pick up useful information and gossip from 'the streets.'
    According to the story, Holmes and Watson were working a case about the disappearance of a gentleman called Neville St. Clair. The beggar was the one responsible for the disappearance of the gentleman, of whom Holmes and Watson were in search, And it turned out that this beggar was no one but the gentleman.

    So I think the topic phrase has nothing to do with employing the beggar as a sort of informant or giving him money, but just meeting him in a professional or working environment. Does it make sense?

    This is from "The Man with the Twisted Lip", isn't it? I've read it but don't remember it now. (With Sherlock Holmes short stories, I think it'd be useful to name the actual story too.)
    Yes. And thank you for your suggestion. :)
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    It could merely mean before he bought matches from the person, this being his "profession" (agreeing with Barque in post #3). I don't recall the exact circumstances of the story.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you for the responses.
    It could merely mean before he bought matches from the person, this being his "profession" (agreeing with Barque in post #3). I don't recall the exact circumstances of the story.
    Sorry, Jack, I don’t quite follow you. How do you tell that Holmes bought/intended to buy matches from the beggar? What do you refer to by “this”? :confused:
     
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