man mumbling over meat and homilies

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Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
Cromis laughed dully. "You are small comfort. An old man mumbling over meat and homilies."
(Viriconium; M. John Harrison)

Would you be so kind as to tell me whether it should be read as 'mumbling over homilies', and if so, what exactly could it mean?

  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    I don't see any reason to strip "meat" out of that sentence, Suprun. I understand it as a sarcastic remark.

    Old men often mumble when they talk. Apparently, this old man is interested in homilies. So Cromis is saying that the other character is nothing more than a dotard who habitually mumbles as he talks about the food he is eating (or perhaps he prays at mealtime) and the sermons he has heard. In short, the man mumbles about trivial things.
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