nail and sarspan business

Yong Jo

Member
"South Korea - Korean"
Hello, everyone.

Excerpts from The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens.
sarspan may mean saucepan.
But in the below context, how can I understand that the nail and sarspan business is mentioned to blame and stop the orator's speech?

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Here the mayor was interrupted by a voice in the crowd.

‘Suc-cess to the mayor!’ cried the voice, ‘and may he never desert the nail and sarspan business, as he got his money by.’

This allusion to the professional pursuits of the orator was received with a storm of delight, which, with a bell-accompaniment, rendered the remainder of his speech inaudible, with the exception of the concluding sentence, in which he thanked the meeting for the patient attention with which they heard him throughout—an expression of gratitude which elicited another burst of mirth, of about a quarter of an hour’s duration.
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    He earned his money by making (or selling) nails and saucepens. The fact that a heckler mentioned this as being more important than politics caused so much laughter that the mayor couldn't finish his speech.
     

    Yong Jo

    Member
    "South Korea - Korean"
    He earned his money by making (or selling) nails and saucepens. The fact that a heckler mentioned this as being more important than politics caused so much laughter that the mayor couldn't finish his speech.
    Thank you for your kind comment. In that case, the nail and saucepan business may be more mean occupation than a politician?
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Yes. In time gone by, saucepan mending was typically the work of tinkers (travelling craftsmen) who were often thought of as tramps, gypsies or rogues. And in the region where I was born, nail-making was the least skilful metal industry, below chain-making and screw-making.

    The heckler is hoping that the mayor will abandon politics and go back to this lowly trade.
     

    Yong Jo

    Member
    "South Korea - Korean"
    Yes. In time gone by, saucepan mending was typically the work of tinkers (travelling craftsmen) who were often thought of as tramps, gypsies or rogues. And in the region where I was born, nail-making was the least skilful metal industry, below chain-making and screw-making.

    The heckler is hoping that the mayor will abandon politics and go back to this lowly trade.
    Wow! Perfect! Thank you so much. I fully got it now.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    It sounds to me like one of the rural areas of southern England, but which one isn't evident unless you read the book. All I know is that it's a small town remote from London.
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    Thanks, Keith. I'd better read the book, then! I can just about identify 4 or 5 main dialects from the British isles, if spoken: Irish, Scottish or Welsh English, Northern vs. Southern England, and Posh! :D I've only ever come across Scottish English represented in writing, in Terry Pratchett's novels about the Wee Free Men.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I don't know what to make of the spelling - sarspan... Is it a dialectal representation? In that case, what dialect (or sociolect)?
    Difficult to pin the accent/dialect down from that one word (there are no other useful clues in what the heckler says), especially when you don't know whether it's meant to be pronounced /ˈsarspæn/ or /ˈsɑːspæn/ ... or something else:)
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    Difficult to pin the accent/dialect down from that one word (there are no other useful clues in what the heckler says), especially when you don't know whether it's meant to be pronounced /ˈsarspæn/ or /ˈsɑːspæn/ ... or something else:)
    True. I wondered if there was some area where saucepan would typically be pronounced something like that, or if Dickens just pulled it out of a hat...
    ... All I know is that it's a small town remote from London.
    Land's End?!:D
     
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