our children have said thank you madam for the first bawlin' out over nothing at all

t k

Senior Member
Korean - Korea
'Why if Mrs Tennant loses all her dough there'll always be those that took it. Don't you tell me there isn't good pickings to be had in service long after our children have said thank you madam for the first bawlin' out over nothing at all that they'll receive.' (from Loving by Henry Green; a larger context is here; use ctrl-f to locate the sentence)

Dictionaries help me to get the meaning of each expression, but the speaker's intention is a mystery. Please explain the bold-faced sentence. Thanks. --- tk
 
  • GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Looking at it in context, it seems to be a discussion between an English manservant and his fiancée. She is saying "don't tell me that there is not money to be made being a servant even in the distant future, when our children (who haven't been born yet), who will also be servants, respond obsequiously to their employer after the first baseless scolding they receive from her." Presumably, when she or her husband are reprimanded by the woman who employs them (that is, "Madam"), they do not argue that the employer is mistaken, but simply let her have her way -- that is, they say "Thank you, Madam."
     
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