putting on silk hats

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Senior Member
Dear friends
Please tell me if ''putting on silk hats'' in the following context, taken from biography of "Paxton Hibben'', "1919" by John Dos Passos means what it says, sort of a tradition for duels, or it has a figurative concept:
(Time: 1918- Location: Athens)
walked up and down the terrace with King Constantine during the bombardment of Athens, fought a duel with a French commission agent who got up and left when a German sat down to eat in the diningroom at the Grande Bretagne; Hibben thought the duel was a joke until all his freinds began putting on silk hats;
  • Q-cumber

    Senior Member
    In my opinion, the friends were putting on silk hats in order to go out and to assist /supervise the duel. If there were no duel <which is definitely the reason to go out>, the guys wouldn't put their hats on. So, the "silk hats" were kinda symbol (proof or whatever) of the upcoming duel for Hibben.

    The hats were made of <expensive> silk, because the friends belonged to the high society.

    All the above is IMHO.
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