ward politician

valerie

Senior Member
France, French & Spanish
I do not understand this phrase and would be grateful if you could provide me with a translation or an explanation. It comes from "Bartleby the Scrivener" (Herman Melville, 1853), describing a character named Nipper:

I was aware that not only was he, at times, considerable of a ward-politician, but he occasionally did a little business at the Justices' courts, and was not unknown on the steps of the Tombs.

Thank you
 
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  • fetchezlavache

    Senior Member
    france
    la description est celle d'un politicien qui a des connections un peu partout. dans les quartiers, au palais de justice, et à la prison.
     
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    valerie

    Senior Member
    France, French & Spanish
    Thanks Robin,
    Un politicien de quartier would mean local politician, with few capacities to grow to higher level?
     
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    RobInAustin

    Senior Member
    US English, French
    Valerie,
    This describes someone who was politically active in local New York City politics and civic affairs. Deals would be made on the steps of the tombs, about civic matters, and between lawyers and officials.

    The context appears to indicate someone who was not a "very" important person, but involved himself in local affairs trying to be more important.
     
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    DelaChón

    Senior Member
    Aragonese Spanish
    J'arrive peut-être un peu tard, mais The Norton Anthology of American Literature adds this footnote: "I.e. Nippers is suspected of arranging bail for prisoners or other such activities which strike the narrator as unseemly if not nefarious."

    I hope this helps clarify the meaning of the passage.

    Au revoir !
     
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