who had ever crossed his legs under mahogany.

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Senior Member
Hi folks, this is cited from Redburn by Hermann Melville (1849)
Q: Does he mean by this “every sailor sitting on a crew table feels himself very degraded or something like that?

And I further admonished my friend concerning our crew, particularly of the diabolical Jackson, and warned him to be cautious and wary. I told him, that unless he was somewhat accustomed to the rigging, and could furl a royal in a squall, he would be sure to subject himself to a sort of treatment from the sailors, in the last degree ignominious to any mortal who had ever crossed his legs under mahogany.
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    A nice example from the OED, demonstrating that it’s a reference to luxury:

    1926 Travel, Nov. 16/1 — It is an amusing and novel experience to sit with one's knees under mahogany and sip French wine from a glass of Mauzé crystal.
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