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|1830 Balzac reference
Written by carolyn ruth
(8/31/2005 11:22 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Waiting for Deadmen's Shoes, penned by Kelley B
Does humanity, which, according to certain philosophers, is making progress, look on the art of waiting for dead men's shoes as a step in the right direction? To this art we owe several honorable professions, which open up ways of living on death. There are people who rely entirely on an expected demise; who brood over it, crouching each morning upon a corpse, that serves again for their pillow at night. To this class belong bishops' coadjutors, cardinals' supernumeraries, tontiniers, and the like. Add to the list many delicately scrupulous persons eager to buy landed property beyond their means, who calculate with dry logic and in cold blood the probable duration of the life of a father or of a step-mother, some old man or woman of eighty or ninety, saying to themselves, "I shall be sure to come in for it in three years' time, and then----"
Here the phrase seems to imply an improper hanging about waiting for someone's death so you may profit by it.
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