As if X had just come out from under a featherbed

Michael Quinion wordseditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Mon May 22 08:11:28 UTC 2006

Carl Burnett wrote:

> Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (whose birthday is today, incidentally) used a
> similar phrase in his novel "The Firm of Girdlestone":
> "It's as plain as the fingers of me hand," the old soldier said in a wheezy
> muffled brogue, as if he were speaking from under a feather-bed.

The same idea turns up in Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit: "And still the
Captain's voice was heard--so stifled by the concourse, that he seemed to
speak from underneath a feather-bed--exclaiming--'Gentlemen, you that have
been introduced to Mr Chuzzlewit, WILL you clear?'!

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: wordseditor at

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