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mind of dead baby Options
s21d
Posted: Saturday, October 14, 2017 4:50:03 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/13/2013
Posts: 738
Neurons: 7,854
The remaining four passengers sat on for a while, until a solemn-looking man in the corner, who, from his dress and general appearance, seemed to belong to the undertaker class, said it put him in mind of dead baby; and the other three passengers tried to get out of the door at the same time, and hurt themselves.

The above extract is from from Jerome K. Jerome's novel Three Men in a boat. This incident describes the cheese episode. Kindly tell me the meaning of the italicized phrase.
thar
Posted: Saturday, October 14, 2017 5:03:08 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 16,989
Neurons: 68,550
It is a phrasal verb. The important section is 'put him in mind of'
The 'mind of baby' is a misleading connection. It is in his mind.

If you put 'in mind of' in dictionary searches you get the idiom:

http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/put+in+mind+of


Quote:
put (one) in mind of (someone or something)
To remind someone of someone or something else. Cold weather like this always puts me in mind of childhood trips to our cabin in the mountains.



http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/put-sb-in-mind-of-sth
Quote:

put sb in mind of sth

to cause someone to remember something:
The mention of skiing holidays put me in mind of a documentary that I saw last week.


The passengers start noticing a smell. They don't know what it is, but it is nasty enough to make them leave.
A few passengers remain. This guy says the smell puts him in mind of dead baby - it is like a smell he knows, the smell of dead baby.
More people quickly leave!


It is uncountable because it is the category, not any particular baby.

Of course the smell is nothing to do with dead bodies:


Quote:

I remember a friend of mine, buying a couple of cheeses at Liverpool. Splendid cheeses they were, ripe and mellow, and with a two hundred horse-power scent about them that might have been warranted to carry three miles, and knock a man over at two hundred yards.
...
I got in.... and, putting my cheeses upon the rack, squeezed down with a pleasant smile, and said it was a warm day.


Stinky cheese + time + warm weather + closed compartment = smell like dead baby! (Apparently!) Whistle


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