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Gregory is surprised. ‘Sir William is no older than yourself, my lord.’

A bark of laughter: ‘You think men of sixty should be put out to grass?’

‘He thinks they should be boiled for glue.’ He puts an arm around his son’s shoulders. ‘He’ll soon be boiling his father, won’t you?’


Do you think it should be understood literally? I googled death by boiling and it turns out it has been used as a death penalty in the past. This excerpt is taken from the third installment of Thomas Cromwell saga by Hilary Mantel.


Thanks for your help!

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anonymousDo you think it should be understood literally?

No. They are both related idioms.

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/put+out+to+grass #: :text=grass%2C%20out%2C%20put-,put%20out%20to%20grass,longer%20useful%20for%20other%20work.


https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/glue+factory

Comments  
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?

Thanks for your response. So, you're saying that he's using the analogy of useless animals that are sent to the glue factory?

Both are related to old age:

Put out to grass - go to a retirement place where you play golf and travel and are still active as an influencer.


to the glue factory: More serious - going to a place to deteriorate and die (like a nursing home )