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Modest man that he was, ...

"Modest man that he was, his one desire was to do what was right, and to avoid any publicity."
The above sentence is from BARCHESTER TOWERS by Anthony Trollope--retold by Clare West. I suppose that "Modest man that he was" can be rephrased as "As he was a modest man." I wonder if the original expression is commonly used now. In the sentence quoted above, "he" signifies Mr Harding who used to be warden of a home for elderly men in Barchester, called Hiram's Hospital.

In the last chapter titled "The new dean," there was an expression "like cats." "It is well known, however, that the Slopes of this world fall on their feet like cats." Why and how are cats supposed to fall on their feet? Mr Slope was chaplain of Dr Poudie, Bishop of Barchester.

According to the descriptions of the author, Anthony Trollope worked in the Post Office and was "responsible for the introduction in Great Britain of the red pillar box for letters."

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