Well, in the sense that MT could hardly utter a conventionally pompous phrase in passing, such as that one, without a facetious glint in his eye, somewhere, I'm sure. I'd guess that "White" was as much shorthand for "respectable" as it was a literal racial designation - as in, e.g., " that's mighty white of you."
On Nov 30, 2011, at 11:25 PM, [log in to unmask] wrote:
>> I figure "white" just goes along with "highly respectable" in the
>> conventional rhetorical litany of attributes accorded a woman one is proud
>> to have in one's company, at that declarative time But...who WAS that
>> white woman?
> Olivia Langdon, I'd assume. I think he was courting her by that time, and I
> seem to recall they went to see Dickens at least once together. And in a
> more subjective vein, he really does sound like a proud suitor in this
> passage -- to my ears, anyway.
> As for the use of "white," I've always taken that as something of a joke.
> -- Bob G.