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Miss Beam was all that I had expected middle-aged, authoritative, kindly, and understanding. Her hair was beginning to turn grey, and her round figure was likely to be comforting for a homesick child to look upon.

Here, I think "her round figure" means the "fullness of her figure". But how exactly would it be comforting? (Especially when in movies, the bad guardians are mostly represented by big, fat people.)

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closed as not constructive by FumbleFingers, Robusto, Barrie England, tchrist, Mahnax Aug 30 '12 at 17:10

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I dunno, maybe because that was the opinion of the author—or his proxy, the narrator? – Robusto Aug 30 '12 at 3:32
If only the down voters would say why, duh! (I am not new to SE, and have been doing well on other SE sites.) – its_me Aug 30 '12 at 8:26
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The author is implying that Miss Beam is a motherly figure. The classic Earth Mother types are often depicted as plump, wide-hipped and full-breasted. The kindly and understanding bit in the previous sentence (of the OP's excerpt) further reinforces this attribute.

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