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If you read on to the next paragraph, you will see that "guard" is used again: "I duly detached and re-attached it, then coiled compactly the completed guard". It seems to be some form of jewelry the narrator is crafting. It is in the form of a chain, made with silk and beads, and she completes it by attaching the clasp from her own necklace.


An example of a Victorian ladies' guard chain, worn around the neck. These were long chains, with a clasp for attaching pocket watches, lockets, spectacles and muffs.


In the example you provided it means that she really looked her age. It's a stylistic way of saying that she absolutely did not look any younger than what she was. For example: She was 55 and looked every day of it. The woman could look 55 or older, but certainly not younger.


LMGIFY The "burning" metaphor refers to burning at the stake, a method of executing criminals. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_by_burning For a specific example: see, e.g., Joan of Arc. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_of_Arc


As mentioned in the comments "run under the bed" is idiomatic. This is actually quite common in English, and the object used with the definite articles in these idioms is usually a particular one, but not necessary particularly identified. Some more examples: "I saw a car parked on the shoulder." Which shoulder? "I heard someone walking up the stairs." ...


You cling to a school rule that you say "a man" when the man is unknown and that you say "the man" when the man is known because he was mentioned before. But this is only one part of the reality. If you speak of a kitchen you can say the table, the cupboard, the kitchen sink. These words must not be introduced before as everybody knows there is a table, a ...


By way of supplementing Roaring Fish's answer, it may be relevant to note that in the "War Room" scene near the end of Dr. Strangelove, there is a lengthy discussion of the need for government officials to have access to a maximum-grade bomb shelter capable of withstanding an all-out nuclear attack. As Dr. Strangelove describes it—to the increasing ...

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