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I am reading 'The Invisible Man' written by H.G.Wells and here I have this phrase 'saving his regard'. A man named Marvel, who was chosen by the Invisible Man(Griffin) to do things for Griffin, was sitting in a bench at Port Stowe and was approached by a mariner. After they shared sort of greetings, there is a sentence like following: The mariner produced a toothpick, and (saving his regard) was engrossed thereby for some minutes.

In this sentence, what does 'saving his regard' mean?

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Per the OED, the first definition of "regard" as a noun is the look of something, and the second is the look at something, i.e., a gaze. "Saving" here means except. So your italicized sentence means that the mariner took out a toothpick and took a few minutes in which his attention was taken by an exercise in oral hygiene. Except for his gaze upon Mr. Marvel. This is confirmed by the next sentence which says, "His [the sailor's] eyes meanwhile were at liberty to examine Mr. Marvel's dusty figure and the books beside him."

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