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I came across this in a novel “The fingers of my successor daily turned the handle of this door which opened now on the yellow flame of the gas-fire, pink-shaded lamps burning through the snow-grey afternoon, a waste of cretonne loose covers.”

Could anyone help clarify why “a waste of cretonne loose covers”? Covers mean curtains? The room is so well illuminated that it doesn’t need curtains?

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Loose covers are fitted covers for upholstered armchairs, to protect the upholstery or hide it when it is worn out. I think the author is using waste in the sense of area of barren land (see https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/waste , noun definition 3). A snowy waste is a large area of empty land covered in snow, and the room is seen as an unprofitable area covered in cretonne (furnishing fabric).

  • In the US, such coverings are called slipcovers. Loose covers in the UK? – KarlG Mar 31 at 11:00
  • @KarlG Yes, that is what we call them. – Kate Bunting Mar 31 at 15:49

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