Little finger

I’ve been reading Wyndams The Kraken Wakes and found myself at some dialogue when the husband and wife journalists are talking about inviting guests over to wheedle some info out of them:

“Darling, you know you thoroughly enjoy the art of the little finger. And you’d be furious if I concealed you under a bushel.”

“well, that’s very well,” she said. “But I’d just like to feel a little more certain whose little finger we’re talking about.”

having watched game of thrones, I thought “I’ve heard that term in that context before” – I’d assumed “Little Finger” in game of thrones – a quick google search suggests his name is specifically about two things:

Petyr grew up at House Tully’s castle Riverrun with Hoster’s daughters Catelyn and Lysa, and son Edmure; Edmure nicknamed Petyr “Littlefinger” in reference to his short stature and his family’s lands on the smallest of the peninsulas called the Fingers.

And googling, I found this on urban dictionary:

Littlefinger v. to manipulate people excessively and brilliantly to achieve your own goals.

ah hah! I thought, clever writers littlefinger is clearly named for his manipulative beha… oh

Origin: Game of Thrones Character Littlefinger

no, I’m pretty sure little finger refers to manipulation of people predating game of thrones; the kraken wakes was written in 1953, and I also found this reference in an article written in 1932

But the thought occurs,–imagine rising with a hangover to greet a nine o’clock on the “Amenities of Gin,” and an eleven o’clock laboratory exercise in “The Art of the little finger as applied to Chartreusel”

https://www.thecrimson.com/article/1932/12/10/the-pied-piper-pdr-william-muhlberg/

but that’s it. Now it’s entirely possible I’m overthinking this, and “the art of the little finger” is just an uncommon usage of something like “skilled at wrapping people around their little finger”.

anyway this is the sort of nonsense I save for Twitter.

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