Posted by: Martin Stockdale
Sorry folks, but it's not a malapropism at all! As Jasper points out, her words are clear. It's effectively a precis of the story of her book, Sheridan's "The Rivals". As [www.theatrehistory.com
] explains better than I can (see below), the main character pretends to be a soldier in order to try to elope with Mrs Malaprop's ward!
Having said that, I read it more as an exclamation than an actual meaningful statement - rather like Kryten (Red Dwarf) saying "Well spin my nipple nuts and send me to Alaska".
The second comment - "you can dine out on that one for years" is (at least where I come from) a fairly normal sarcastic response to a good (or exaggerated) story or tall tale.
A synopsis of the play by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Young Captain Absolute, son and heir of Sir Anthony Absolute, arrives in Bath to pay court to the rich and lovely Lydia Languish. His suit is singularly complicated because he has made himself known to her as the penniless Ensign Beverley, the better to intrigue her romantic nature. Lydia, seventeen, favors the excitement of an elopement, but Captain Absolute is aware that she will lose two-thirds of her fortune if she weds without the consent of her aunt, Mrs. Malaprop. He hopes that Lydia will accept him in his true name after she has come to love him as Ensign Beverley.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/10/2011 08:22PM by Martin Stockdale.