"Clutch" over the last hundred and fifty years or so seems to connote a special panicked grasp that you do protectively to something valuable.
Oh how many poor souls there are who in perfect security clutch the pearl of great price, to find at last that it is but paste!
Prejudices no longer exist, and Lord Chesterfield's view of the latitude to be allowed to the third sex, as he called ugly women, would be universally acquiesced in -- "that they should be allowed to indulge in field sports, a cheerful glass, and be allowed to stand in Parliament." The only difficulty is to find women willing to admit the qualification. Not only is the present supply above the demand, but the difficulties are increased by a prevailing habit of bringing daughters out at the age of sixteen -- a proceeding utterly subversive of all social progress. If the unhappy creature in question is invited to dine out, she very probably goes through an exhibition of nervous gymnastics, tearing her napkin, spilling her wine, convulsively clutching her necklace, and coloring at the sound of a monosyllable.
"Is it all right?" I heard her say in a sharp whisper full of pent-up anxiety. He nodded gravely in the affirmative and sat down. She gave a little gasp of relief and clutched her necklace.
So that was why he was never quite sober, even in the mornings. She clutched her beadsprayed hard under her breath, and watched him kick the door to.
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