“The committee was at a loss to know whom next to throw the
handkerchief to ” (The Times). The meaning is that the
committee did not know whom they were to ask next to make a speech for
them: and the allusion is to the game called in Norfolk “Stir up the
dumplings,” and by girls “Kiss in the ring.”
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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