What is she referring to?

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What is she referring to?

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Fév 19, 2013, 9:41pm

I'm reading Cards on the Table. After a weighty pause in conversation, one of the characters says, "Is it twenty-to or twenty past? An angel passing . . . . My feet aren't crossed—it must be a black angel!"

It seems to be a reference to some bit of folklore, but my google-fu isn't up to the task of finding out. Does anyone know?

Fév 19, 2013, 10:12pm

Which part of it?

"Angel passing" and the allusion to 20 is somewhat common for an awkward silence during a conversation. See http://www.snopes.com/oldwives/silence.asp for example

The crossed feet is probably similar to crossed fingers - as they are not crossed, so it is a bad thing.