two lamps burning and no ship at sea

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two lamps burning and no ship at sea

Said of someone who squanders money on lavish things. Oil lamps were, at one time, quite expensive, and a wealthy person who could afford such an expense would also likely have had a ship at sea. Someone who did not have ships at sea but burned multiple oil lamps was then wasting what little money they had. I'm not surprised that Reginald is in the poorhouse these days—he always had two lamps burning and no ship at sea.
See also: and, burning, lamp, no, sea, ship, two
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