Oryx-and-Crake (oryx_and_crake) wrote in linguaphiles,

Smooth file?

Dear linguaphiles,

There is a phrase from a book I am reading that I don't understand (marked in bold). Please help! (Obviously, I've been to Google but it gave me nothing.) Thank you!

“Prince Max will be the focus,” said Miss Nibsmith, “but not just because of his rank. He is quite the bounciest man I have ever met, and his laugh and his chatter make him the centre wherever he is. The Countess adores him.”
“A relative?” said Francis.
“A cousin—not the nearest sort. A Hohenzollern, but poor. Poor, that is, for a prince. But Maxi is not one to repine and blame Fortune. No, no; he stirs his stumps and deals extensively in wine, and he gets rid of a lot of it in England and especially in the States. Maxi is what our Victorian ancestors would have called a smooth file. He will be the focus, you will see. The hot air from Prince Max will keep us all warm, and perhaps uncomfortably hot.”

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