Irusia wrote:What does this mean:
"Do you all sell anything to eat here?" one questions the grizzled old carpet slippers who opens the door.
Does the phase refer to a person?
It does. This is a form of metonymy, referring to a person by a noteworthy element of their attire. Compare this line from the song "We Are Young" by Fun:
"My seat's been taken by some sunglasses asking 'bout a scar."
"Sunglasses" here denotes "a guy wearing sunglasses". Reducing him to just this one element does several things. It dehumanises him, but it also taps into certain negative stereotypes about people who wear sunglasses indoors. It expresses a great deal of contempt on the part of the speaker.
Your example is interesting because the adjectives "old" and "grizzeled" apply to the person wearing the slippers, not the slippers themselves. ("Old" could apply to both, actually, but it's difficult to see how "grizzled" could apply to slippers.)
Irusia wrote:What do the following sentences mean:
One table was playing dominoes already.
More metonymy. "Our table" means "the people sitting at the same table as we are".
Another example: "At breakfast our table decided to visit the Buarbrœ Glacier in the morning and to drive to the Laatefos Waterfall in the afternoon." (The setting is a cruise ship.)
Irusia wrote:So I resolved to sell no more muscle and to become a vendor of brains.
Metonymy again! (See definitions 4 and 5 for "muscle" and 3 and 4 for "brains".)
Irusia wrote:The Stars and Stripes dangled languidly from a flag staff.
And again! The Stars and Stripes is a nickname for the flag of the United States, which prominently features both these elements in the design.
Irusia wrote:Birling: Well, have another glass of port, Gerald - and then we'll join the ladies.