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Francis Lynde, The Quickening.

On the contrary, my dear Mr. Gordon, it is because I do know him, or know of him, that I am turning him over to you. You are the one person in the world to obtain that coal lease. I confess I couldn't touch the Major with a ten-foot pole, any more than you could go North and get the cash. But you are his neighbor, and he likes you. What you recommend, he'll do.

Additional definitions for 'not touch something with a ten foot pole':

not touch something with a ten foot poleAmbrose Bierce , The Fiend's Delight In conclusion, his respect for letter-writing ladies is so great that he would not touch one of them with a ten-foot pole.
not touch something with a ten foot poleAmbrose Bierce, The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Vol. 8.
not touch something with a ten foot poleTo approach something or someone.
not touch something with a ten foot poleTo avoid something at all costs; to refuse to associate with something; signifies a strong aversion.
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