“I little thought ever to have seen it

Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 36) | Genius

Quotation:“Poor Mr. Edward!” he ejaculated, “I little thought ever to have seen it! Some say it was a just judgment on him for keeping his first marriage secret, and wanting to take another wife while he had one living: but I pity him, for my part.”

“You said he was alive?” I exclaimed.

“Yes, yes: he is alive; but many think he had better be dead.”

Context: Jane was asking the host of the inn about Mr. R.
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Hi everyone! I don’t quite understand the bold sentence. I try t interpret it as below. Is it correct?

The sentence => I almost thought I would have never seen thetragedy, (though I had actually seen it).
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    It is one of those idiomatic expressions that doesn't really gloss very easily. It is more of an expression of wonder like "Who'd have thought it" or "Well I never". The literal meaning is not the point, really. It shows his surprise and disbelief but the individual words are less relevant than the whole meaning.
     
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