a casino and solitary star


Senior Member
The quotation comes from Jane Eyre Chapter 23

It was now the sweetest hour of the twenty-four:—“Day its fervid fires had wasted,” and dew fell cool on panting plain and scorched summit. Where the sun had gone down in simple state—pure of the pomp of clouds—spread a solemn purple, burning with the light of red jewel and furnace flame at one point, on one hill-peak, and extending high and wide, soft and still softer, over half heaven. The east had its own charm or fine deep blue, and its own modest gem, a casino and solitary star: soon it would boast the moon; but she was yet beneath the horizon.
Hi everyone! I don't quite understand the bold part. I guess it refers to "the moon", but the word "casino" puzzles me. "a building used for professional gambling, for meetings, or for dancing"? I have no idea. :confused:
  • london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    'Casino' comes from the Italian and originally meant a small dwelling or a cottage. In modern Italian it now means brothel (a gambling establishment is called a 'casinò'). It is therefore likely she meant a small building of some description.

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I decided to check this out, as I was not at all convinced by this use of the word 'casino', although I have seen various instances of it on the Internet. I was unable to find my copy of the book, so I checked out Google and found the text for the 1864 edition in Google Books, I quote:

    ....a rising and solitary star'.

    This makes far more sense to me.
    I found this on the 'net.

    Casino is rooted from an Italian word 'casa' whose direct meaning is 'house'. In the olden times, casino is merely used to direct a country home or a cottage. The evolution and the civilization of man translated it to mean something else. Later on, 'casino' is mostly used to address a house for social gathering. Regular town functions are held in casinos. During those days, town functions mean lots of dancing, singing, socializing, and yes, gambling.

    It's stated that the primarily 'gambling' meaning did not come till the 1850s. (after JE was written).

    Minnesota Guy

    Senior Member
    American English - USA
    As to the identity of this "star".........it's not the moon, since at this point the moon is still beneath the horizon. It may be the planet Venus, often called "the evening star" -- though I believe Venus is usually associated with the western, not eastern sky. Maybe an astronomer can help us out?
    The east had its own charm or fine deep blue, and its own modest gem, a casino[rising] and solitary star: soon it would boast the moon; but she was yet beneath the horizon.

    I don't see any problem with configuration, a bright star above and moon below the eastern horizon. The sun is set, so Venus would have either preceded it (most likely, given the lack of mention), or still be above in the west.*. {Venus is never more than about 45 degrees from the Sun.} The star {maybe Sirius} is rising above the horizon in the East, the moon is below and rising, so soon they will both be visible.

    I'm an amateur gazer only, but pretty sure of the above.

    *Hence we typically see it in the East, rising ahead of the Sun (Morning Star), or in the West setting, after sunset (Evening Star).
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