a handsome man except for a reserved and secret air

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diegoclegane

Senior Member
Mandarin-China
Hi,

Here is a dialogue from To Be Read at Dusk, by Charles Dickens:

'A terrible face?'

'No. The face of a dark, remarkable-looking man, in black, with black hair and a grey moustache - a handsome man except for a reserved and secret air.


请问如何理解和翻译下划线那部分,我有点被except for干扰到了,试着理解一下:

1、要不是因为他端着高冷又神秘的架子的话他会是一个英俊的男人。
2、他是个英俊的男人,除了有点端着高冷又神秘的架子。
 
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  • diegoclegane

    Senior Member
    Mandarin-China
    Hi, Skatinginbc, which one would you take:

    1) He would be a handsome man were it not for his reserved and secret air.

    2) He is a handsome man but has a reserved and secret air.
     

    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    If I have to pick, I would take (2) because "a reserved and secret air" does not strictly describe a person's physical features.

    Please note that the speaker (i.e., la bella Carolina) in the fiction later says "She don't know." (as opposed to "She doesn't know.") Obviously, her speech does not always follow perfect grammar, and so interpretations of her utterances should sometimes rely more on pragmatics than on standard syntax or definitions. From the perspective of pragmatics, I think she essentially replies that it was a handsome face in the dream, but she wants to add something that she thinks is more pertinent to the eerie experience: There was a reserved and secret air about that face--doing nothing but looking at her fixedly, out of darkness. Was it a "terrible face"? No. The face itself was not terrible (quite handsome, actually). It was the air about it that was terrible (causing terror or fear).
     
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