<After all>, what could he twig


Senior Member
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 370, chapter 16) by Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Connie and Mellors were having breakfast at Mellors' cottage. A postman came to deliver a letter from Canada. Connie believed Canada is lovely)

But he was put out by the postman’s coming.
Them damn bikes, they’re on you afore you know where you are. I hope he twigged nothing.’
After all, what could he twig!’

I know after all has two meanings: in the end or in spite of everything. But it seems that neither of them fits here .
And I feel here it means however, which implies Connie doesn't believe the post man can find anything abnormal.

Is that right please?
Thank you in advance
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    "After all" has this meaning (WR dictionary) in this context: (used to remind the reader or listener that there is a strong basis for what is said): Of course he's exhausted. After all, he's been driving for ten straight hours.

    After all, what could he twig! = There's nothing to twig, so of course he can't twig anything.

    which implies Connie doesn't believe the post man can find anything abnormal.
    I think "twigged" here means "bumped into" or "damaged".

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    To 'twig' is slang for 'understand' or 'realise', when there's a suspicious situation.

    WR Dictionary:

    twig /twɪɡ/ vb (twigs, twigging, twigged) Brit informal
    1. to understand (something)
    2. to find out or suddenly comprehend (something): he hasn't twigged yet
    Etymology: 18th Century: perhaps from Scottish Gaelic tuig I understand
    The context is that Connie has spent the night with her lover who is also her husband's servant. Either would be a scandal, both are a huge scandal and very risky to Mellors and to Connie. Mellors is very worried that the postman has somehow realised ('twigged') that Connie was in the house.
    Last edited:

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    After all, means something like "After thinking about it ....". Paraphrase "I can't see any reason why he would have realised I was here."
    (He had!)


    Senior Member
    I see. I got the impression that Mellors and Connie were together when Mellors signed for the letter. I haven't read the book but I have a rough idea of the plot* so I suppose I should have realised Connie was probably trying to keep out of sight when the postman came there.

    *Mainly from Long's threads.
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