among the heather

Arzhela

Senior Member
French
Hello eveybody,
I nver saw this phrase (or whatever it is) "among the heather" so I can't translate it in French. Here's the dialog :

A mother to her daughter :
- With this dress, you look like a slut !

An old aunt :
- Oh Heavens! That's not a word you often hear among the heather !

Could someone help me please ?
Thank you very much in advance.
 
  • AudricChalon

    New Member
    French
    according to wordreference, heather is "bruyère". It is a type of plant.

    In my opinion the translation is: "au milieu des bruyères" meaning "au milieu des plantes"
     

    Arzhela

    Senior Member
    French
    Yes, this is in Scotland, among the High Society.
    The mother is a marchioness and she doesn't want her daughter to wear some fashionable dress to go the Ghillies' Ball (we are in 1922) The old woman is the mother's aunt, a Countess Dowager. After that she says that in her time, she wore crinoline, bustle and leg-of-mutton sleeves, so she's not in a strong position to criticize her great-niece, but in fact, she understands better the young woman than the mother does. That's for the context. This Dowager is used to say funny phrases all the time, so I think it's probably the case here, but I can't see what means "au milieu des plantes" here ! They are speaking in a little hall, at the bottom of a staircase, in a castle.
     

    Willower

    Senior Member
    English (British)
    I guess "among the heather" in this context refers to the "huntin' shootin', fishin'" Scottish aristocracy - wealthy people who engage in field sports.. I don't think a literal translation would make any sense - it's more like " dans le beau monde"
     

    Omelette

    Senior Member
    UK English
    That might seem to fit the context, but - though I don't know the answer - I'm afraid I'm not totally convinced. As a Scot myself, I have never heard of 'heather' being synonymous with Scottish aristocracy. It's a plant and there's a lot of it in the north of Scotland. I would normally expect 'among the heather' to mean in the north (the Highlands) of Scotland. So - for some reason - that isn't the sort of thing people say up here. Why not? I don't know.
     
    Last edited:

    Arzhela

    Senior Member
    French
    In fact, the marchioness is living in Scotland and the scene is in a castle in Scotland. But the Dowager is English and she just came and see her niece for some days. In the light of your explanations, I now understand that she means "this is not a word that we were used to hear in your country" (that is "you ought not to use it. I don't like it" : that's quite the Dowager's way of speaking :) . She likes metaphors.
    Thank you very much !
     
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