and my brother and mother and sisters were one.

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enkidu68

Senior Member
turkish
Hi folks, this is cited from Redburn by Hermann Melville (1849)
Context: At the beginning of his journey, Redburn thinks of Captan Riga as a good person.

Mr Jones is Redburn’s elder brother’s friend, who tries to help him to find a good job in a ship. I read this passage many times but I am not able to understand this bold sentence.

And I could not help regarding him with peculiar emotions, almost of tenderness and love, as the last visible link in the chain of associations which bound me to my home. For, while yet in port, I had seen him and Mr. Jones, my brother's friend, standing together and conversing; so that from the captain to my brother there was but one intermediate step; and my brother and mother and sisters were one.
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I am not entirely sure, but I would take it to mean that there was only one degree of separation (as we might now call it) between the captain and his brother, and therefore only only one degree of separation between the captain and his mother and sisters (whom he seems to have greater affection for than his brother). Redburn clearly wants to believe that he is not so distant from his mother and sisters.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I agree with Jack. I'd say that my brother and mother and sisters were one = my brother and mother and sisters were a single unit.
    So the indirect link between the captain and Redburn's brother equated to an indirect link between the captain and Redburn's mother and sisters.
     
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