another riddle from Romola

palinurodimessico

Senior Member
México, Español
Hello all,
I perceive a contradiction on the following pair of sentences... am I missing something? All help will be appreciated.



" And if you want to be informed on such matters, I, Nello, am your man. It seems to me a thousand years till I can be of service to a bel erudito like yourself."

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  • Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I agree there is an apparent contradiction. Why does Nello make the offer to help if he believes it to be unnecessary?

    The answer, I believe, is that both he and his listener know it is necessary. The second sentence is either (1) a form of politeness, a way of letting his listener save face when asking for help, or (2) intended sarcastically, as a sly insult.
     

    palinurodimessico

    Senior Member
    México, Español
    Could it not be simply a mistake in the edition?

    I, Nello, am NOT your man

    However, the next sentence confirms that the person talking is indeed providing with help

    And, first of all, in the matter of your hair. That beard, my fine young man, must be parted with, were it as dear to you as the nymph of your dreams.
    Thanks,
     

    winklepicker

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    And if you want to be informed on such matters, I, Nello, am your man. It seems to me a thousand years till I can be of service to a bel erudito like yourself. And, first of all, in the matter of your hair. That beard, my fine young man, must be parted with, were it as dear to you as the nymph of your dreams...

    I think the highlighted phrase is actually being used to mean It seems as if I have waited thousand years to be of service...

    I have no evidence whatever for this view :) , other than a reading of the full context here.
     

    Ecossaise

    Senior Member
    English
    And if you want to be informed on such matters, I, Nello, am your man. It seems to me a thousand years till I can be of service to a bel erudito like yourself."

    Nello is being super-complimentary by calling the person to whom he is speaking "bel erudito" - so naturally he does not expect to be called on for information.
     
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