'At the time I speak of, <as> the time when Papa spoke to me, he had~'

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park sang joon

Senior Member
The narrator recalls his adolescence.
He is beginning a new life as an apprentice in Doctors' Commons at London.
He visited his old friend Agnes's lodging at her invitation after work.
Now She talks to him about a certain change of relationship between a lawyer her farther and his apprentice Uriah.

"At the time I speak of, as the time when Papa spoke to me," pursued Agnes, "he had told Papa that he was going away, that he was very sorry and unwilling to leave, but that he had better prospects. Papa was very much depressed then, and more bowed down by care than ever you or I have seen him, but he seemed relieved by this expedient of the partnership, though at the same time he seemed hurt by it and ashamed of it."
"And how did you receive it, Agnes?"
"I did, Trotwood," she replied, "what I hope was right.~"
[David Copperfield by Charles Dickens]
I think "as" means "at" or "when" here.
If so, I'd like to know if "as" is a conjunction or a preposition.
Thank you in advance for your help.
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "as" starts (and is part of) the phrase "as the time when Papa spoke to me". So it looks like a preposition to me.

    I think Agnes is saying that "the time I speak of" is the same as "the time when Papa spoke to me". But I'm not sure. My 1890 American English is excellent, but my 1849 British English is weak.
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