But à la guerre comme à la guerre

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(the last sentence, page 287, chapter 13) by Lawrence (planetebook,here):

There was a half-moon shining, enough to make a little light in the world, not enough to show her up in her dark-grey coat. She walked quickly across the park, not really in the thrill of the assignation约会, but with a certain anger and rebellion burning in her heart. It was not the right sort of heart to take to a love-meeting. But à la guerre comme à la guerre!

What does the last sentence mean please? I can feel most of the words come from French. And why did Lawrence sometimes use French? To make his novel more interesting?
Thank you in advance
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    There is a previous thread, which you might find helpful, in the French-English vocabulary forum - mostly in English - à la guerre comme à la guerre
    Lawrence wrote at a time when a public sign of a good education was to drop foreign language aphorisms into conversation and writing - mostly French and Latin.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    But à la guerre comme à la guerre!

    It's all French except the word 'But'.
    We often use French expressions when there's no exact English equivalent. There are two rather different meanings of this one.
    The first is that when you are in trouble you do whatever you must to deal with it. Sometimes the equivalent English expression is "All's fair in love and war" or "The end justifies the means".
    It can also be used to express the idea that however unsatisfactory a situation is you just have to get on with it. We also have a saying 'Needs must!', and another 'You have to do what you have to do'.
    Even more colloquial is 'Too bad!'

    For people who know the expression, all these notions ideas come to mind and we don't bother to dissect it, so here, you will have to decide which is better for Connie's situation.

    DHL tells us that she isn't happy about going to see her lover in such an angry state of mind. She might have said to herself 'That's too bad! I am going to see Mellors anyway, whether it's the right thing to do or not'.

    Edited to correct name to 'Mellors', not 'Morel'.
     
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