but that I should either be in the king of France's dominions

enkidu68

Senior Member
turkish
Hi folks, it is coming from Colonel Jack by Defoe.
My question is the bold one. Since passing is one of difficult things, what is that he compares with each other?
"either be inside of France King's dominions or be captured by..."
Anyone help?

I passed the Maine the next day at night, at Chalons, and came safe into the Duke of Lorraine's dominions the third day, where I rested one day only to
consider what course to take; for it was still a most difficult thing to pass any way, but that I should either be in the king of France's dominions or be taken by the French allies as a subject of France
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'But' has its 'except' meaning. It was difficult to go by any (safe) way - there were few ways available, except those that went through France and those that would lead to him being captured.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think the OED definition of BUT that applies here is this one:
    14. Introducing an inevitable accompanying circumstance or result: So that……not. Now generally expressed by without and gerund: ‘you cannot look but you will see it’, i.e. without seeing it. Formerly sometimes but that.

    If so, then a modern paraphrase would be:
    … for it was still a most difficult thing to pass any way, without either being in the king of France's dominions or being taken by the French allies as a subject of France
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    No, because historically the King of France did not exercise direct control over most of what was termed "the kingdom of France." In fact, for long periods of time the King of France was not even the most powerful nobleman in France.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Perhaps it means territories that were under his sovereignty or jurisdiction but were not technically part of his kingdom? (I’m guessing here!)

    cross-posted
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    the dominions of the king of France = the king of France’s dominions

    They both mean exactly the same and are both correct ways of saying it.
     
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