depend on

gil12345

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,

One sentence from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen:
"All the little particulars of his proceedings and events, his arrivals and departures, were most promptly delivered, as he sat by Lady Bertram and looked with heartfelt satisfaction at the faces around him—interrupting himself more than once, however, to remark on his good fortune in findingthem all at home—coming unexpectedly as he did—all collected together exactly as he could have wished, but dared not depend on."

(Sir Thomas Bertram joined the memebers of his family after a departure.)

The underlined part means the hero was not sure about the reactions of his family members?

Gil
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    No, he was delighted that everything was exactly as he wanted if to be, and better than he could have hoped for. In modern terms, "he dared not depend on" = he wouldn't have risked making a bet on everything turning out so well.
     

    gil12345

    Senior Member
    chinese
    No, he was delighted that everything was exactly as he wanted if to be, and better than he could have hoped for. In modern terms, "he dared not depend on" = he wouldn't have risked making a bet on everything turning out so well.
    This is totally beyond me. You mean this kind of expression is no longer used?
    Thank you.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's still used, but more commonly in the phrase "dare to hope" or "dared to expect"
    The explorers were trapped on the ice, but their families dared to hope that they were still alive.
    The lighthouse survived for 100 years, which was 50 years more than the builders had dared to expect.

    "To dare" means "to risk", but this is a figurative use.
    "As he could have wished" = as he wanted
    "As he could have dared not to depend on" = as he could not have reasonably relied upon to happen.

    The passage is saying that everything turned out really well, and better than he could have hoped it would.
     
    Last edited:

    gil12345

    Senior Member
    chinese
    It's still used, but more commonly in the phrase "dare to hope" or "dared to expect"
    The explorers were trapped on the ice, but their families dared to hope that they were still alive.
    The lighthouse survived for 100 years, which was 50 years more than the builders had dared to expect.

    "To dare" means "to risk", but this is a figurative use.
    "As he could have wished" = as he wanted
    "As he could have dared not to depend on" = as he could not have reasonably relied upon to happen.

    The passage is saying that everyting turned out really well, and better than he could have hoped it would.
    Thank you for your amazing explanation.
     
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