,<dimly as> they saw each other, they could not have done that without the aid of the fire.

park sang joon

Senior Member
Korean
Miss Betsey is a great-aunt of the protagonist.

When she came to herself, or when Miss Betsey had restored her, whichever it was, she found the latter standing at the window. The twilight was by this time shading down into darkness, and, dimly as they saw each other, they could not have done that without the aid of the fire.
[David Copperfield by Charles Dickens]
I'd like to know if the underlined clause means "because they saw each other dimly" or "though they saw each other dimly."
Thank you in advance for your help.
 
  • srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I think that today it would be written "As dimly as they saw each other, they could not even have done that without the aid of the fire." As difficult as it was, it would have been even more difficult without the fire.

    I don't know how to explain "as ... as" except to say it is a formula used to gauge something: It was as difficult to see as it would have been by moonlight.

    Edit: They saw each other as dimly as if it had been by moonlight. As dimly as that was, it was only the firelight that made it possible at all. (There's nothing about moonlight in your quote. I'm just reaching for ways to make the idea understandable.)
     
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