Green Bay Tree

narajan

Senior Member
persian
Please tell me what is the meaning of "green bay trees" in these sentences. It is in a detective story by Agatha Christie:
But you can't have him a pansy. Not for this sort of play. I mean it's not green bay trees or anything like that. it's thrills and murders and clean open-air effect.
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think the person talking is explaining the sort of play it is: he doesn't want the person to be effete, because the play isn't concerned with flowers and trees and woods and romantic settings.
     

    pickarooney

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I think it should be read as green bay-trees (the ones that yield bay leaves) as opposed to green-bay trees (trees from Wisconsin), in case you weren't clear on that.
     

    Zsuzsu

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Hi there,

    It's just a faint idea but can't this "green bay trees" be a reference to the novel written by Louis Bromfield (The Green Bay Tree). And whoever the speaker is, states that the play is not similar to Bromfield's novel and its kind, because it contains "thrills and murders".
     

    pickarooney

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    If this story was written after 1924 I suppose it's possible.
    Apparently the green bay tree is a symbol of wealth and wickedness, two staples of Agatha Christie novels.
     

    pickarooney

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    Found on the Spanish forum here, a quote from Poirot ("The Mystery of the Hunter's Lodge):

    POIROT: "...but to bring that precious pair to justice, that is another matter. Well, Japp must do what he can but I very much fear, Hastings, that we shall be obligued to leave them to Fate, or le bon Dieu, whichever you prefer."

    HASTINGS: "The wicked flourish like a green bay tree."

    POIROT: "But at a price, Hastings, always at a price, croyez-moi!"
    The part in bold paraphrases the bible (book of psalms).
    I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
    edit: Christie used the simile again in the story "The Chocolate Box".

    She closed her eyes for a moment. 'You cannot conceive, monsieur, of my agony, my despair. What was I to do? Denounce him to the police? I could not bring myself to do it. It was my duty, but my flesh was weak. Besides, would they believe me? My eyesight had been failing for some time - they would say I was mistaken. I kept silence. But my conscience gave me no peace. By keeping silence I too was a murderer. My son inherited his wife's money. He flourished as the green bay tree. And now he was to have a Minister's portfolio.
     
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