He flourished the sword by way of introduction number two

SuprunP

Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
'Now,' said Troy, producing the sword, which, as he raised it into the sunlight, gleamed a sort of greeting, like a living thing; 'first, we have four right and four left cuts; four right and four left thrusts. [...] Well, next, our cut one is as if you were sowing your corn - so.' [...] 'Cut two, as if you were hedging - so.'
[...]
He flourished the sword by way of introduction number two, and the next thing of which she was conscious was that the point and blade of the sword were darting with a gleam towards her left side, just above her hip; then of their reappearance on her right side, emerging as it were from between her ribs, having apparently passed through her body.
(T. Hardy; Far from the Madding Crowd)

Would you be so kind as to tell me whether it should be read as 'He flourished the sword (by way of introduction) number two' meaning 'He exhibited the cut number two, which served as introduction'?

Thanks.
 
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  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I am not sure.
    Introduction number two sounds like 'the second introduction'.

    I am not sure what to deem the first introduction.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I think that "introduction No. 1" was producing the sword, and "introduction No.2" was flourishing it.
    On linguistic grounds, I agree with this. The phrase 'number two' can only be an adjectival phrase qualifying the noun 'introduction' which it immediately follows. I think this is the only grammatically valid way of reading the sentence, and the semantic sense has to be made to fit that.
     
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