heart lay by keen observation

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chong lee

Senior Member
türkçe
Hi,
The quote is from The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy.
The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy

What does it mean "....heart lay by keen observation..." ? Thank you.


Who was she that he danced with?
[...]
To dance with a man is to concentrate a twelvemonth's regulation fire upon him in the fragment of an hour. To pass to courtship without acquaintance, to pass to marriage without courtship, is a skipping of terms reserved for those alone who tread this royal road. She would see how his heart lay by keen observation of them all.
 
  • chong lee

    Senior Member
    türkçe
    So it becomes :
    ... how he truly felt by keen observation of them all.

    Still I did not get Hardy's point here?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think it means that Eustacia was going to watch all (the other women) closely, to see which of them he might be fond of or paying more attention to.

    "All" may mean all of them: the man she was interested, as well as the women he might have been paying attention to and dancing with.
     

    chong lee

    Senior Member
    türkçe
    Does Hardy criticize with "Topass to courtship without acquaintance, to pass to marriage without courtship" ?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    A very good point, chong. I'm not sure what Hardy means by "observation". If it means that she will observe or "follow" these steps, then the sentence might mean that Eustacia is prepared to "tread the royal road" and follow such a hasty pattern herself.

    I'm not at all happy with my interpretation in #4, and put it out in the hopes that others would have better suggestions. I've read the novel, but I don't recall the details of this episode.
     
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