in <death-drops> for her


Senior Member
Hi there,

"A true gentleman in Kentucky would cheerfully die for a beautiful woman in Hindostan, though he never saw her. Yea, count down his heart in death-drops for her; and go to Pluto, that she might go to Paradise. He would turn Turk before he would disown an allegiance hereditary to all gentlemen, from the hour their Grand Master, Adam, first knelt to Eve."

The Project Gutenberg eBook of Pierre: or, The Ambiguities, by Herman Melville.

What does the underlined part mean? Does the sentence mean that let us count how much the man has sacrificed for a beautiful woman (even bleeding for her)? Then according to Pluto, the very wise man, who might judge that "she might go to Paradise."


  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The "true gentleman" is the subject of both main verbs ("count down" and "go") in the second sentence. I take "count down his heart in death-drops" to mean that in order to save the "beautiful woman" he would let his life flow out of him a drop at a time.