In their chastened smile is an indulgent mockery.

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thetazuo

Senior Member
Chinese - China
Of their elders some, by imitating the antics of youth, strive to persuade themselves that their day is not yet over; they shout with the lustiest but the war-cry sounds hollow in their mouth; they are like poor wantons attempting with pencil, paint, and powder, with shrill gaiety, to recover the illusion of their spring. The wiser go their way with a decent grace. In their chastened smile is an indulgent mockery. They remember that they too trod down a sated generation, with just such clamour and with just such scorn, and they foresee that these brave torchbearers will presently yield their place also.

Excerpt from
The Moon and Sixpence
W Somerset Maugham

Hi. "their" refers to the younger generation.
What does the bold sentence mean? Does it mean "The wiser old people mock other old people who imitate the antics of youth accommodatingly under the guise of innocent smile"?
Thank you.

Please also check the coloured words. Do I interpret them correctly?
 
  • Re indulgent: 'accommodatingly' is not bad, but it's a big word. 'indulgent' means that the younger generation is not being dealt with unkindly, allowing them to be as is. 'gentle' or even 'kind' (at least 'not unkind') might work for 'indulgent'.

    Re 'innocent'. It is not so good. The idea is that the smile is restrained because the person is wiser (and also doesn't want to be too hard with those criticized).
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Many thanks, bennymix.
    So the wiser old people are mocking the younger generation, not other old people who imitate the antics of youth, right?
     
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