It anyhow has a prettiness and a loneliness, but they are legion

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longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 414, chapter 18) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Mellors told Connie he wanted to shoot all the Mellors and Berthas. But Connie said he wouldn't. Then Mellors continued..…)

‘I would though! and with less qualms than I shoot a weasel. It anyhow has a prettiness and a loneliness, but they are legion. Oh, I’d shoot them.’

The blue sentence is confusing to me. Now I rephrase it as: a weasel(=it) at least(=anyhow) has a beauty(=prettiness) and a loneliness, but they(=the Cliffords and Berthas) are numerous(=legion).
And legion(implying so many as to be ugly) is opposite to prettiness and loneliness(implying few). That's why Mellors used but to show the adversative relation of the two clauses.

How should I understand this sentence please?
Thank you in advance
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I agree with everything, except "legion" -> your "numerous(=legion)" is half correct - it is "numerous in a negative sense" -> an infestation [of evil creatures].

    The word "legion" in this sense, entered the English language through the Bible in which the main character, Jesus, cures a man who was mentally ill.

    Jesus diagnoses that there are many evil spirits inside the man and asks the man his name: the Bible then says:
    "And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many." -> Here, the evil spirits were talking, not the man. :) Anyway, Jesus cures him. But "legion" = numerous evil spirits (or anything else that is unpleasant.)
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Wow. No Chinese version of this novel collect the meaning. Really great. I will insert your explanation as a footnote. Thank you very much:thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
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