not to betray too green

arietenata

Senior Member
italian
Hi there,

" What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate. Self-emancipation even in the West Indian provinces of the fancy and imagination—what Wilberforce is there to bring that about? Think, also, of the ladies of the land weaving toilet cushions against the last day, not to betray too green an interest in their fates! As if you could kill time without injuring eternity."
Walden

Do I interpret this right?

It means that these women by dedicating their times to such an unimportant job, weaving toilet cushions, show that they are not that immature to betray to their fates by losing such an interest.

Is it right?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It's puzzling, but I'd say it could be paraphrased as:
    ...so as not to show too a lively interest in what will become of them! It is implied that if they were to show a lively interest in their fate they would be condemned by society.

    :oops:Edit: Apologies for my sloppy posting :(and thanks to the Newt for pointing it out:).
    That should read:...so as not to show too lively an interest...
     
    Last edited:

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    As a side note, please note that the word "toilet" as used here has nothing whatsoever to do with modern plumbing fixtures!
     

    arietenata

    Senior Member
    italian
    As a side note, please note that the word "toilet" as used here has nothing whatsoever to do with modern plumbing fixtures!
    Oh!! Really?!!!!
    Because I thought this is talking about a special kind of cushions which are used for covering toilet seat!!
    Is it something else?
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    It is absolutely something else!!!! Modern toilets were not common in New England in 1854. Toilet here means a dressing table, like this:
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It's puzzling, but I'd say it could be paraphrased as:
    ...so as not to show too a lively interest in what will become of them! It is implied that if they were to show a lively interest in their fate they would be condemned by society.
    Or "too lively an interest."
     
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