preserving a friendly face towards every beast which influenced their poorer neighbours

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chong lee

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

Am I missing something because I did not get the logic between money and preserving a friendly face at the last sentence.

Could you help about that.


Eustacia was reserved, and lived very much to herself. Except the daughter of one of the cotters, who was their servant, and a lad who worked in the garden and stable, scarcely anyone but themselves ever entered the house. They were the only genteel people of the district except the Yeobrights, and though far from rich, they did not feel that necessity for preserving a friendly face towards every man, bird, and beast which influenced their poorer neighbours.
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Hello, chong lee.

    The poorer people might come under other people's power, or they might need help from other people, so they had to be nice to everyone -- they had to smile and look friendly at everyone. The Yeobrights, having more money, wouldn't need anything from anyone and weren't people whom anyone else would have power over. (Or that's what they thought.) For that reason, they didn't have to smile in a friendly way at other people.

    (The phrase 'man, bird, and beast' is an exaggeration, to emphasize that the poor people had to be nice to everyone, no matter how unworthy. This sentence is written to reflect the way the Yeobrights thought about the poor people and their situation.)

    I haven't read the book, but I think that there is a good chance that the Yeobrights will find out that they are wrong about this.
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