read Earnshaw, 20 times *for* Linton. (Wuthering Heights)

OED Loves Me Not

Senior Member
Japanese - Osaka
Hi, dear language lovers! It was just yesterday that I signed up for
your forum. I'm reading Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" and it
contains numerous words and phrases I find it hard to understand
even with the help of huge dictionaries and Internet sources.

Before asking my actual question, allow me to quote two short fragments
from the novel:

(1) Text from "Wuthering Heights":
"Catherine Linton," it (= the voice) replied, shiveringly. (why did I
think of Linton? I had read Earnshaw, twenty times forLinton.
("Wuthering Heights," Emily Bronte, Chapter 3; Everyman's Library, p.27)

(The whole text is available from Project Gutenberg. But, as a new member,
I'm not allowed to post the link here.)

Several pages before the above paragraph, the following paragraph

(2) Text from the novel:
This writing, however, was nothing but a name repeated in all kinds of
characters, large and small -- Catherine Earnshaw; here and there
varied to Catherine Heathcliff, and then again to Catherine Linton.
("Wuthering Heights," toward the beginning of Chapter 3, Everyman's Library, p.20)


Here's my real question:

(Q1) What does the word "for" in the text (1) mean?
(I quote the relevant fragment again:
I had read Earnshaw, twenty times for Linton.)

(Q2) Does this sentence containing the word "for" by any chance mean
the following?
"I had read Earnshaw twenty times as often as I had read Linton."

(Q3) Is this kind of expression common in today's English? Or was it common
in the 19th century, when the novel was published?

Sorry for my lengthy question. I just wanted to be accurate and precise in the wording
of my question. I also wanted to give you as much background information as possible.

Thank you, everybody!
  • theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    'For' here means 'instead of'.
    Actually, in the context I think it means what OEDLMN guesses in Q2: "I had read Earnshaw twenty times as often as I had read Linton." The speaker thinks he (if I'm remembering correctly) is dreaming when he hears the voice say "Catherine Linton," and he wonders why his mind would produce this name when he'd read "Catherine Earnshaw" far more often. Of course, the idea is supposed to be that it may have been a ghost, and so not a dream produced by his mind at all.

    The way I understand it is like this: "I had read Earnshaw twenty times for [each time I had read] Linton."

    As to whether this is common modern usage or more characteristic of the 19th century, I can only say it's not an expression I would use. I suspect it's less in use now, but I couldn't speak for BE, especially regional use.


    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    It is not used like this in modern BE either. In modern English you could say "20 times for every Linton" to convey this meaning.
    < Previous | Next >