reflecting against the daylight without

nemo eve walle

Senior Member
chinese
The whole sentence is: A pair of eyes, luminous by reflecting against the daylight without, was watching me out of the darkness. I can't understand this sentence. What is meant by ''against'' in that sentence? And, why after the ''without'' is nothing? I suppose ''without'' is usually used in ''without a noun''.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Without" here means "outside". For the rest, you need to post your source and some context. We don't even know if the eyes were animal or human; it's difficult to envisage.
     

    nemo eve walle

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Well, one very hot morning—my fourth, I think—as I was seeking shelter from the heat and glare in a colossal ruin near the great house where I slept and fed, there happened this strange thing: Clambering among these heaps of masonry, I found a narrow gallery, whose end and side windows were blocked by fallen masses of stone. By contrast with the brilliancy outside, it seemed at first impenetrably dark to me. I entered it groping, for the change from light to blackness made spots of colour swim before me. Suddenly I halted spellbound. A pair of eyes, luminous by reflection against the daylight without, was watching me out of the darkness.
    From Time Machine.

    It is a little long.:) So, what is meant by ''against'' in the context (against the daylight without)?
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Sorry to be fussy, but which is the original?

    post#1: "A pair of eyes, luminous by reflecting against the daylight without, was watching me out of the darkness."
    post#3: "A pair of eyes, luminous by reflection against the daylight without, was watching me out of the darkness." <--- it's this one, isn't it?
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "Reflection [or reflecting] against the daylight" doesn't make sense to me. It would normally be "reflection of the daylight".

    Also, we'd normally say "a pair of eyes . . . were watching."
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I have a print edition of this book, and it has what nemo gave us in post #3: "reflection against the daylight without."

    All the editions I found in Google books have the same. The book was first published in 1895. Perhaps this was the way reflection was used then. Now, I would expect to be told something like "the reflection of daylight made the eyes luminous" or "daylight reflected by the eyes made them luminous."

    Added: I'm not certain we would use the plural 'were' with pair. See: a pair of shoes is/are?
     
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