rust and cramp

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gil12345

Senior Member
chinese
Hi there,

What confuses me is the phrase in the following sentences from The Professor by Charlotte Bronte.

"The thing itself--the work of copying and translating business-letters--was a dry and tedious task enough, but had that been all, I should long have borne with the nuisance; I am not of an impatient nature, and influenced by the double desire of getting my living and justifying to myself and others the resolution I had taken to become a tradesman, I should have endured in silence the rust and cramp of my best faculties;..."

My best guess is that the phrase means "the strength." But if so, should we put a "with" between "silence" and "the rust and cramp"?

Thank

Gil
 
  • fiercediva

    Senior Member
    American English
    William Crimsworth, well-educated and intelligent, has a job that does not utilize his full intellectual talents; he's reduced to doing something rote and boring to make a living. Thus, he feels as though his "best faculties" -- his talents and abilities -- are rusting and cramping. When metal objects are neglected they rust with age and become useless; when muscles are underutilized, they cramp.

    "...I should have endured in silence the rust and [the] cramp of my best faculties" means that Crimsworth should have suffered doing work that made his talents atrophy from neglect without complaining.
     
    Last edited:

    gil12345

    Senior Member
    chinese
    William Crimsworth, well-educated and intelligent, has a job that does not utilize his full intellectual talents; he's reduced to doing something rote and boring to make a living. Thus, he feels as though his "best faculties" -- his talents and abilities -- are rusting and cramping. When metal objects are neglected they rust with age and become useless; when muscles are underutilized, they cramp.

    "...I should have endured in silence the rust and [the] cramp of my best faculties" means that Crimsworth should have suffered doing work that made his talents atrophy from neglect without complaining.
    Thanks a lot. Very helpful. But should we put a "with"?
     

    fiercediva

    Senior Member
    American English
    Thanks a lot. Very helpful. But should we put a "with"?
    No, rust and cramp are the objects of the transitive verb "endure." You could say "I should have put up with the rusting and cramping of my best faculties in silence" if you were writing in a more contemporary fashion than Bronte's Victorian BE, but "endure" encapsulates the concept of "putting up with" an ongoing condition. You endure a cough; you don't endure with a cough.
     
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