she must <start> and fret

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longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi, happy new year to you
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 387, chapter 17) by Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Connie was in Venice, in a stupor of happiness. Then she received a letter from Clifford, saying he envied the sun there.……")

This news affected Connie (who was) in her state of semi-stupefied well-being with vexation amounting to exasperation. Now she had got to be bothered by that beast of a woman! Now she must start and fret! She had no letter from Mellors.

I feel start means startle/shock, rather than begin. Is that right please
Thank you in advance
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I hear an echo of this, from John Keats:

    There hangs by unseen film, an orbed drop
    Of light, and that is love: its influence,
    Thrown in our eyes, genders a novel sense,
    At which we start and fret; till in the end,
    Melting into its radiance, we blend,

    32. Endymion. Keats, John. 1884. The Poetical Works of John Keats

    I think it must mean that "we are startled and agitated by it".

    Edit: The phrase "start and fret" makes me think of a nervous horse. Constance is feeling vexed that her husband has forced her out of her pleasant lethargy.
     
    Last edited:

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thanks a lot. Both are reasonable.:) But I tend to accept velisarius', because I feel it fits the context more
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think Barque's interpretation fits the context very well too, with a different meaning. The difference in meaning is rather slight.

    I think my explanation is better :cool:;) because it doesn't require us to explain away the odd grammar if "start and fuss" means "start to fuss".
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    On second thoughts, this may well be an old-fashioned/regional usage, because DHL also used a similar construction with "start and + infinitive" here, where it means "start to live" or "start living":

    Now let us start and live by ourselves.
    Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
     
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