such the cares to alloy, to fill the vacancies where there were no habits of utility abroad,

spacehoe

New Member
English
Such were Elizabeth Elliot’s sentiments and sensations; such the cares to alloy, the agitations to vary, the sameness and the elegance, the prosperity and the nothingness, of her scene of life—such the feelings to give interest to a long, uneventful residence in one country circle, to fill the vacancies where there were no habits of utility abroad, no talents or accomplishments for home, to occupy.
Source: Persuasion by Jane Austen
Can somebody tell me what do the underlined phrases imply?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Can somebody tell me what do the underlined phrases imply?
    They imply that Elizabeth Elliot was preoccupied by her feelings.

    to alloy: BE /əˈlɔɪ/, AE /ˈæˌlɔɪ/, /əˈlɔɪ/ -> to diminish, to lessen (by adding something else, e.g. pleasures)

    to fill the vacancies where there were no habits of utility abroad = to fill the empty time when there were useful things that she would normally do available
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I see it differently, but I'm not quite sure of what is meant.

    Elizabeth had nothing else to occupy her mind at that time, so she tended to dwell obsessively on her personal problems (she had to make a suitable marriage very soon). These cares (problems) could not be solved, only alloyed (made worse) and her agitations could be varied but not calmed. It does happen that, the more we obsess over something we can't resolve, the bigger our problems seem to us.

    "Alloy" at that time usually meant "spoiled", as with a precious metal that is spoiled by being mixed with a baser metal.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top