the fashionable turns of speech which would have suggested the habit of intercourse with distinctly metropolitan society

Tea Addict

Senior Member
Republic of Korea Korean
Hello everyone. I would like to know what "the fashionable turns of speech which would have suggested the habit of intercourse with distinctly metropolitan society" means in the following sentences:

"The three girls began to converse together, perforce of trivialities. Marian Yule spoke in rather slow tones, thoughtfully, gently; she had linked her fingers, and laid her hands, palms downwards, upon her lap—a nervous action. Her accent was pure, unpretentious; and she used none of the fashionable turns of speech which would have suggested the habit of intercourse with distinctly metropolitan society."

- George Gissing, New Grub Street, Chapter 2

In this novel which is first published in 1891 in the United Kingdom, the Milvains visited Marian Yule's house. Maud and Dora, two daughters of the Milvains, spoke with Marian. And marian didn't use "the fashionable turns of speech which would have suggested the habit of intercourse with distinctly metropolitan society."

In this part, by "the habit of intercourse with distinctly metropolitan society," does it mean that Marian actually usually spoke with distinctly metropolitan society, or that she did not usually spoke with them?
In other words, did she actually have the habit of speaking with them?

Also, what does it mean by "distinctly" metropolitan society?
Does it mean that they were dressed such fashionably that anyone would know at first glance that they were of a metropolitan society?

I would very much appreciate your help. :)
 
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  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hullo TA. From this extract we can't be sure if she did or she didn't habitually mingle with metropolitan society: we only know that she didn't talk like them. Distinctly metropolitan society = 'society that was obviously metropolitan' :)
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear ewie,

    Thank you very much for the explanation.
    Actually, there is no reference that Marian talked with "distinctly metropolitan society"; it is only described that she lived in London, and that she had many opportunities to talk with them, except her poverty frequently prohibited her from doing so.
    From this description, would it be safe to induce that Marian often talked with them, and hence "the habit" of intercourse...?
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    If she lived in poverty, it's most probable that she never mingled with metropolitan society.
    If she did mingle with them, she'd have the habit.
    But she didn't have the habit.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear ewie,

    Oh, now I think I see the point.
    If she mingled with such a society, she'd have the habit, but the thing is she didn't have it, so it is very likely that she never mingled with them.
    Thank you very much for the explanation. :)
     
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