the nature of the malady forbidding delay


Senior Member
The context comes from Jane Eyre Chapter 9

....The few who continued well were allowed almost unlimited license; because the medical attendant insisted on the necessity of frequent exercise to keep them in health: and had it been otherwise, no one had leisure to watch or restrain them. Miss Temple's whole attention was absorbed by the patients: she lived in the sick-room, never quitting it except to snatch a few hours' rest at night. The teachers were fully occupied with packing up and making other necessary preparations for the departure of those girls who were fortunate enough to have friends and relations able and willing to remove them from the seat of contagion. Many, already smitten, went home only to die: some died at the school, and were buried quietly and quickly, the nature of the malady forbidding delay.
Hi everyone! I don't qutie understand "the nature of the malady forbidding delay" here. I interpret it as "Because of the nature of the malady, the students must evacuate the affected area as soon as possible (i.e., before they receive the disease), otherwise they are destined to die". Is it correct?
  • dijwelch

    New Member
    English- United States
    Because of the nature of the malady, (typhus or typhoid fever) there could be no delay between the girls dying and being buried. Having many dead bodies at the school or being shipped home o families for burial would spread infection and cause more death.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Buried quietly and quickly" - they had to be buried quickly before the dead bodies could infect others. It was a highly-contagious disease. I don't see any other reason for burying them quickly.


    Senior Member
    I'd say I can't get the idea on my own.
    The relevant part of the sentence is: were buried quietly and quickly, the nature of the malady forbidding delay.

    That means they were buried quickly because the nature of the malady forbade delay.

    "Forbidding delay" is therefore to be read in the context of the act that was done quickly - burial. Burial could not be delayed.
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