though it was his trees that <were falling> for trench props

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 11, Chapter One) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Emma was Clifford's younger sister……)

When Miss Chatterley--Emma--came down to London from the Midlands to do some nursing work, she was very witty in a quiet way about Sir Geoffrey and his determined patriotism. Herbert, the elder brother and heir, laughed outright, though it was his trees that were falling for trench props. But Clifford only smiled a little uneasily.

The blue sentence is quite difficult to me.
How should I understand this sentence please?
I rephrase it this way: Herbert laughed (at his father) openly(=outright), though it was his father's(=his) trees that were going to fall down(=were falling) for trench props.

Thank you in advance
 
Last edited:
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    ' ... his trees were being cut down ..." replaces 'were falling' which is the same idea differently expressed.

    Trees 'fall' when they are cut down. So do men when they are killed in battle. Perhaps that's why Lawrence used 'falling' rather than 'being cut down'.
    (By the way, his trees would normally have been used as pit props in his mines. Presumably you know what 'trench props' are.)
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    But there were three heirs:Clifford, Herbert, and their sisster.
    So the trees are likely to Clifford's, and the sister's as well
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    The first-born son is the heir to a baronetcy and the family estate. Clifford inherited after his older brother's death. The girl even if she had been first-born couldn't inherit the title or family estates.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    :) I see that the daughter was 'ten years older' than Clifford I think, so maybe she really was the first-born. Herbert, killed in 1916, was the elder son and Clifford the second eldest son but the youngest child.
    Having three children in ten years is a common birth order.
    British law was changed recently so that a first-born regardless of sex inherits the throne.
     
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