to be least plainly seen was to be most prettily remembered

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SuprunP

Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
The great aids to idealization in love were present here: occasional observation of her from a distance, and the absence of social intercourse with her - visual familiarity, oral strangeness. The smaller human elements were kept out of sight; the pettinesses that enter so largely into all earthly living and doing were disguised by the accident of lover and loved-one not being on visiting terms; and there was hardly awakened a thought in Boldwood that sorry household realities appertained to her, or that she, like all others, had moments of commonplace, when to be least plainly seen was to be most prettily remembered.
(Far from the Madding Crowd; T. Hardy)

Would you be so kind as to paraphrase it a bit so that even I could understand what exactly the part in bold should mean?

Thanks.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'd say that there's an elided "and" there: "and there was hardly awakened ...and when to be least plainly seen..."

    The observation of her at a distance, when she is less plainly seen, makes him remember her in a very favourable light.
     

    AsifAkheir

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Her defects were hidden by occasional fleeting contact at a distance, and thereby was perceived to be prettier than she was, both physically and in her character. (Man, that was hard! I am so glad I was never forced to read Thomas Hardy in school!)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'd say that there's an elided "and" there: "and there was hardly awakened ...and when to be least plainly seen..."
    I'm sorry Suprun, I hadn't read carefully enough when I wrote the above. I've changed my mind.

    Boldwood hardly had occasion to imagine her performing mundane household duties, or to imagine that there were times when she could be perfectly ordinary, times when the less clearly she was seen, the better the impression that was left on him.
     
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