to liberate a bondman

mO_ok

Senior Member
Lithuanian
Hello,

I do not quite grasp the meaning of the phrase from 'Gently Down the Stream' by Alan Hunter:

Mrs Lammas had no intention of either losing or being lost by her husband. A love affair
was all very well while it remained a gay flourish to the pattern of life. It was not very well when it threatened
to disrupt that pattern, to demolish reputations, to liberate a bondman.

The situation in question involves no servants so I'm at a loss. Is it a metaphor or a reference of some kind?
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I suppose the phrase hinges on the perception that we are all slaves in life - dependent upon our own routines, habits and conveniences. All predictability is lost when the bondman inside you breaks the chains of bondage.

    Just my first thoughts after reading it...
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Yes, a bondman is a slave. She doesn't want to run the risk of being liberated.

    She thinks it's dangerous for either her or her husband to get too involved with someone else, which would cause disruption and destroy reputations (hers and/or his, or a third party's?) and liberate whichever of them regards him/her-self as a "bondman". It might be the husband, who, for all we know, is straining at the leash. If she herself breaks up the marriage, she would be setting her husband free.


    Spmething must have happened to set off Mrs Lammas' train of thought. I haven't read the book.
    It may well be as boozer says, but we can't really know. I think we're all agreed it's a metaphor, since there are no slaves or serfs in the story.

    As for possible references, perhaps this from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar:

    So every bondman in his own hand bears
    The power to cancel his captivity.

     

    mO_ok

    Senior Member
    Lithuanian
    Spmething must have happened to set off Mrs Lammas' train of thought. I haven't read the book.
    I have read the book but still have no idea what that might be. Thank you for the reference to Shakespeare - that adds more support for the interpretation!^_^
     
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