trode the old track with stupid exactness not to deviate an inch from the beaten centre

Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
The context comes from Jane Eyre Chapter 15

"And, Miss Eyre, so much was I flattered by this preference of the Gallic sylph for her British gnome, that I installed her in an hotel; gave her a complete establishment of servants, a carriage, cashmeres, diamonds, dentelles, &c. In short, I began the process of ruining myself in the received style, like any other spoony. I had not, it seems, the originality to chalk out a new road to shame and destruction, but trode the old track with stupid exactness not to deviate an inch from the beaten centre. I had--as I deserved to have--the fate of all other spoonies.
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Hi everyone! I don't quite understand the bold part. the expression of "beaten centre" associates me with "heartbeat". So I guess "beaten center" is a metaphor for "heart, which generates emotion". So I guess the part essentially means "but like previous generations of spooies, I strictly and stupidly follow my passion (to her)". Is it correct?
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    As romantic as the book is, it has nothing to do with hearts...:)

    I had not, it seems, the originality to chalk out a new road to shame and destruction, but trode the old track with stupid exactness not to deviate an inch from the beaten centre.

    I had not, it seems, the originality to chalk out a new road to shame and destruction, but trode (pp of to tread, i.e. trod) the old path with stupid exactness [so as] not to deviate an inch from the flattened area of the path that everyone else had trodden.

    Currently = It seems that I had not headed towards shame and destruction in any new or original way - however, with a precise stupidity, I had followed the same route as everyone else.
     
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