visitors patronized canvas alone for resting

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Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
Greenhill was the Nijni Novgorod of South Wessex; and the busiest, merriest, noisiest day of the whole statute number was the day of the sheep fair. [...] A few permanent erections dotted the spot, but the majority of visitors patronized canvas alone for resting and feeding under during the time of their sojourn here.
(T. Hardy; Far from the Madding Crowd)

Would you be so kind as to tell me whether it means 'the majority of visitors patronized only canvas'?

  • Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    In context, it seems that there are many tents set up for food and/or drink and resting, as well as the few permanent buildings. "Canvas" in this context means "tents", so yes: "patronized canvas alone" means "patronized only canvas (tents)". :)
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