we've <deserved well of the state>

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park sang joon

Senior Member
Child-bearing, hard work, and constant anxiety were beginning to tell on Mrs. Athelny; and sometimes her back ached in the evening so that she had to sit down and rest herself. Her ideal of happiness was to have a girl to do the rough work so that she need not herself get up before seven. Athelny waved his beautiful white hand.
"Ah, my Betty, we've deserved well of the state, you and I.~'
[Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham]
I'd like to know what "deserve well of the state" means.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Last edited:
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The meaning is closer to "from". This is an old-fashioned locution.

    He deserved well for his services to the state. He deserved well of/from the state.

    He therefore reminded them that he deserved well for his past services to Rome.
    (Page 39) The Army in the Roman Revolution
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