Wuthering Heights - case ... resembling coach windows

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nanami

Member
chinese
Dear all,

When I read wuthering heights, I found

The whole furniture consisted of a chair, a clothes-press, and a large oak case, with squares cut out near the top resembling coach windows.
But, have no idea of "resembling coach windows"? what is it?

Thanks for your explaination in advance.

Nanami
 
  • Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Like the windows in a horse-drawn carriage, I think. (Horse-drawn means pulled by a horse.)
     

    nanami

    Member
    chinese
    So in this sentence the "squares" are the "coach windows"?

    I nearly misundertand it as kind of closet in the wall. Thanks
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I believe a clothes-press is similar to what is also called an "armoire." It is a stand-alone piece of furniture where one can arrange one's clothing; similar to THIS.

    As for the oak case, the author describes that there are large squares carved into it. These squares resemble the shape of coach windows, as KellyB described.
     

    nanami

    Member
    chinese
    I used to think "clothes-press" as "ironing board" on which people press there clothes with an iron. What a mistake I made.

    Thanks both of you.
     

    nanami

    Member
    chinese
    Dear all,

    But when I read on,

    Having approached this structure, I looked inside, and perceived it to be a singular sort of old- fashioned couch, very conveniently designed to obviate the necessity for every member of the family having a room to himself. In fact, it formed a little closet, and the ledge of a window, which it enclosed, served as a table.
    I thought I am totally puzzled. If the "resembling coach windows" are on the "oak case", then what is the "old-fashioned couch", and what "formed a little closet"? how can the "ledge of a window" "served as a table"?

    Please help me to clarify. Thanks
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    ... and a large oak case, with squares cut out near the top resembling coach windows. Having approached this structure, I looked inside, and perceived it to be a singular sort of old- fashioned couch, very conveniently designed to obviate the necessity for every member of the family having a room to himself. In fact, it formed a little closet, and the ledge of a window, which it enclosed, served as a table.

    It seems that this is like a room within a room.
    A closet in this sense is a small room, a private room, an inner room.
    She can see what looks like a wooden screen, with the square holes at the top that look like windows.
    The screen encloses a place to sit and a window.
    The window is in a very thick wall. It is at the back of a deep recess in the wall and there is a very substantial window ledge that can serve as a table.
    The screen can be closed around this area, creating a private space.

    It reminds me, slightly, of the study carrels in the old libraries. One of those by a window with a bit of soft seating instead of a study chair would be exactly how I see this:)
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    nanami said:
    Dear all,

    But when I read on,



    I thought I am totally puzzled. If the "resembling coach windows" are on the "oak case", then what is the "old-fashioned couch", and what "formed a little closet"? how can the "ledge of a window" "served as a table"?

    Please help me to clarify. Thanks
    Have you tried dictionary.reference.com?

    Bear in mind that some of these meanings you ask about in WR are obsolete or at least less common. Therefore, when you look up one of this author's words, you need to make sure you identify the meaning it had for her 180 years ago.

    An obvious example is 'couch'. In modern use, this is a synonym for 'sofa', but obviously in this book it is a synonym for 'closet' (I am totally unfamiliar with this). There is a little used verb, 'couch', whose meaning seems to correspond to that of the noun in question, which describes some sort of enclosure.

    To many of us 'coach' in an old context evokes a horse drawn vehicle. In modern parlance, it is a legal term for 'bus'. dictionary.reference.com seems to have most of the old fashioned and obsolete meanings of words.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    DaleC said:
    An obvious example is 'couch'. In modern use, this is a synonym for 'sofa', but obviously in this book it is a synonym for 'closet' (I am totally unfamiliar with this).
    A couch has been some variant of what we think of as a couch since 1340. As said above, a closet was a small room.

    Back to the imagination.
    An oak-panelled casing encloses a portion of the room, forming a closet - a room within a room.
    High up on the oak-panelled casing of the closet are rectangular holes that look like the windows of a coach.
    Within the closet there is a frame or structure on which to lie down and rest, or to sleep - a bed - a couch.
    On the very thick outside wall (several feet thick) there is a window. The bottom part of the window recess is so deep and wide that it can serve as a table.

    I expect that if you haven't seen the kind of enclosed cased beds that were very common in old, cold houses, it is difficult to imagine what this would look like. In one of those beds, closets, whatever, you could climb in, close the curtains - or indeed doors - and be in a small world of your own. Very convenient in a one-room house with a family of twelve.

    DaleC said:
    To many of us 'coach' in an old context evokes a horse drawn vehicle. In modern parlance, it is a legal term for 'bus'. dictionary.reference.com seems to have most of the old fashioned and obsolete meanings of words.
    You're not surely suggesting that Ms Bronte was referring to a modern bus window:D
     

    nanami

    Member
    chinese
    Thanks Panjandrum for your detailed explanation. It really helps lot.

    Since it is an old use of "coach", I could not figure it out, and I can't get any helpful information form any dicitionary I have. It becames quite difficult for me to understand the novel.

    Thanks for your help!
     

    Fishwife

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    I'm not sure, because it's a long time since I read the book, but I think I imagined this as a rather unusual or even unique structure, in which the occupant could feel hidden. But then I always loved to find a cosy small space for myself.

    For pictures of coaches, try Google Images. Go to Google, type horse coach in the search box, then click Images above the search box.

    It is a long read, but worth your while.
     
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