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    #1

    to be free of

    Hello, teachers.
    Would you help me understand the last part of the following passage?

    As there is a tradition and bonding of common interest about the Universities, and in a less degree about army, navy, public schools, and professions, which draws together and marks with its impress those who are attached to them, so there is a certain cabala and membership among lodgers which none can understand except those who are free of that guild.
    ("The Nebuly Coat" by J. M. Falkner)

    I am not quite sure what "those who are free of that guild" means. It seems to mean something like "those who belong to that guild", but are there cases where "to be free of" means "to belong to"? I appreciate your help very much.

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    #2

    Re: to be free of

    Reading your post I recognize I have the same doubt of yours.

    I completely agree with you when you say
    Quote Originally Posted by imchongjun View Post
    I am not quite sure what "those who are free of that guild" means. It seems to mean something like "those who belong to that guild", but are there cases where "to be free of" means "to belong to"? I appreciate your help very much.
    I would like to read someone's else opinion. By the way the novel seems to be interesting.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: to be free of

    Quote Originally Posted by imchongjun View Post
    Hello, teachers.
    Would you help me understand the last part of the following passage?

    As there is a tradition and bonding of common interest about the Universities, and in a less degree about army, navy, public schools, and professions, which draws together and marks with its impress those who are attached to them, so there is a certain cabala and membership among lodgers which none can understand except those who are free of that guild.
    ("The Nebuly Coat" by J. M. Falkner)

    I am not quite sure what "those who are free of that guild" means. It seems to mean something like "those who belong to that guild", but are there cases where "to be free of" means "to belong to"? I appreciate your help very much.
    I would understand it as meaning that those who are part of that cabala of lodgers don't understand that they are part of a "guild", it is only those who are free of it, that is to say, outside of it, who can see it for what it is. Often those observing a situation from the outside have a clearer view of the dynamics of that situation than those who are deeply involved in it.


    • Join Date: Jul 2008
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    #4

    Re: to be free of

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I would understand it as meaning that those who are part of that cabala of lodgers don't understand that they are part of a "guild", it is only those who are free of it, that is to say, outside of it, who can see it for what it is. Often those observing a situation from the outside have a clearer view of the dynamics of that situation than those who are deeply involved in it.

    Thank you bhaisahab!
    I also feel so. Thank you once again.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: to be free of

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I would understand it as meaning that those who are part of that cabala of lodgers don't understand that they are part of a "guild", it is only those who are free of it, that is to say, outside of it, who can see it for what it is. Often those observing a situation from the outside have a clearer view of the dynamics of that situation than those who are deeply involved in it.
    I think bhaisahab's interpretation may be right, but I wonder whether Falkner was using an obsolete meaning of free, reflected in the word 'freeman' which OED (subscription only, I'm afraid) defines like this:

    2. A person (esp. a man) who possesses the freedom of a city, borough, company, guild, etc.
    That sense of 'free' has this fairly obscure definition:
    .
    .
    .
    18. a. Acting without restriction or limitation
    b

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: to be free of

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I would understand it as meaning that those who are part of that cabala of lodgers don't understand that they are part of a "guild", it is only those who are free of it, that is to say, outside of it, who can see it for what it is. Often those observing a situation from the outside have a clearer view of the dynamics of that situation than those who are deeply involved in it.
    I think bhaisahab's interpretation may be right, but I wonder whether Falkner was using an obsolete meaning of free, reflected in the word 'freeman' which OED (subscription only, I'm afraid) defines like this:

    2. A person (esp. a man) who possesses the freedom of a city, borough, company, guild, etc.
    That sense of 'free' has this fairly obscure definition:
    .
    .
    .
    18. a. Acting without restriction or limitation

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