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    • Join Date: Sep 2008
    • Posts: 37
    #1

    if it ain't there

    * This is an excerpt from a novel.


    The story has gone like this:

    A stone saint in a cathedral appeared in a vergeress's dream and told her that she would find a coin next morning and to buy and give him candles.

    Then the next morning came.


    I don't understand at all what the vergeress means.


    Well, if it ain’t there, sure enough!’ said the vergeress next morning She took the shining coin down from the dusty niche and turned it over and over in her grimy hands. Then she put it to her mouth and bit it.
    ‘She can’t be going to eat it,’ thought the Saint, and fixed her with his stoniest stare.
    ‘Well,’ said the woman, in a somewhat shriller key, ‘who’d have thought it! A saint, too!’


    My questions:

    1 Was she surprised when she found the coin?
    2 What does "who'd have thought it! A saint, too!" mean?




    Thank you in advance.
    Unepomme




    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #2

    Re: if it ain't there

    This is an excerpt from a novel.

    The story has gone like this:

    A stone saint in a cathedral appeared in a vergeress's dream and told her that she would find a coin next morning and to buy and give him candles.
    Then the next morning came.

    I don't understand at all what the vergeress means.

    Well, if it ain’t there, sure enough!’ said the vergeress next morning She took the shining coin down from the dusty niche and turned it over and over in her grimy hands. Then she put it to her mouth and bit it.
    ‘She can’t be going to eat it,’ thought the Saint, and fixed her with his stoniest stare.
    ‘Well,’ said the woman, in a somewhat shriller key, ‘who’d have thought it! A saint, too!’


    My questions:

    Well, if it ain’t there, sure enough
    1 Was she surprised when she found the coin?

    Yes, that expression indicates surprise. It's very slangy and in an unusual vernacular. It signifies an uneducated speaker. It was momentarily difficult for me to dope out what she was saying.

    The expression she used may be meant to indicate not just her educational level, but other demographics as well. Saying "Well, lordy lordy! As I live and breathe -- if it ain't ol' Billy Bob Stanton back from the War!" would be an attempt to capture expressions of the rural South (maybe Alabama, for example.)

    So the quoted passage recalls the usage "Well, if it ain't (whatever is surprising)!" meaning "Well, lo and behold! (I see something surprising.)"

    The author is saying that she is amazed to have actually found the coin -- that she had considered its existence unlikely, but just checked anyway to be sure.

    -----------------------------

    2 What does "who'd have thought it! A saint, too!" mean?

    "Who'd have thought it" is an expression of amazement. It means
    > "I never would have thought that something like this would happen."
    > "I never imagined that something like this could happen."
    > "Who would ever have imagined that something like this could happen."

    The expression "A saint too!" shows surprise that the event was caused or performed by a saint. It indicates that whatever happened is out of character for a saint, who would not be expected to behave that way. There sometimes is some added element of disapproval or mocking laughter in addition to the surprise.

    It is a shortened form of the more usual expression "And him a saint too!"
    > "Did you hear that Jeb Miller ran off with the Widder Jameston? And him a preacher man too!"
    > "I see that the suspect in that bank heist is Clayton O'Brien -- a policeman too!"
    > "Who'd have thought it -- Madelaine Weston drag racing her car! And her an old lady too!"

    The author is saying that (at least in the eyes of the vergeress), this behavior is uncharacteristic of a saint.
    Last edited by Ann1977; 15-Sep-2009 at 08:35.

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