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  1. chebu's Avatar
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    #1

    Question meaning of " that it was ever like"

    Could you please teach me about the following sentences.
    It' s from Dickens' "The poor relation's story"
    The questioned part is on the 11th paragraph of the story.

    The Poor Relation's Story by Charles Dickens


    "When I die in the Clapham Road, I shall not leave much more in this world than I shall take out of it; but, I happen to have a miniature of a bright-faced boy, with a curling head, and an open shirt-frill waving down his bosom (my mother had it taken for me, but I can't believe that it was ever like), which will be worth nothing to sell, and which I shall beg may he given to Frank. "

    Question1:Is "miniature" a painting or a photograph?

    Question2:What's the meaning of "my mother had it taken for me, but I can't believe that it was ever like"?
    Question3:Did the mother have got her son painted (or taken), or simply got a miniature which was alike her son?

    I'll be grateful for your help.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: meaning of " that it was ever like"

    Quote Originally Posted by chebu View Post
    Could you please teach me about the following sentences.
    It' s from Dickens' "The poor relation's story"
    The questioned part is on the 11th paragraph of the story.

    The Poor Relation's Story by Charles Dickens


    "When I die in the Clapham Road, I shall not leave much more in this world than I shall take out of it; but, I happen to have a miniature of a bright-faced boy, with a curling head, and an open shirt-frill waving down his bosom (my mother had it taken for me, but I can't believe that it was ever like), which will be worth nothing to sell, and which I shall beg may he given to Frank. "

    Question1:Is "miniature" a painting or a photograph?
    I'd guess it was a photograph, because you don't have paintings "taken".
    If it was a painting, she would have had it "done" or "painted".


    Question2:What's the meaning of "my mother had it taken for me, but I can't believe that it was ever like"?
    This is a mystery to me. It possibly means "I can't believe I was ever like this photo". But in that case, I'd expect "me" to appear on the end of the sentence. This is a strange sentence even for Dickens.

    Question3:Did the mother have got her son painted (or taken), or simply got a miniature which was alike her son?
    She had a photographer take a picture of him (or she had a painter paint him).
    "She had a photographer take a picture" = "She got a photographer to take a picture."

    I'll be grateful for your help.
    R.

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: meaning of " that it was ever like"

    Quote Originally Posted by chebu View Post
    Could you please teach me about the following sentences.
    It' s from Dickens' "The poor relation's story"
    The questioned part is on the 11th paragraph of the story.

    The Poor Relation's Story by Charles Dickens


    "When I die in the Clapham Road, I shall not leave much more in this world than I shall take out of it; but, I happen to have a miniature of a bright-faced boy, with a curling head, and an open shirt-frill waving down his bosom (my mother had it taken for me, but I can't believe that it was ever like), which will be worth nothing to sell, and which I shall beg may he given to Frank. "

    Question1:Is "miniature" a painting or a photograph?

    Question2:What's the meaning of "my mother had it taken for me, but I can't believe that it was ever like"?
    Question3:Did the mother have got her son painted (or taken), or simply got a miniature which was alike her son?

    I'll be grateful for your help.
    I disagree with Raymott. The word 'like' could have the meaning 'lifelike' when Dickens was writing. And in the early days of portrait photography, subjects tended to be adults; try telling a child not to move a muscle during a 40-50 second (or longer?) exposure! Having a portrait painted was called 'taking a likeness' - see World Wide Words: Likeness . (I suspect that this may have been the reason that the word 'take' was adopted to fit the new technology of photography - someone photographing a scene made a photograph, but a portrait photographer took it [because 'taking' was what portrait painters did].)

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 31-Jul-2010 at 19:46. Reason: Added to last sentence

  4. chebu's Avatar
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    #4

    Smile Re: meaning of " that it was ever like"

    To Raymott

    Thank you for your detailed advices!

  5. chebu's Avatar
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    #5

    Smile Re: meaning of " that it was ever like"

    To BobK

    Thank you so much for opening my eyes to new world of words!

    "Having a portrait painted was called 'taking a likeness' " is
    completely new to me.

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