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    #1

    must have rung a bell

    Hi

    A woman went to talk to a man. The man was a priest and she went to the rectory.

    When during the conversation she started crying, the priest put his arm around her shoulders and started telling her that she mustn't upset herself any more.

    Once having started to cry, she found it impossible to
    stop.He must have rung a bell, summoned some attention,
    for presently he removed his arm from her shoulders and
    took her hand and said, in a firm, authoritative voice ...

    Does it mean that the priest rang the bell and attracted her attention?

    Also: Does presently here mean: "now" or "after a while"?

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    #2

    Re: must have rung a bell

    Presently can mean both "right now" and "in a little while." In this context, I'd say the latter is the meaning.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: must have rung a bell

    Quote Originally Posted by GUEST2008 View Post
    Hi

    A woman went to talk to a man. The man was a priest and she went to the rectory.

    When during the conversation she started crying, the priest put his arm around her shoulders and started telling her that she mustn't upset herself any more.

    Once having started to cry, she found it impossible to
    stop.He must have rung a bell, summoned some attention,
    for presently he removed his arm from her shoulders and
    took her hand and said, in a firm, authoritative voice ...

    Does it mean that the priest rang the bell and attracted her attention?

    Also: Does presently here mean: "now" or "after a while"?
    I don't think "ring a bell" is meant literally. Certainly there are some strange religious customs, but I don't think ringing bells during personal counselling sessions is one of them. To "ring a bell" metaphorically can mean to say something that awakens an instant response of recognition or understanding in another person.
    Even so, the sentence sounds strange. You'd expect "He must have rung a bell, for presently she ... " That is, she should react to his having rung a bell, not he. It might just be bad writing.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: must have rung a bell

    I think he did ring a bell to summon some attention (from a servant). It would be interesting to see the next few lines. If he said (in a firm, authoritative voice), "You must leave now. Grimesnot will show you out", then my guess would be correct.

    However, it should then read:

    He must have rung a bell and summoned some attention,
    or
    He must have rung a bell to summon some attention,

    'Presently' can mean 'after a short time' in BrE.

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    #5

    Re: must have rung a bell

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I think he did ring a bell to summon some attention (from a servant). It would be interesting to see the next few lines. If he said (in a firm, authoritative voice), "You must leave now. Grimesnot will show you out", then my guess would be correct.
    The next few lines: Miss! Stop it! You are hysterical! Stop! Now,
    swallow this its only an aspirin. Thats right. And a
    drink of water. Good.

    But the priest had a butler.

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