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    #1

    I was out of neutral names/ trust to luck/ it took my wits clear away

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to give me your considered opinion concerning the interpretation of the expressions in bold in the following sentences?

    “After a relative, I suppose? But you named the one that died, too – one that I never saw.. What did you call that one?”
    I was out of neutral names, but as the child was dead and she had never seen it, I thought I might risk a name for it and trust to luck. (Mark Twain, “A Tramp Abroad”)

    I was out of neutral names = I had finished the names that could be used for both sexes

    This was a surprise. It took my wits clear away for an instant.

    it took my wits clear away = I lost my head (I became confused)

    trust to luck = leave it to chance

    V.
    Last edited by vil; 07-Aug-2011 at 13:28.

  1. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I was out of neutral names/ trust to luck/ it took my wits clear away

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to give me your considered opinion concerning the interpretation of the expressions in bold in the following sentences?

    “After a relative, I suppose? But you named the one that died, too – one that I never saw.. What did you call that one?”
    I was out of neutral names, but as the child was dead and she had never seen it, I thought I might risk a name for it and trust to luck. (Mark Twain, “A Tramp Abroad”)

    I was out of neutral names = I had finished the names that could be used for both sexes In this context, I would think that they couldn't think of a neutral name.

    This was a surprise. It took my wits clear away for an instant.

    it took my wits clear away = I lost my head (I became confused)

    trust to luck = leave it to chance

    V.
    I agree with your latter two interpretations.

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