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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    relaxing distress

    She must have been bewildered by his action, but why did it say "relaxing" distress?
    Relaxing is opposite of distress, it doesn't seem to make sense.

    Hearts and Hands by O. Henry
    He slightly raised his right hand, bound at the wrist by the shining "bracelet" to the left one of his companion. The glad look in the girl's eyes slowly changed to a bewildered horror. The glow faded from her cheeks. Her lips parted in a vague, relaxing distress. Easton, with a little laugh, as if amused, was about to speak again when the other forestalled him. The glum-faced man had been watching the girl's countenance with veiled glances from his keen, shrewd eyes.

  2. JohnParis's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: relaxing distress

    O. Henry can be great fun to read, but I have always urged learners to keep a dictionary close by to clarify some of his finer points of usage. It can be difficult.
    The girl in this passage was, at first, glad to have two men in her carriage (probably for safety's sake) but suddenly horrified to discover that they were criminals handcuffed to each other. She was bewildered that a man so outwardly appealing as Easton was handcuffed, not because of any action that he had undertaken.

    You say "Relaxing is opposite of distress." That's not exactly correct. The antonyms for the noun "distress" are "happiness, safety and prosperity." For the verb "distress", they are "to calm" and "to please."

    Remember, the author is referring to the woman's lips. They parted in a vaguely relaxing manner but still expressing a degree of distress.

  3. keannu's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: relaxing distress

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnParis View Post
    O. Henry can be great fun to read, but I have always urged learners to keep a dictionary close by to clarify some of his finer points of usage. It can be difficult.
    The girl in this passage was, at first, glad to have two men in her carriage (probably for safety's sake) but suddenly horrified to discover that they were criminals handcuffed to each other. She was bewildered that a man so outwardly appealing as Easton was handcuffed, not because of any action that he had undertaken.

    You say "Relaxing is opposite of distress." That's not exactly correct. The antonyms for the noun "distress" are "happiness, safety and prosperity." For the verb "distress", they are "to calm" and "to please."

    Remember, the author is referring to the woman's lips. They parted in a vaguely relaxing manner but still expressing a degree of distress.
    You mean, actually both of the two guys are criminals depending on the passengers who overheard them? So one of them, Easton is not a sheriff?

  4. JohnParis's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: relaxing distress

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    She must have been bewildered by his action, but why did it say "relaxing" distress?
    Relaxing is opposite of distress, it doesn't seem to make sense.

    Hearts and Hands by O. Henry
    He slightly raised his right hand, bound at the wrist by the shining "bracelet" to the left one of his companion. The glad look in the girl's eyes slowly changed to a bewildered horror. The glow faded from her cheeks. Her lips parted in a vague, relaxing distress. Easton, with a little laugh, as if amused, was about to speak again when the other forestalled him. The glum-faced man had been watching the girl's countenance with veiled glances from his keen, shrewd eyes.
    You mean, actually both of the two guys are criminals depending on the passengers who overheard them? So one of them, Easton is not a sheriff?

    Keannu, I responded only to the question quoted above. How on earth was I to know who Easton was? Does it say anywhere in your post that he is the sheriff? You mention that Easton is a sheriff in another thread, not in this one.

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