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D.C. McCormick
10-29-2014, 02:36 AM
I need some help in figuring out the meaning of the bold/underlined part of the sentence. Can't make it out for the life of me.

"They protested that they did not wish to be there when it happened, and some one suggested going to a big Italian rancho four miles away, where they could get up a dance. Immediately they paired off, lad and lassie , and started down the sandy road. And each lad walked with his sweetheartó trust a child of seven to listen and to know the love-affairs of his countryside. And behold, I, too, was a lad with a lassie."

by Jack London - John Barleycorn


Thanks a lot, appreciate the help!

Cheers,

D.C.

T Robinson
10-29-2014, 02:38 AM
It's saying a child knows what his heart feels and is not clouded by adult responsibilities.

davidjgalloway
10-29-2014, 03:58 AM
I'm not sure I totally agree with that. First, it's a weird little sentence that doesn't quite work for the whole paragraph, but to the task: he's saying that even at seven, he knew which people were romantically intertwined because he knows the social twists and turns of his community (the narrator, at this point, is seven years old), and the girl he's paired up with makes him feel like an adult (IOW, like the older teens, described as being between 14 and 20). I don't think what T Robinson has said is entirely wrong, but it seems to me more an overall sense than what London is specifically. And again, I read the page and the first part of the sentence really comes out of nowhere.

T Robinson
10-29-2014, 04:32 AM
Disagreement is fine. I have no idea either, but that is my best guess.

jcwriter
10-29-2014, 05:27 AM
A bit more context explains it. Here's what follows:

"And behold, I, too, was a lad with a lassie. A little Irish girl of my own age had been paired off with me. We were the only children in this spontaneous affair. Perhaps the oldest couple might have been twenty."

galowayprof is correct.

D.C. McCormick
10-29-2014, 08:11 PM
Thanks a lot; yeah, a bit more context might've helped.

D.C. McCormick
10-30-2014, 11:37 PM
Same text, having a hard time figuring this one out:

And once, I remember, a barkeeper mixed me a sweet temperance drink of syrup and soda-water. (he was a kid at the time, seven or eight years old)

Is it a "sweet non-alcoholic drink" or a "sweet light drink"? Or something else?

davidjgalloway
10-30-2014, 11:40 PM
Yes, temperance in the sense of the Temperance movement--an anti-alcohol movement, so probably a sweet flavored syrup and soda, which would approximate a bottled/canned soda today. He would not be served alcohol anyway at that age, calling it "temperance" is just using the lingo that would have been in the air at that time.

arcan
10-31-2014, 11:44 AM
I agree with gallowayprof. A 7 y.o. child is bound to know everything that happens in his neighborhood, especially love affaires (child's curiousity).

Jamesaritchie
10-31-2014, 08:05 PM
gallowayprof has it right in both instances. As for "temperance drink", I'm old enough that my grandparents actually used that term, though they used it only for actually drinks that have the alcohol omitted.

Roughly the same thing as many do today. They make a strawberry or banana daiquiri for their kids, mixing it just as they would for an adult, but leaving out the alcohol.

My grandparents would have called this a temperance drink.

D.C. McCormick
11-01-2014, 04:12 PM
Thanks so much to all of you, massive help so far!
What do you think about this one?

"We pay for every nerve marathon we run, nor can John Barleycorn intercede and fend off the just payment. He can lead us to the heights, but he cannot keep us there, else would we all be devotees. And there is no devotee but pays for the mad dances John Barleycorn pipes." (John B. represents alcohol)

What does he actually mean here?
Are there no actual devotees, but only the consequences of drinking?
Or is there no such devotee that might escape due payment?

King Neptune
11-01-2014, 06:21 PM
The drinkers pay the piper. The devotees are drinkers, and John Barleycorn is the piper.
or
There is no devotee of drink who avoids paying the price.

D.C. McCormick
11-03-2014, 12:21 AM
I've been puzzled by this one since the very beginning, and haven't been able to grasp its meaning at all. If someone manages, I'm buying you virtual beer.

It's a song, a chant, sung by one of the supporting characters, with no, or at least no apparent, context at all. They're drinking, having a good time, the dude is drunk, aboard a sloop, it's late 19th century, and he just bursts into song. There's been no mention of Lulu or the like up until the song.

"Oh, it's Lulu, black Lulu, my darling,
Oh, it's where have you been so long?
Been layin' in jail,
A-waitin' for bail,
Till my bully comes rollin' along."

Is Lulu in jail or the 'narrator/singer'? Is Lulu death? :D
Who's the bully?

Pyekett
11-03-2014, 12:33 AM
The song is probably much older. Shanties or chants usually are passed on for many generations. "Bully" used to mean one's sweetheart, and Lulu is probably the black-haired girl who will come bail him out of jail.

Or maybe he's bailing her out of jail. You could read it either way--would depend on how it is sung and where the inflection was placed.

Added: Old-School Sweetheart to Modern-Day Menace: The History of the Word 'Bully'
http://www.promoteprevent.org/blog/old-school-sweetheart-modern-day-menace-history-word-bully

King Neptune
11-03-2014, 12:37 AM
I've been puzzled by this one since the very beginning, and haven't been able to grasp its meaning at all. If someone manages, I'm buying you virtual beer.

It's a song, a chant, sung by one of the supporting characters, with no, or at least no apparent, context at all. They're drinking, having a good time, the dude is drunk, aboard a sloop, it's late 19th century, and he just bursts into song. There's been no mention of Lulu or the like up until the song.

"Oh, it's Lulu, black Lulu, my darling,
Oh, it's where have you been so long?
Been layin' in jail,
A-waitin' for bail,
Till my bully comes rollin' along."

Is Lulu in jail or the 'narrator/singer'? Is Lulu death? :D
Who's the bully?

The song is a dialogue. First two lines are someone probably male. The other lines are Black Lulu replying. She's there waiting until a bully friend comes along who will bail her out, and apparently that happened, or the speaker in the first two lines sees her in a window of the jail, and Lulu wants him to be her bully friend. The wording of the second line makes it hard to tell.

D.C. McCormick
11-03-2014, 12:41 AM
Okay, great insight, thanks to both of you.

I have to translate the damn thing and make it work :p

NDoyle
11-03-2014, 02:15 AM
And "bully" then didn't necessarily mean what it means now. In this context, it could refer to a "protector of a prostitute."

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=bully&searchmode=none

D.C. McCormick
11-04-2014, 04:53 PM
I've reached the end of the text, thanks to all yall, save for this red underlined thing which I simply cannot wrap my head around.

What exactly do they mean?

Thanks a lot to all of you, I reckon it's gonna make a good translation ;)

http://i.imgur.com/w2guFCF.jpg?1

King Neptune
11-04-2014, 05:27 PM
I've reached the end of the text, thanks to all yall, save for this red underlined thing which I simply cannot wrap my head around.

What exactly do they mean?

Thanks a lot to all of you, I reckon it's gonna make a good translation ;)

http://i.imgur.com/w2guFCF.jpg?1

I initially though that that "it" was a little wisdom, but without knowing anything about Nelson I can't tell for sure.

BTW, what is this from?

D.C. McCormick
11-04-2014, 05:36 PM
It's J. London - John Barleycorn: Alcoholic Memoirs. An amazing read.

All the "Where'd he/you get it?"s are referred to the protagonist, Jack London himself.


The first passage is the protagonist telling the story to his wife.
Second, he's been drinking with a dude called Nelson when, upon returning to the ship, his crew mate Spider addresses him.
Third, Spider whispering to the bartender.

Are they referring to his location? Where have you been, where's he been?
Or, perhaps, where did you/he get the booze?
Or where did he get drunk (the actual locale)

King Neptune
11-04-2014, 06:34 PM
I'd have to read the whole thing to figure it out. For those little pieces it appears that Nelson was a local notable, and "it" was a little wisdom about booze, but that's just a guess.

After reading two brief articles about the book, I think that my impression might be right. London wanted to think that he had a better handle on drinking.

BethS
11-04-2014, 07:28 PM
Thanks so much to all of you, massive help so far!
What do you think about this one?

"We pay for every nerve marathon we run, nor can John Barleycorn intercede and fend off the just payment. He can lead us to the heights, but he cannot keep us there, else would we all be devotees. And there is no devotee but pays for the mad dances John Barleycorn pipes." (John B. represents alcohol)

What does he actually mean here?
Are there no actual devotees, but only the consequences of drinking?
Or is there no such devotee that might escape due payment?

Fwiw, "John Barleycorn" is a famous folksong, hundreds of years old, and there are many versions and evolutions of it. But in this case, London is using it as an allusion to alcohol. Is this from the novel John Barleycorn? I believe that's an autobiographical novel about his struggles with alcohol.

D.C. McCormick
11-04-2014, 10:48 PM
I initially though that that "it" was a little wisdom, but without knowing anything about Nelson I can't tell for sure.

BTW, what is this from?

I thought they might be referring to where he got the alcohol from - where did the bottle come from - or, where (the exact place) did he get drunk?

Jamesaritchie
11-05-2014, 12:14 AM
Everything London writes is infinitely readable. He was one of my earliest influences. Too many think White Fang and The Call of the Wild, but while both are very good, London had a lot of fantastic writing outside these two classics. It wouldn't harm any writer to read all of London.

Reading in-depth about London helps make sense of some of his writing. Much of it is thinly disguised autobiography. London lived a pretty adventurous life.