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Some questions

Posted by Natty on May 15, 2004

1. What is the meaning of the last phrase ("And they didn't have to skip anything either, or he'd know the reason why") in the following paragraph:

They had been in the habit of reading to him – good books with an elevating tendency. But now he put his foot down upon that sort of thing. He said he didn't want Sunday-school rubbish at his time of life. What he liked was something spicy. And he made them read him French novels and sea-faring tales, containing realistic language. *And they didn't have to skip anything either, or he'd know the reason why*.

2. Does "instruction upon the use of the Prayer-book" in the following passage mean "teach how actually to use it" or "to read a lecture on how useful it is"?

...and I remember my poor grandmother once incidentally observing, in the course of an
instruction upon the use of the Prayer-book, that it was highly improbable that I should ever do much that I ought not to do, but that she felt convinced beyond a doubt that I should leave undone pretty well everything that I ought to do.

3. What is the meaning of "Heaven help me!" in the following paragraph (continuation of the previous):

I am afraid I have somewhat belied half the dear old lady's prophecy. Heaven help me! I have done a good many things that I ought not to have done, in spite of my laziness. But I have fully confirmed the accuracy of her judgment so far as neglecting much that I ought not to have neglected is concerned.

4. What is the meaning of "heavy years" in the following paragraph:

Old men sit and gaze at withered flowers till their sight is dimmed by the mist of tears.
Little dainty maidens wait and watch at open casements; but "he cometh not," and the heavy years roll by and the sunny gold tresses wear white and thin.

Thank you!