Have you got a paper copy of The King In Yellow?

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Peter Why
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Post by Peter Why » May 21st, 2006, 8:58 am

I'm reading this book as a solo, and about half way through the second part of "The Yellow Sign" there's the following paragraph. I don't understand the last sentence. Either there must have been a proofreading error when the Gutenberg text was prepared, or my command of English has failed me.

I'm looking for an idea of what that middle section of the last sentence means; is anyone able to help?
At first I started to laugh, but when I understood her, a shock passed through me, and I sat like one turned to stone. This was the crowning bit of idiocy I had committed. During the moment which elapsed between her reply and my answer I thought of a thousand responses to that innocent confession. I could pass it by with a laugh, I could misunderstand her and assure her as to my health, I could simply point out that it was impossible she could love me. But my reply was quicker than my thoughts, and I might think and think now when it was too late, for I had kissed her on the mouth.
Peter

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Post by kayray » May 21st, 2006, 9:41 am

Makes sense to me... you mean the think and think part? He's thinking about all the things he could have said/done but now it's too late to do any of them. Unless I'm missing something :)
Kara
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"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

Peter Why
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Post by Peter Why » May 21st, 2006, 10:46 am

Kara, would you punctuate or bracket that sentence to make the sense clear, please? .. either that, or perhaps record it for me, over-emphasizing the breaks.

What causes trouble for me is what seems to be mixed tenses. When is the "now" that he is thinking (when it was too late); is it after the (past) "now" when they are kissing?

I can take out the middle section to get the "essential" picture of what happened, " But my reply was quicker than my thoughts, for I had kissed
her on the mouth", ... but if I do this it seems to leave a middle section which sounds to me like nonsense. Obviously it *is* a failure in my English education!

But my reply was quicker than my thoughts, and I might think and think now when it was too late, for I had kissed her on the mouth.
Thanks,
Peter

Starlite
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Post by Starlite » May 21st, 2006, 11:02 am

Hi Peter, I just did a google on your text and it looks to be accurate. Here is the alternate link:

http://www.sff.net/people/DoyleMacdonald/kiy_ys.htm
"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable
people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress,
therefore, depends on unreasonable people." George Bernard Shaw

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Post by kayray » May 21st, 2006, 1:07 pm

Peter, I recorded the whole passage for you, with the last sentence twice. It still makes sense to me. Hope the recording helps!

http://kayray.org/audiobooks/librivox/misc/thing_for_peter.mp3

(I think his "reply" is the kiss, which happened before his thoughts could come up with a better (?) response.)

I got stuck in one of the Macaulay history chapters, once, when the author claimed that Scotland was joined to the southern part of the island (I imagined poor Scotland tacked on down by the English Channel). I could NOT wrap my mind around that until Jim said it in a different way :)
Kara
http://kayray.org/
--------
"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

Peter Why
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Post by Peter Why » May 21st, 2006, 2:07 pm

Thank you both; it still makes only passing sense to me, but I'll use Kara's emphasis, and hope the listeners understand it.

I know this business of suspended comprehension; I do a lot of audio typing and sometimes, when the dictation on the tape is a little hard to understand, I'll get a wrong meaning stuck in my head and it can't be heard any other way until someone else catches the right meaning ... and then, suddenly, I hear it, too. A bit like those visual illusions which can show either of two faces, but not both, perhaps.

Peter

Alys
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Post by Alys » May 21st, 2006, 3:29 pm

Don't worry Peter, I'm with you, it does sound rather "off."

Peter Why
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Post by Peter Why » May 21st, 2006, 5:25 pm

About the closest I can get, using approximately those words, is:

But my reply was quicker than the thoughts in my mind (and that are still in my mind now), for it was too late and I had kissed her on the mouth.

Oh, well, I'm not the author.

Just an hour or two's editing and it'll be done.

At least it's a more involving read than the Darwin.

Peter

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