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Does that mean he thought he would be more safe than he actually ended up being?

The actual sentence: "Two weeks of safety till the Tranchemer sailed I therefore valued at a perhaps preposterous rate."

The context:

"I am that widely hounded Perion of the Forest. The true vicomte is the wounded rascal over whose delirium we marvelled only last Tuesday. Yes, at the door of your home I attacked him, fought him—hah, but fairly, madame!—and stole his brilliant garments and with them his papers. Then in my desperate necessity I dared to masquerade. For I know enough about dancing to estimate that to dance upon air must necessarily prove to everybody a disgusting performance, but pre-eminently unpleasing to the main actor. Two weeks of safety till the Tranchemer sailed I therefore valued at a perhaps preposterous rate. To-night, as I have said, the ship lies at anchor off Manneville."

That, too, is from "Domnei" by James Branch Cabell.

Thanks to Clive for responding, and I think solving, my previous question. I'm trying to translate this novel into Finnish, so I will likely be asking more questions like these two.

By the way, I also don't really understand what Cabell means with the dancing metaphor. If someone could explain that as well, would be great.

Thanks.
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I have now thought about it some more, and I think what it means is that his preposterous actions were the result of his trying to remain safe in difficult circumstances until the ship would leave.

(I don't know what I was thinking with my first guess.)

I still don't know what Cabell means by the dance metaphor.
AnonymousTwo weeks of safety till the Tranchemer sailed I therefore valued at a perhaps preposterous rate.
= Given these circumstances (referring to the previous text), maybe it was absurd (ridiculous, laughable) the great degree to which I had valued the safety I had felt during the two weeks before the Tranchemer departed from that place (because I probably wasn't as safe as I thought I was anyway).

CJ
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Anonymousthe dancing metaphor. If someone could explain that as well, would be great.
Edit: Upon further research, I find this interpretation nonsense. Please see my next post on this topic.

I can't promise that my interpretation is the only one possible, but the metaphor may be intended to work like this: Pretending to be someone that you not (masquerading) is like dancing when you don't really know how to dance. If you are found out in either case, people are very displeased with you -- but not as much as you are displeased with yourself for not being able to carry out the intended subterfuge.

CJ
AnonymousFor I know enough about dancing to estimate that to dance upon air must necessarily prove to everybody a disgusting performance, but pre-eminently unpleasing to the main actor.
Further research has revealed to me that "to dance upon air" is also used to refer to the motions of the legs of a hanged man. This rings more true, I think, than the interpretation I gave in my previous post.

The "dancing" that a hanged man does cannot be considered to be very good dancing in the estimation of the crowds that gather to observe such executions, but rather "a disgusting performance". And the hanged man being "the main actor", the whole situation would certainly be "pre-eminently unpleasing to the main actor".

In short, I believe the entire passage about "dancing" amounts to saying, "I went in disguise because I was afraid that, if discovered, I would be hanged for what I had done."

CJ

PS. Are you sure you want to tackle translating this entire text? It seems to me that before it can be translated into Finnish, it has to be translated into (modern) English first! Emotion: surprise
He has mentioned being hanged before, so you must be right. A very good find, that dancing legs thing!

The book is certainly an effort to translate well, but I happen to be unemployed and I want something I can show for what would otherwise be wasted time when I have to explain a rather long period of seeming inactivity to whoever at some point. And in any case I like a good challenge.

With help this good, I think I can do it.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
StardrinkI happen to be unemployed
There's a lot of that going around. Blame it on the computers!

CJ