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"I'm so sorry for people who live in lands where there are no Mayflowers," said Anne. "Diana says perhaps they have something better, but there couldn't be anything better than Mayflowers, could there, Marilla? And Diana says if they don't know what they are like they don't miss them. But I think that is the saddest thing of all. I think it would be TRAGIC, Marilla, not to know what Mayflowers are like and NOT to miss them. Do you know what I think Mayflowers are, Marilla? I think they must be the souls of the flowers that died last summer and this is their heaven. But we had a splendid time today, Marilla. We had our lunch down in a big mossy hollow by an old well—such a ROMANTIC spot. Charlie Sloane dared Arty Gillis to jump over it, and Arty did be-cause he wouldn't take a dare. Nobody would in school. It is very FASHIONABLE to dare. Mr. Phillips gave all the Mayflowers he found to Prissy Andrews and I heard him to say 'sweets to the sweet.’

–– L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Arty take Charlie’s dare and jumped. Then why is it he wouldn’t take a dare, not he would take a dare? Or does he refer to Charlie?

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Thefreedictionary.com shows two senses for the phrase take a dare:

(1) be dared to do something and not attempt it
(2) be dared to do something and attempt it

In the passage above, the first sense applies.

  • 1
    Wa! One words has completely different meanings? – Listenever Dec 9 '13 at 0:01
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    +1 That's very interesting- that's a new one for me. I take it that this take it is in the sense of He just stood there and took it. – Jim Dec 9 '13 at 0:01
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    @Listenever- My guess is that it morphed over time. We don't typically use it in that sense today. – Jim Dec 9 '13 at 0:04
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    @Listenever It happens from time to time - look up cleave. Also, this is a colloquial expression, and Montgomery is writing in the dialect of a very isolated community, where you must expect some local oddities. – StoneyB Dec 9 '13 at 5:15

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