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Machiavelli "TO FRANCESCO VETTORI, FLORENCE, DECEMBER 10, 1513"

And Frosino in particular sent for a number of loads without telling me anything, and on payment wanted to hold back ten lire from me, which he said he should have had from me four years ago when he beat me at cricca at Antonio Guicciardini's. I began to raise the devil and was on the point of accusing the driver who had gone for it of theft; but Giovanni Machiavelli came between us and brought us to agree.

Mansfield employed the letter as an appendix to his translation of "The Prince".

I guess Machiavelli might be joking that the driver had stolen something (wood? lire?). Why was it expressed in that way?


I mistook the bold part as a whole. It should be "accuse sb of sth". Then "who had gone for it" means:

1 who had run the transport business, i.e. "it" refers to delivering the cargo;

2 who had disappeared because he/she feared his/her wrong-doing, i.e. "it" refers to the thieving.

I incline to the second, am I right?

At first, I hold the first understand, but then I thought "Tim may have gone to get milk or may not", whereas a driver is normally, even if not definitely, someone who does such business, so only "the driver" is enough. Thus to make the attributive clause not superfluous, I figured out the second meaning. However, the right expression to the latter one should be "who was gone for it", according to my humble knowledge. Therefore I'm not sure. Perhaps I think too much.

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    Short answer: you're parsing the sentence slightly incorrectly. "had gone for it of theft" is parts of two different clauses. It's "I was accusing X of theft" where X is "the driver who had gone for it." – stangdon Apr 26 '18 at 3:59
  • @stangdon I add a new question. – Zhang Jian Apr 26 '18 at 4:16
  • @stangdon Maybe I should say "I added a new question". As a learner, I need to improve my writing. – Zhang Jian Apr 26 '18 at 4:21
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    @ZhangJian If you'd already added the new question, then yes it should have been added. If you haven't done it yet, you might say "I will add a new question" or "I am adding a new question" (which tells us you're working on it now). – Tim S. Apr 26 '18 at 11:36
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[I] was on the point of accusing the driver who had gone for it of theft

I don't know what exactly he is talking about here, how this driver fits into the larger story. Despite the context given, it's not entirely clear to me. But what I can see is how the sentence should break down:

the driver who had gone for it

The phrase who had gone for it serves to identify which driver he's talking about: the one who went for it. What that it is, I'm not sure of.

This is an example of a reduced relative clause.

Anyway, the larger phrase is now easier to understand:

[I] was on the point of accusing [the driver] of theft

The speaker was almost going to say the driver was a thief.

  • I mistook the bold part as a whole. It should be "accuse sb of sth". Then "who had gone for it" means: 1 who had run the transport business, i.e. "it" refers to delivering the cargo; 2 who had disappeared because he/she feared his/her wrong-doing, i.e. "it" refers to the thieving. I incline to the second, am I right? – Zhang Jian Apr 26 '18 at 4:15
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    @ZhangJian I think it's most likely the first one, it is the cargo. The way gone is used does not suggest that the driver disappeared because of wrongdoing. If I went to get milk from the store, someone left at home could say "Tim's gone to get milk". – Tim S. Apr 26 '18 at 11:33
  • Thanks. Though I trust natives' interpretation, I'll present my different thinking, at least to examine where I'm wrong. At first, I hold the first understand, but then I thought "Tim may have gone to get milk or may not", whereas a driver is normally, even if not definitely, someone who does such business, so only "the driver" is enough. Thus to make the attributive clause not superfluous, I figured out the second meaning. However, the right expression to the latter one should be "who was gone for it", according to my humble knowledge. Therefore I'm not sure. Perhaps I think too much. – Zhang Jian Apr 26 '18 at 14:18

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