It says she remembered them before? Before what? Before when? It is actually hard to understand this paragraph. Should be read it backward? The women had passed close to girls and Cecilia remembered that they were at the other side of touchline? Is that inversion? How is it common in literature?

The two women who were watching the hockey were on the other touchline, directly opposite where Cecilia, with Daisy and Amanda, was watching it, too, since attendance at home matches was compulsory. Cecilia remembered the women being on the touchline before, because when the hockey ended they’d passed close to where she and Daisy and Amanda were looking for Amanda’s watch, which had slipped from her wrist without her noticing. “Someone’ll stand on it!” Amanda was wailing and the two women had hesitated as if about to look for the watch, too. Daisy found it, undamaged, on the grass, and the women went on. But when they hesitated they’d stared at Cecilia in a way that was quite disconcerting.

Taken from “The Women” by William Trevor

  • Further along in the story this issue is cleared up. The lost watch episode is from a hockey match earlier in the season. "Cecilia wondered who the women were who’d come back again only a few weeks after she’d seen them before. "
    – TimR
    Jun 20, 2018 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


You wrote:

  • It says she remembered them before. Before what? Before when?

The answer, I suppose, in the absence of any further clarification, would be, "before now".

But, to paraphrase:

Cecilia remembered the women being on the touchline before

essentially means:

This was not the first time Cecilia had seen the women on the touchline

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