As for indolence, that would be ridiculous, but there are other interesting things.

What does this mean? I'm especially interested in what the "but" means here.


But is the ordinary conjunction here, signalling that what follows denies or qualifies what has just been said.

Reverting to the topic of marriage: it would of course be silly for them to marry. However, men and women may enter into other sorts of firm relationship which are more interesting.

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    Not in this context, no. – rlms Feb 18 '14 at 15:02
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    @user4550 To disambiguate sweeneyrod's response, it is NOT possible to interpret but as unless. – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 18 '14 at 18:34
  • I don't recall this particular passage from Dorian Gray, but given the overall context of the book, he probably does not mean other "firm" relationships, but rather that he considers a more transient, non-committal relationship to be preferable. – Jay Feb 18 '14 at 19:21
  • @Jay I think Lord Henry has a maintenance relationship in mind. This age is sort of the last gasp of the aristocrat's kept mistress: think Edward and Mrs. Lantry. M.Hollande, to be sure, is trying to revive the tradition, but he's too much a bourgeois not to make a hash of it. – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 18 '14 at 20:52
  • @StoneyB Well, that could be. I suppose I could actually go back and check the book to see if it's clear from context. – Jay Feb 18 '14 at 21:48

You use the word but when you already told enough pleasant things to the listener and you finally decide state what really matters.

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