A few weeks later, Frollo’s studies were disturbed by a loud knock on his chamber door. “Enter!” he called out. It was his brother Jehan. He had come, as he often did, to borrow some money. Frollo was not surprised. “Dear brother,” said Jehan. “I am so sorry to bother you. But I need to borrow a little money—for my studies.” Claude Frollo knew his brother well. He knew that Jehan liked to spend time in the taverns, drinking with his friends. “Are you sure you will buy books with it?” “Yes, of course, dear brother! But if any is left over, I may have a small glass or two with my good friend Phoebus.” “Who?” “Oh, Captain Phoebus, a gentleman. We’re planning to meet tonight at the tavern. But only for a short time. After that, he’s meeting with a young lady called Esmeralda.”

The priest saw an opportunity. He would give his brother the money to have a drink with Phoebus. Then he would follow him. Perhaps Captain Phoebus would lead him to Esmeralda.

Dose it mean: by following the Captain he would see Esmeralda.

1 Answer 1


Yes. "Perhaps X would Y" is a speculation that it is possible that X will Y. Would is used in this case because it is expressing future-in-the-past, but it can also be used for things that are future-of-now to express a greater hypothetical nature, as in:

Perhaps sir would like some more wine.

  • Here:Dose" Lead him to Esmeralda" mean: by following Captain he could see Esmeralda? Mar 2, 2019 at 15:47
  • He is stating that it is possible that, by following Phoebus, he might find Esmeralda.
    – SamBC
    Mar 2, 2019 at 16:10
  • Dose all the "would" in last paragraph expressing future in the past? Mar 2, 2019 at 20:44
  • In this case, I think it's just for future-in-the-past. Sometimes it's hard to be sure if it's hypothetical or future-in-the-past, if the sentence is in past time.
    – SamBC
    Mar 2, 2019 at 21:53

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