what is the meaning of "no less poor" in this context?

Some idea of the pressure upon the Fox girls at this time may be gathered from Mrs. Hardinge Britten's* description from her own observation. She talks of "pausing on the first floor to hear poor patient Kate Fox, in the midst of a captious, grumbling crowd of investigators, repeating hour after hour the letters of the alphabet, while the no less poor, patient spirits rapped out names, ages and dates to suit all comers." Can one wonder that the girls, with vitality sapped, the beautiful, watchful influence of the mother removed, and harassed by enemies, succumbed to a gradually increasing temptation in the direction of stimulants?

from http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks03/0301051h.html

2 Answers 2


Note the occurrence in the passage of "poor patient Kate Fox". There should probably be a comma after "poor". "Poor" means she deserved sympathy because of the stress she was under. The second occurrence, which you asked about, means that the "spirits" were as patient as Kate and deserved sympathy as much as she did. It would be easier to understand if it had said "...equally poor, patient spirits...".


In this context I would say it means "no worse off", in that they are equals to Kate Fox. They have nothing more to gain or lose by freely giving the wanted information.

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