I paid no attention to these stories until one afternoon she said, “I once saw your parents in Nairobi at a Government House garden party. I can’t be sure, but I do believe you were with them. One doesn’t forget ginger hair, although I don’t recall you as being so thin. Of course I never for a moment believed the tales of your father being disowned and sent away by your grandfather. That was just malicious talk, I am sure.”

I didn’t believe it was malicious talk. Hadn’t Mrs. Pritchard almost said as much before she had caught herself? What did that mean? Was the grandfather truly looking forward to my visiting, or was I being forced on him, the first step in the Pritchards’ desire to return to England? Would my coming truly make him better, or would this reminder of a son he had had to send away cause him more misery?

Can we write it like this:had Mrs.Prichard said all of the story that Miss Limplinger had said to be not caught by someone else?

I really get confused by its meaning...

Source:Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan

1 Answer 1


Not quite.

Said as much is an idiom meaning said roughly the same thing. It doesn't actually have the idea of the amount they said.

She caught herself means "She stopped, and didn't do something".

So, together, it means

Hadn't Mrs Pritchard nearly said the same thing, but she stopped and didn't say it?

  • Thank you, sorry but again it is unclear to me .You did not include "before" in your sentence as main sentence, and why you include "but"? . and Dose "she" refer to Mrs Pritchard? Sorry my English is not so good and would be very thankful for your help. Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 17:20
  • 1
    Yes. Mrs Pritchard had been going to say nearly the same thing, but before she said it, she stopped herself, and didn't say it.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 17:24

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