In the end, Captain Gault said – and was embarrassed and felt awkward saying it – that Daniel O’Connell in his day had stayed at Lahardane. The name was legendary, the man the beloved champion of the oppressed; but time, in this small dwelling at least, had robbed the past of magic. Those three lads had been out snaring rabbits and had lost their way. They shouldn’t have been trespassing; no doubt about that, it was admitted. Captain Gault didn’t mention the petrol tins. He returned to Lahardane, to another night-time vigil.

Does "past of magic" mean: something that they had believed in the past and they thought it gave them power? and the part in bold mean: as time passed no longer they believed them?

Source: The Story of Lucy Gault by William trevor.

1 Answer 1


The expression is "robbed the past (of magic)"

With the verb "rob" we can say "The thief robbed me of my wallet" to mean the thief stole my wallet. Note, we don't say "the thief robbed my wallet". The object of the verb "rob" is the victim.

So here it is metaphorical. "time" is the thief, "the past" is the victim, and "magic" is the property of the victim that was stolen.

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