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The following quote is from "Manfield Park" by Jane Austen:

Everything was now in a regular train: theatre, actors, actresses, and dresses, were all getting forward; but though no other great impediments arose, Fanny found, before many days were past, that it was not all uninterrupted enjoyment to the party themselves, and that she had not to witness the continuance of such unanimity and delight as had been almost too much for her at first. Everybody began to have their vexation. Edmund had many. Entirely against his judgment, a scene-painter arrived from town, and was at work, much to the increase of the expenses, and, what was worse, of the eclat of their proceedings; and his brother, instead of being really guided by him as to the privacy of the representation, was

My question: 1) Is "much to" used expressing a resulting state or condition? i.e.The increase of the expenses resulted from the arrival of a scene-painter from town? 2) Does "of the eclat of their proceedings" refer back to "the increase of"? i.e. ...what was worse, much to the increase of the eclat of their proceedings, 3) By "what was worse", I understand it to mean "the increase of the eclat of their proceedings" was worse. I can't figure out why "the increase of the eclat of their proceedings was something worse.

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  • Employing a professional scene-painter increased the expenses. Worse still (in Edmund's view) it helped to make the production a big event instead of the small private affair that had originally been planned. Feb 10, 2021 at 9:25
  • Thanks a lot. I agree with your explanation, which is very convincing.
    – f6pafd
    Feb 10, 2021 at 13:59

1 Answer 1

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"much to the X of Y" is an idiom.

Much to the delight of the children the birthday cake appeared.

Much to the dismay of the diner, the waitress spilled soup on her dress.

also

Much to my astonishment a gorilla emerged from the trees.

I'm not sure how to described it grammatically. Maybe the event adds much to my feelings.


Entirely against his judgment, a scene-painter arrived from town, and was at work, much to the increase of the expense...

Paraphrase:

Entirely against his judgment, a scene-painter arrived from town, and was at work, thus much increasing the expense ...

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  • Thanks a lot. Your explanation is very helpful.
    – f6pafd
    Feb 10, 2021 at 13:57

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