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I am reading Dracula by Bram Stoker, and this sentence got me confused:

I did not take any [Brandy], but it was a comfort to know it was there all the same. I felt a little strangely, and not a little frightened. I think had there been any alternative I should have taken it, instead of prosecuting that unknown night journey.

What does the sentence want to say?

My thought was that "strangely" is modifying "frightened", with "a little" modifying "strangely". So, combined with negation, I get something like: "A little strangely, I felt a lot frightened." But I don't know... it sounds strange!

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    I think here it's roughly "strange," as in "I felt a little strange, and also very [not a little] frightened"
    – Esther
    May 23, 2022 at 21:18
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    Obsolete usage - the book was written in 1897. May 23, 2022 at 21:45

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"The past is different country, they speak differently there". Dracula was published over 120 years ago. You should expect to find some language that isn't modern. This seems to be one case where the modern expression "I felt a little strange" is not the same as the 1897 expression. You can find the same expression in Two years before the mast (published 1840)

In any case, don't read anything into it. It is just an old way of saying "I felt a little strange"

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    I can still say that I 'feel poorly'. May 24, 2022 at 6:37
  • Thanks. But why don't dictionaries mention this obsolete/old use of 'strangely'?
    – Mahm00d
    May 24, 2022 at 7:47
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I think it should be read as:

I felt strangely (and not a little) frightened.

The adverb 'strangely' appears to be acting on the word 'frightened', and the fact that they are 'more than a little' frightened is an aside.

I agree, it is written in an unusual way. It would have been easier to read if it had been written as:

I felt strangely frightened, and not a little.

"I felt strangely" in isolation would mean that the manner in which you felt, was strange. We don't say that - as you are aware, we would normally say "I felt strange" to mean that our feelings themselves were strange.

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