I'm coming to that," said Jim. It isn't that I doubt the investment. Don't blame yourself for that; you showed a fine sound business instinct: I always knew it was in you, but then it ripped right out. I guess that little beast of attorney knew what he was doing; and he wanted nothing better than to go beyond. No, there's profit in the deal; it's not that it's these ninety-day bills and the strain I've given the credit - for I've been up and down borrowing, and begging and bribing to borrow.

(From The Wrecker by R. L. Stevenson and L. Osbourne, chapter X, published 1892) https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Wrecker_(Stevenson)/Chapter_10

What does the strain I've given the credit mean in this context? Especially, what does I've given the credit mean there? In particular the word credit troubles me. Thank you very much in advance :)

  • This has literary licence and is quoting someone who isn't necessarily very articulate, and as such is not an easy read for a native speaker. My assumption is that what is meant is something like ... it's not [these ninety day bills and the strain] that I give the credit to. if this right then "credit" means "acknowledgement of influence". Sep 29 at 14:44
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    @timchessish - It's from Robert Louis Stevenson and was written in the 1890s. The language used is a little old fashioned. It's not an easy read. It sounds like the speaker had difficulty obtaining the credit, hence the "strain" of having to beg, borrow and bribe to get the it, although I can't be 100% sure. I haven't read The Wrecker, so take that with a pinch of salt perhaps.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 29 at 16:07
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    The fact that timchessish and Billy Kerr have given very different interpretations of "credit" is indicative that this is barely comprehensible to current English speakers. I first thought as Billy did, but tim's idea is also possible.
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 29 at 17:24


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