Then there's another thing. I had hoped you might have peddled that opium through the islands, which is safer and more profitable. But with this three-month limit, you must make tracks for Honolulu straight, and communicate by steamer. I'll try to put up something for you there; I'll have a man spoken to who's posted on that line of biz. Keep a bright lookout for him as soon's you make the islands; for it's on the cards he might pick you up at sea in a whaleboat or a steam-launch, and bring the dollars right on board.” It shows how much I had suffered morally during my sojourn in San Francisco, that even now when our fortunes trembled in the balance, I should have consented to become a smuggler—and (of all things) a smuggler of opium. Yet I did, and that in silence; without a protest, not without a twinge.

(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 should have express there? Should can express different meanings. I'm not sure what meaning of should fits this context.

  • 2
    The words should have as cited don't really mean anything (nothing changes if they're removed). It's a kind of "optional subjunctive", as in I'm shocked! To think he should have said that! rather than plain To think he said that! A literary flourish, if you will. Sep 29 at 23:15


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