(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XV, published 1892)

Passage 243

“So we can keep the business to ourselves,” I mused.

“There's one other person that might blab,” said the captain. “Though I don't believe she has anything left to tell.”

“And who is she?” I asked.

“The old girl there,” he answered, pointing to the wreck. “I know there's nothing in her; but somehow I'm afraid of someone else—it's the last thing you'd expect, so it's just the first that'll happen—someone dropping into this God-forgotten island where nobody drops in, waltzing into that wreck that we've grown old with searching, stooping straight down, and picking right up the very thing that tells the story. What's that to me? you may ask, and why am I gone Soft Tommy on this Museum of Crooks? They've smashed up you and Mr. Pinkerton; they've turned my hair grey with conundrums; they've been up to larks, no doubt; and that's all I know of them - you say. . . .”

Looking it up in the dictionaries 'with' can belong either to 'grow' or to 'search'. In this context I'm not sure where it belongs to. I think 'with' belongs to 'grow' there und would fit the context as well, right?

  • 2
    From what I've read of the synopsis, I think they have been searching the wreck for a long time, perhaps under harsh conditions, and they feel as though they have grown much older in the course of the search. Nov 4, 2023 at 13:53

1 Answer 1


The preposition with can introduce the reason for or cause of something.

Her hair went white overnight with the extreme shock that news had given her.

We soon became exhausted with the steep uphill climb.

with has an underlying meaning of accompaniment, including accompaniment over a period a time, and in context that which accompanies can be understood to be a proximate cause.

So the meaning can be a combination of "We have grown old as we searched" and "searching has caused us to age prematurely, has taken its toll on us". The captain says that his hair has been "turned gray with conundrums". Conundrums are what caused his hair to turn gray.


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