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

Passage 264

“And what—what sort of a gentleman was this Mr. Carthew?” I gasped.

“The ward-room steward told me he was come of the best blood in England,” was my friend's reply: “Eton and 'Arrow bred;—and might have been a bar'net!”

“No, but to look at?” I corrected him.

“The same as you or me,” was the uncompromising answer: “not much to look at. I didn't know he was a gen'lem'n; but then, I never see him cleaned up.”

“How was that?” I cried. “O yes, I remember: he was sick all the way to 'Frisco, was he not?”

“Sick, or sorry, or something,” returned my informant. “My belief, he didn't hanker after showing up. He kep' close; the ward-room steward, what took his meals in, told me he ate nex' to nothing; and he was fetched ashore at 'Frisco on the quiet. Here was how it was. It seems his brother had took and died, him as had the estate. This one had gone in for his beer, by what I could make out; the old folks at 'ome had turned rusty; no one knew where he had gone to. Here he was, slaving in a merchant brig, shipwrecked on Midway, and packing up his duds for a long voyage in a open boat. He comes on board our ship, and by God, here he is a landed proprietor, and may be in Parliament to-morrow! It's no less than natural he should keep dark: so would you and me in the same box.”

I take 'as had the estate' to be a relative clause relating to 'him'. Then, 'as' must be a relative pronoun, right?

  • 2
    as has a relative function but isn't classified as pronoun. It's like that.
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 16:57
  • 1
    One thing is to try and understand this text semantically, but getting into its grammar is somewhat a bridge too far. Amyway, yes, in Cockney-ish or similr. as had x can mean that had x. So, yes, relative clause, but not a pronoun.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 17:35
  • @ Lambie - Don't be cross with me asking questions, please :)
    – philphil
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 18:27

3 Answers 3


It seems his brother had took and died, him as had the estate.

In examples like this and in very informal style (perhaps in regional dialects), "as" can be used without any trace of its usual prepositional or adverbial meanings, and in such cases it is arguable that it has been reanalysed as a subordinator, a variant of "that".

In which case, "as had the estate" may be considered a relative clause, though not in Standard English.

  • Thank you very much. Does arguable mean reasonable/defensible/justifiable in your answer?
    – philphil
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 18:15
  • @philphil See here link
    – BillJ
    Commented Nov 14, 2023 at 8:21
  • Thank you, I understand now: arguable that and arguable whether
    – philphil
    Commented Nov 14, 2023 at 11:30

Mr Carthew had become a landed proprietor because his brother 'as had the estate' (who was the heir to the family estate) had died.


Him as had the estate” in this dialect can be paraphrased as “the one [brother] who had the estate.”

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .