(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XXV, passage 417/418, published 1892)

It was now the turn of the captain, and there is no doubt he was no longer the man that we have seen; sudden relief, the sense of perfect safety, a square meal and a good glass of grog, had all combined to relax his vigilance and depress his energy.

“When was this done?” asked the doctor, looking at the wound.

“More than a week ago,” replied Wicks, thinking singly of his log.

“Hey?” cried the doctor, and he raised his hand and looked the captain in the eyes.

“I don't remember exactly,” faltered Wicks.

And at this remarkable falsehood, the suspicions of the doctor were at once quadrupled.

“By the way, which of you is called Wicks?” he asked easily.

“What's that?” snapped the captain, falling white as paper.

“Wicks,” repeated the doctor; “which of you is he? that's surely a plain question.”

Wicks stared upon his questioner in silence.

“Which is Brown, then?” pursued the doctor.

“What are you talking of? what do you mean by this?” cried Wicks, snatching his half-bandaged hand away, so that the blood sprinkled in the surgeon's face.

He did not trouble to remove it. Looking straight at his victim, he pursued his questions. “Why must Brown go the same way?” he asked.

Wicks fell trembling on a locker. “Carthew's told you,” he cried.

“No,” replied the doctor, “he has not. But he and you between you have set me thinking, and I think there's something wrong.”

“Give me some grog,” said Wicks. “I'd rather tell than have you find out. I'm damned if it's half as bad as what any one would think.”

And with the help of a couple of strong grogs, the tragedy of the Flying Scud was told for the first time.

I have an issue with the wording between you in the sentence "But he and you between you have set me thinking". I suspect it to be an obsolete wording and means "collectively": "But he and you collectively have set me thinking", as in sentences like

The imperial dictionary of the English language by John Ogilvie

  1. Pertaining to, in the power of, or by the action of two together, or one or other of two; as,

The blame of this lies between you.

You must get that done between you.

They had the watch between them.

  • 1
    There's a nursery rhyme: "Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean / and so between them both, you see, they licked the platter clean." In a sense, the task (of eating fat and lean meat) was divided "between" the two people. Feb 2 at 18:56
  • @AndyBonner I don't think I got the memo...
    – Lambie
    Feb 2 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


No, funnily enough, it isn't obsolete.

It can be used two ways and remain idiomatic:

You and he between you have caused a lot of trouble on the farm.


Between you, you and he have caused a lot of trouble on the farm.

ALSO You have caused a lot of trouble between you.
Between you, you have caused a lot of trouble.

[you is plural in English in the last two examples]

And we would never say "collectively" for two people.

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