2

In England, there was scarcely an amount of order and protection to justify much national boasting. Daring burglaries by armed men, and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself every night; families were publicly cautioned not to go out of town without removing their furniture to upholsterers’ warehouses for security; the highwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in the light, and, being recognised and challenged by his fellow-tradesman whom he stopped in his character of “the Captain,” gallantly shot him through the head and rode away;

(Source: A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens.)

I am really wondering what the bold part means. Would any one please shine a light on it in a readily-accessible way?

closed as off-topic by user6951, Chenmunka, ColleenV, Adam, Ben Kovitz Mar 9 '15 at 21:45

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question should include more details than have been provided here. Please edit to add the research you have done in your efforts to answer the question, or provide more context. See: Details, Please." – Community, Chenmunka, ColleenV, Adam
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    What effort have you put into understanding this clause? What specifically do you not understand? Unless you narrow your question, it is too broad and unclear what specific usage in English that you have difficulty with. As such it comes across as a question about reading comprehension, which seems to me is off-topic. – user6951 Mar 9 '15 at 18:48
3

"the highwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in the light, and, being recognised and challenged by his fellow-tradesman whom he stopped in his character of “the Captain,” gallantly shot him through the head and rode away;"

The statement means that a City tradesman was secretly a highwayman who, after being recognised by a friend/colleague, shot the colleague in the head. It then tells of how the highwayman left the area on his horse.

The extract as a whole talks about how no-one could be trusted, even those who you'd think you could (like the later mentioned tradesman.)

-2

Without delving too far (and thus complicating things) it seems that, as an example, there was this one guy who was a legitimate businessman by day but turned out to be an armed robber at night - disguising himself as "The Captain" until he was recognized and killed.

  • 2
    I don't believe that the highway man was the person who was shot, here. – HarryCBurn Mar 9 '15 at 18:39

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.