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The doctor was said to be a king in this island.

The doctor said "I don't want be a king". "I should think, Doctor." said I, "you'd feel rather proud and glad. I wish I had a chance to be a king."

"Oh,I know it sounds grand." said he, pulling on his boots miserably."But the trouble is, you can't take up responsibilities and then just drop them again when you feel like it. I have my own work to do.Scarcely one moment have I had to give to natural history since I landed on this island"

This is from a novel "The voyages of doctor Dolittle".

I can't understand the meaning of this sentence "But the trouble is, you can't take up responsibilities and then just drop them again when you feel like it." Could you teach me? And are I and have in the phrase "one moment have I had to" inversion?

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    1. The difficulty is (that) you can not accept responsibilities and then act as though you did not have them, whenever you wish to forget about them. 2. The inversion occurs because the object (scarcely one moment) begins the sentence. The subject is "I". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 23 '16 at 16:33
  • Thank you for your comment. That is to say, "can't" relates with the verb "drop"? – Yuuichi Tam Jul 23 '16 at 16:50
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    can't applies to the compound verb phrase. "Can't {take up ... and ... then just drop} responsibilities..." You can't just put a tea-bag in a cup of water and then begin to drink it immediately. You must let the tea steep. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 23 '16 at 19:09
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This sentence means to keep one's word. If I say I can serve 1000 pizzas by 9pm and I fail to achieve this task, I've not kept my word. (my commitment).

Paraphrase:

The problem is: you can not accept tasks (duties or commitments) if you are not going to complete them.

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