I've been reading Kipps by H. G. Wells, and I came across this sentence, which I am having trouble understanding.

They (the protagonist Kipps and his friend Sid) proceeded to the question of how two accomplished Hurons might most satisfactorily spend the morning. Manifestly their line lay straight along the lane to the sea.

I don't quite get what Wells means by "their line lay straight along the lane to the sea". What does "line" mean in this context? And to whom is the pronoun "their" referring? The Hurons or Kipps and Sid? I am not a native speaker of English so if anyone can help shed some light on this, I'd really appreciate it. Thank you!

1 Answer 1


The Hurons are a native American nation. In context, it seems that Kipps and his friends have been accustomed to play at being Hurons:

He set himself to whistle a peculiarly penetrating arrangement of three notes supposed by the boys of the Hastings Academy and himself and Sid Pornick, for no earthly reason whatever, to be the original Huron war-cry.

We can guess that the boys have been reading historical fiction set in America, for example the hugely popular The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, and they have been playing at aspects of Huron life described therein. So the “two accomplished Hurons” are Kipps and Sid.

“Manifestly” means “clearly”; “their” refers to Kipps and Sid; and “line” means “track, course, direction” (OED). So the meaning of the passage is that if Kipps and Sid are to play at being Hurons, their best course would be to go down the lane to the sea.

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    I think because I couldn't place my finger on the meaning of the word "line" in this context, I thought the first and the second sentences didn't seem to flow logistically together. Now that you've explained it, it makes complete sense! Thank you! Sep 15, 2019 at 17:02

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