I would like to know what "for bad's come over her" means in the following sentences:

I even went to a policeman, a good enough sort of man, but a fellow I'd never spoke to before because of his livery, and I asks him if his 'cuteness could find any thing out for us. So I believe he asks other policemen; and one on 'em had seen a wench, like our Esther, walking very quickly, with a bundle under her arm, on Tuesday night, toward eight o'clock, and get into a hackney coach, near Hulme Church, and we don't know th' number, and can't trace it no further. I'm sorry enough for the girl, for bad's come over her, one way or another, but I'm sorrier for my wife. She loved her next to me and Mary, and she's never been the same body since poor Tom's death.

In this novel published in 1848 in the United Kingdom, Barton's wife's sister, Esther, has mysterious disappeared, wearing her Sunday gown, from her lodging house owned by Mrs. Bradshaw.

So Barton is telling his friend how he tried hard to find out anything about Esther, even asking a policeman to search for her.

Barton is in a way sorry for Esther, "for bad's come over her," but he thinks Esther has gone off with somebody and doesn't take seriously about her disappearance. (He was not on friendly terms with Esther, because he had always disapproved of her behavior, including spending money on her dress and stopping out until late at night.)

Meanwhile, Barton's wife takes on very sadly about Esther, and thinks Esther has drowned herself and is terribly worried.

In this part, I could not clearly understand what Barton intended to say.

I would very much appreciate your help. :)

  • It means "for something bad has come over her."
    – Peter Shor
    Aug 15, 2020 at 11:03
  • Dear Peter Shor, thank you very much for the reply. Then does it mean that "because some bad accident has happened to her"? Or perhaps, "because some bad emotion has seized her"? I searched the expression "come over" and there was some definition regarding emotional influence, as in "I don't know what came over me," so I became curious. Aug 15, 2020 at 16:43
  • It might mean any of these things; you have to narrow it down through context.
    – Peter Shor
    Aug 15, 2020 at 16:55
  • 1
    @PeterShor Could you please post an answer with your interpretation of the meaning? Comments aren't really intended for answering questions.
    – Tsundoku
    Aug 18, 2020 at 17:09

1 Answer 1


It means "for something bad has come over her." What exactly does that mean? It's really vague (since Barton doesn't know what happened), but the general meaning is that something bad has happened to her.

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