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"Evans the Break" as the prison officers called him. Thrice he'd excaped from prison, and but for the recent wave of unrest in the maximum security establishments up north, he wouldn't now be gracing the governor's premises in Oxford; and the Governor was going to make absolutely certain that he wouldn't be disgracing them. Not that Evans was a real burden: just a persistent, nagging presence. He'd be all right in Oxford, though: the Governor would see to that-would see to it personally.

What does this paragraph mean? Was Evans being shifted from Oxford? Is he being shifted to Oxford prison? What's with the 'and but for the recent...'

From what I infer it sounds like he was staying at the Governor's premises and now being shifted to Oxford, but that doesn't add up.

Here's the pdf version of the story for a quick read: https://ncert.nic.in/textbook/pdf/levt107.pdf

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2
  • He was staying at the governor's premises at Oxford. If there weren't for the recent wave of unrest he would have been sent north (note: Oxford is in the south of England)
    – slebetman
    May 14 at 11:15
  • The phrase "he'd be all right in Oxford" means "he'd be all right staying at the governor's premises"
    – slebetman
    May 14 at 11:17

2 Answers 2

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Thrice he'd excaped from prison, and but for the recent wave of unrest in the maximum security establishments up north, he wouldn't now be gracing the governor's premises in Oxford

This means that his previous escapes would normally qualify him for a maximum security prison, with more stringent measures to prevent escape. However, currently there's some sort of "unrest", probably riots or other trouble, that has led to him instead being assigned to Oxford prison, which is not quite as secure. He is currently at Oxford prison as he prepares for his German exam.

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  • How do you then explain the following line he'd be alright in oxford...? It essentially means that Evans would be alright in Oxford, signifying that he is being moved to Oxford. But the Governor is already the govnr. of Oxford Prison. So how does it translate coherently May 12 at 14:23
  • 1
    @jeeapirrazzo He is already there. And, for his future, the governor is saying that he'll be "alright" there, continuing to stay (and not escape). May 12 at 14:29
  • @jeeapirrazzo note also from the line before: 'the Governor was going to make absolutely certain that he wouldn't be disgracing them'. He would be alright and he wouldn't be a disgrace refer to future events, not possibilities.
    – mcalex
    May 13 at 3:27
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"but for the recent wave of unrest" = fancy phrase for if it hadn't been OR except for the recent wave of unrest.

"governor's premises in Oxford" = humorous reference to the Oxford jail.

"he'll be all right there" = humorous/facetious way of stating the Governor will make sure personally that Evan does not cause problems in the Oxford jail.

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