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76

He has been on the brink of marrying her. G. Eliot, Dan. Der., II, Ch. XV, 241.

It seemed that her darling was brought back to her not merely with ali the old affection, but with a conscious cherishing of her mother's nearness, such as we give to a possession that we have been on the brink of losing. ib., III, VIII, Ch. LXIV, 323.

3) To be on the eve of requires no comment. To be at the eve of seems to be archaic.

i. He was on the eve of marrying a young lady. Trol, Frami. Pars, Ch. XXXVI, 355.

He was on the eve ofdeparting for the Continent. Watts Dunton, Aylwin, IX, Ch. I, 271.

She was on the eve of doing something which was hardiy ever done by the people amongst whom she lived. Mar. Crawf., Kath. Laud, I, Ch. XII, 211.

ii. The wench appeared to be, as it were, at the eve ofbringing forth a bastard. Fieldino, Tomjones, IV, Ch. X, 55ö.

4) To be on the point of requires no comment. To be at the point of appears to be unusual.

i. Once or twice Jos had beeri on the point of saying something very important. Thack, Van. Fair, I, Ch. VI, 53.

Shelley died when he was on the point of completing his thirtieth year. Symonds, Shelley, Ch. I, 2

ii. I was just at the point of proposing to her. Thack, Van. Fair, II, Ch. VIII, 83.

Note. By the side of the above we also meet .with at point to followed by an infinitive, now used only archaicaily. For illustration see also Ch. XIX, 39, and compare Franz, Shak. G r a m.2, § 622, Anm.

Now 1 think on thee, | My hunger's gone; but even before, I was | At point to sink for food. Shak, Cymb, III, 6, 17.

The foemen seemed at point to gain the rampart. W. Morris, The Earthly Par., The Wand., 27a.

5) 7b be (up)on the ver ge of requires no comment.

We now find him upon the verge of contracting marriage with a woman whom he did not passionately love. Symonds, Shelley, Ch. II, 49. He was on the verge of emigrating to the United States. II. Lond. News, No. 3905, 304.

The trade negotiations with M. Krassin are on the verge of breakingdown. Westm. Gaz, No. 8547, 3a.

71. in the third place attention is drawn to some miscellaneous phrases which also, in a manner, represent an action or state as impending, and, accordingly, bear a close affinity to those mentioned above. i. Yorick was this parson's name ... it had been exactly so spelt for near — I was within an ace of saying nine hundred years. Sterne, Tristr. Shand., I, Ch. XI, 7a.

ii. If by chance, a huge blockhead of a beetle came winging his blundering flight against him, the poor variet was ready to give up the ghost Wash. Irv, Sketch-Bk. No. 32, 348.

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