Charley promised willingly, for he was concerned, for Luce's sake, about what people would say should they know of what had occured.

I didn't understand the bold part and its structure with the sentence.
Original Post
An alternate way of forming the present subjunctive part of what's called the 2nd conditional is to use should instead of if, so

... what people would say if they knew

becomes

... what people would say should they know.
The meaning that Richard and Jerry have described means almost the same thing as '...what people would say if they knew of...'

The difference is that the 'should' makes the situation less possible. In other words, the speaker thinks there is not so much possibility that the situation will happen.
Last edited by Rachel, Moderator

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