VERBS, AUXILIARY. Should in questions and dependent sentencesShould was hence used in direct questions about the past, where shall was used about the future. Thus, "How shall the enemy break in?" i.e. "How is the enemy to break in?" became, when referred to the past, "How was the enemy to break in?"
“I was employ'd in passing to and fro
About relieving of the sentinels.
Then how or which way should they first break in?
i.e. "what was this (destined, likely) to mean?" It seems to increase the emphasis of the interrogation, since a doubt about the past (time having been given for investigation) implies more perplexity than a doubt about the future. So we still say, "Who could it be?" "How old might you be?"
“What should this mean?
i.e. "what could there be," "what might there be." "Shall," "may," and the modern "can," are closely connected in meaning.
“What should be in that Cæsar?
In the following instance, should depends upon a verb in the present; but the verb follows the dependent clause, which may, therefore, be regarded as practically an independent question.
“Where should he have this gold?
“What it should be . . . I cannot dream of.
“Put not yourself into amazement how should these things be.