Foreign Eloquences

Perplexed by a passage in the Douglas Ainslie translation of Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly I look at the French Du Dandyism

Il resta, il est vrai, incorrect et Anglais dans notre langue, comme toutes ces bouches accoutumées à mâcher le caillou saxon et à parler au bord des mers


It is true that he remained English and incorrect when speaking our language, like all those that are accustomed to chew the Saxon pebble and to speak on the sea shore

Revised to strengthen the allusion to Demosthenes and to carry over the synecdoche:

He remained, truly, unidiomatic and English in our language, as are all mouths filled with Saxon pebbles and used to addressing the waves

There is it seems a greater distance between "chewing" and "swallowing" in French. And chewing involves the tongue muscle to a degree that one would not risk chipping a tooth. Hence the need in English for the expression "to chew on".

And so for day 104