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Doing The Chaws

October 28, 1990

It seemed impossible that Clover Adams, described as having "acerbic wit" in Florence King's review of "The Five of Hearts" by Patricia O'Toole (Sept. 23), could have gotten the good joke about Henry James backwards.

My research (with thanks to the reference staff of the Glendale Public Library) finds the following in a letter from Adams to her father, dated December, 1881: "It is not that he (James) 'bites off more than he can chaw,' as T. G. Appleton said of Nathan, but he chaws more than he bites off."

JOSEPH FUCHS

ALTADENA

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