Basic Englishing

(from Germinal by Emile Zola, translated by Leonard Tancock. Penguin Classics, 1954)

Strikes? Balderdash!’

Another lot of balderdash!’

Balderdash! They’ll never get anywhere with their poppycock!’

If I walked out today they would at once grant me the hundred and fifty, the artful buggers!’

You beastly tike!’

Lumme! it’s none too hot,’ said Catherine, shivering.

Here, you, the toff!’ he called to Etienne.

Well, there’s been another shemozzle….’

Mummy, mummy, it’s late!’

Blast her!’

Alzire, give it a bit of sponge round, will you?’

Oh, get along with you, you ninny!’

Right-oh, I’ll catch you up.’

Good night, mate! I say, do you know that girl Roussie?’

Past nine—well, did you ever!’

Bloody little toad!’ swore Etienne.

Bloody hell! Aren’t we nearly there?’

(from The Black Sheep by Honoré de Balzac, translated by Donald Adamson. Penguin Classics, 1970)

I have had my skull chipped in a duel with my legacy-hunter…who has kicked the bucket.’

The only help the good woman can give me is to kick the bucket as soon as possible….’

If I stay on my pins….’

My master will shut all your traps,’ Kouski replied….

It is best to leg it to New York than moulder away in a pinewood coffin here in France….’

(from The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas, translated by Lord Sudley. Penguin Classics, 1952)

Hi, there!’ he cried.

Hi, there!’ cried Jussac walking up to them and signing to his men to follow him. “Hi, there, you musketeers.”

Hi, there, what’s the hurry?’ cried the two musketeers.

Yes, boob’s just the word for him,’ said Porthos.

And I may tell you, Sir, I ran one of the blighters through with his own sword,’ said Aramis.

I saw him run two of the blighters through….’

My wife’s escaped?’ cried Bonacieux. ‘Oh blast the woman!’

Madame Bonacieux!’ muttered d’Artagnon. ‘By Jove, I’m in luck!’

So you’re frightened of that young whippersnapper, are you?’

That’s awkward,’ went on Athos, talking half to himself and half to d’Artagnon. ‘If I kill you I shall look a bit of an ogre, shan’t I?’

(from L’Assomoir by Emile Zola, translated by Leonard Tancock. Penguin Classics, 1970)

Ain’t my wife daft…! Ain’t she cracked to put me to bed…! Too silly, isn’t it, bang in the middle of the day when you don’t feel like bye-byes!’

And don’t turn your nose up at old Bazouge, because he’s held much grander dames than you in his arms and they have let him deal with them without complaining, being only too glad to go on with their bye-byes in the dark.’

Have they been good boys?’ she asked Madame Boche. ‘I hope they haven’t been driving you potty.’

Of course she trusted Madame Boche, only it drove her quite potty to see a stranger taking over her room….’

It smelt jolly strong—none of your piss-and-water!

Still it …

This article is available to online subscribers only.
Please choose from one of the options below to access this article:

Print Premium Subscription — $94.95

Purchase a print premium subscription (20 issues per year) and also receive online access to all all content on nybooks.com.

Online Subscription — $69.00

Purchase an Online Edition subscription and receive full access to all articles published by the Review since 1963.

If you already have one of these subscriptions, please be sure you are logged in to your nybooks.com account. If you subscribe to the print edition, you may also need to link your web site account to your print subscription. Click here to link your account services.