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    #1

    Down to the quick

    Hello,

    I do not comprehend what exactly the bold text means; can anybody help me?

    I may seem to have used extravagant terms. My friend and I used none. We merely stood in dumb survey of these crusted, butt-like domes of stone, wherein slept Elixir Vitae, whose last echo had been the Choragium of the morning stars.
    God knows there are potent explosives in these latter days. My friend and I had merely the nails upon our fingers, a penknife and a broken pair of scissors in our pockets. We might have scraped seven and seventy score growths of a Nebuchadnezzar's talons down to the quick, and yet have left all but unmarked and unscarred those mossed and monstrous laminae. But we had tasted the untastable, and were refreshed in spirit at least a little more endurably than are the camel-riders of the Sahara dream-ridden by mirage.

    The Vats, Walter de la Mare, 1923

    Thanks a lot.
    Not a Teacher

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Down to the quick

    Have a look at the definition for "quick" (noun) here: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dict...#british-1-4-1
    It might help you to understand.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

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    #3

    Re: Down to the quick

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Have a look at the definition for "quick" (noun) here: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dict...#british-1-4-1
    It might help you to understand.
    I looked up what the quick meant before I asked but still I could not see any connection between it and the text. The link containing the sentence he has bitten his nails to the quick you directed me to in your post makes it all clear to me. Thanks.
    Not a Teacher

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