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“…the lesser of two weevils”

weevil

Two weevils crept from the crumbs. “You see those weevils, Stephen?” said Jack solemnly.

“I do.”

“Which would you choose?”

“There is not a scrap of difference. Arcades ambo. They are the same species of curculio, and there is nothing to choose between them.”

“But suppose you had to choose?”

“Then I should choose the right-hand weevil; it has a perceptible advantage in both length and breadth.”

“There I have you,” cried Jack. “You are bit — you are completely dished. Don’t you know that in the Navy you must always choose the lesser of two weevils? Oh ha, ha, ha, ha!”

For those unfamiliar with “the Canon” as Patrick O’Brian fans are prone to call the Jack Aubrey novels, the above exchange comes from The Fortune of War.

What were these weevils, lesser or greater?

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