December 24, 2004

J'y suis, j'y reste.

Geoff's discussion of the usage of stay with an address as complement reminded me of a joke. During the Crimean War when General Patrice de MacMahon, the commander of the French forces, was asked by Lord Raglan, the commander of the British forces, whether he could hold Malakoff fortress, he gave the famous response:

J'y suis, j'y reste.
"Here I am; here I stay." (The story is told in more detail here.) The joke is the mistranslation:
I'm Swiss and I'm spending the night.
This is probably the only funny thing about the Crimean War.
Posted by Bill Poser at December 24, 2004 01:41 AM