- It's not that he “bites off more than he can chaw,”…but he chaws more than he bites off.
Occasionally true of the writer's husband, Henry Adams, but she was aiming here at the novelist Henry James. The quote is sometimes attributed to Henry James's brother, psychologist William James. The omitted material in the quote reads, “as T. G. Appleton said of Nathan.” Appleton, a minor writer and artist, was a famous conversationalist and is remembered for his epigram on Americans and Paris. Nathan, his father, was a successful businessman and politician. Clover Adams committed suicide in 1885 by ingesting potassium cyanide
letter to her father, Dec. 1881