Lapin: rabbit / “lapped the sweet lait chaud”

Talking to a French-speaking relative the other day, he said he’d been startled earlier that morning when, from behind the trash cans, a very large leopard leapt out at him. A leopard? I said (This relative lives in a densely urban region of the United States.) A leopard he then said?–no— gradually withdrawing the assertion. No: a rabbit, a rabbit, un lapin in French. “But,” he added, as if it made no difference whether leopard or lapin, “it was a large, muscular rabbit. And it quite surprised me….”

I happen also to have just come across a lapin mention in Ulysses, along with some word play about laps (Part 1, pp 41):

Patrice, home on furlough, lapped warm milk with me in the bar MacMahon. Son of the wild goose, Kevin Egan of Paris. My father’s a bird, he lapped the sweet lait chaud with pink young tongue, plump bunny’s face. Lap, lapin. He hopes to win in the gros lot. About the nature of women he read in Michelet. But he must send me La Vie de Jesus by M. Leo Taxil. Lent it to his friend.

(gros lots)

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