An unusual way to describe rhetoric, but apt given that the islands Nicolson is writing about could be home to seals. You can imagine the elephant seal pontificating in front of a board of Commissioners.
‘His rhetoric inflating and wobbling like the proboscis of an elephant seal in front of the Commissioners.’
Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea Room: An Island Life (London: Harper Collins, 2013 (2002)), p. 11
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