Pongs At A Ball In Bath

“my swooning was entirely occasioned by an accidental impression of fetid effluvia upon nerves of uncommon sensibility. I know not how other people’s nerves are constructed; but one would imagine they must be made of very coarse materials, to stand the shock of such a horrid assault. It was, indeed, a compound of villainous smells, in which the most violent stinks, and the most powerful perfumes, contended for the mastery. Imagine to yourself a high exalted essence of mingled odours, arising from putrid gums, imposthumated lungs, sour flatulencies, rank arm-pits, sweating feet, running sores and issues, plasters, ointments, and embrocations, Hungary-water, spirit of lavender, asafoetida drops, musk, hartshorn, and sal volatile; besides a thousand frowsy steams, which I could not analyse. Such, O Dick! is the fragrant ether we breathe in the polite assemblies of Bath; such is the atmosphere I have exchanged for the pure, elastic, animating air of the Welsh mountains.”

Tobias Smollett, The Expedition Of Humphry Clinker (1771)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.