Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The New Doctrine of Odorific Effluvia

Miscellaneous Works of Dr. William Wagstaffe, 2nd ed. (London: Jonah Bowyer, 1726), pp. 89-92:
I cannot but take Notice of one Circumstance before I conclude, which may serve to shew to what an Height of Folly, Ambition or Success may raise a Man. Bob, it seems, was mightily addicted to breaking Wind backwards, and nothing could offend him more, than to see the Uneasiness it gave his Adversaries. Accordingly he took Occasion, the next time the Convention met, to acquaint them, That notwithstanding he often broke Wind, yet he never perceived any Smell attended it. This immediately was admitted into their Belief, and propagated throughout the whole Kingdom, with all the Industry imaginable. It was the Discourse of the Ladies over their Tea, and debated everywhere; all the Party attesting the Truth of it, with their usual Modesty. A Chymist, who wrote in his Defence, affirmed publickly, That breaking Wind, being nothing else but a Volatile Spirit, extracted from the Vital Sulphur of the Zibethum Occidentale, wherein consisted the Essence of Life, and the Virtual Powers of all Being, a Mystery not to be comprehended by Lower Intelligences, it was impossible the Olfactories should be attacked by any foetid or putrid Effluvia.

The Majority of the Nation, who for a long Time together had tamely submitted to the Usurpations of Bob Hush, were now no longer to be deluded by the Cant of Chymistry and Enthusiasm, but resolved to assert the Prerogative of their Senses; and several who had been led Blindfold by him, had their Eyes opened. The new Doctrine of Odorific Effluvia was every where exploded and condemned, to the great Mortification of declining Bob, who either because he could not gain his Point, or because the Testimonies about that Time exhibited against him, might endanger either his Life or his Estate, or for some other Reasons best known to himself, left the Kingdom of Fairy-Land. Thus sneaked off that Champion of his Cause, who for so many Years together, had been the Discourse of the whole World, into a sort of voluntary Banishment, to the Ruin of his Party, and the Joy of all good Men, declaring publickly, He left left his Country, because he was not treated according to his Merit; when in reality it was because he could not prevail upon them to believe, he smelt sweet.

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