Smelly Gentleman

Does anyone know if this story is true? If so, who is the smelly gentleman? It supposedly took place in a carriage, if that helps. The man in question was, I think, a well-known writer. Clever guy, but weak in the personal hygiene department. The conversation went like this:

Lady: “Sir, you smell!”
Man: “Madam, you smell. I stink.”

That rules out the “clever guy” angle.

I insist that the play on words is clever, despite his other distasteful arributes.


IIRC, Dr. Samuel Johnson, the dictionary guy.

I, too, think it was a clever comeback. :o)

Work like you don’t need the money…
Love like you’ve never been hurt…
Dance like nobody’s watching! …Unknown

Gotta get those UBB codes down. :slight_smile:

I, personally, would have much preferred the following repartee: “Madam, I smell. You stink!”

This sounds a bit like some of the exchanges reported between Winston Churchill and Lady Astor. The Dr. Johnson guess also sounds plausible, however. I didn’t find it in Bartlett.


I think you missed the point. As I understand it the apocryphal gentleman was making the point that the verb smell literally means to detect an odor not to emit one. This is the same wordplay that gives the punchline to the joke “How do you keep a skunk from smelling? Cut off his nose.”

For what it’s worth, while I’ve never heard the story before, it does sound like a Samuel Johnson anecdote.

I’ve heard the story several times before, and the odorous gentleman has always been Oscar Wilde. Supposedly he didn’t like to bathe, and instead used strong perfumy scents to mask his B.O, which didn’t work very well.

Ok, since it was mentioned, what are UBB codes, and how do they work? Some of us don’t have the time to become IT professionals along with our regular jobs.

Sorry, just a little blue collar reverse snobbery. Not that my job’s blue collar, it’s just that sometimes I get this “geekier than thou” attitude thrust at me…

Dave, Thou shalt go into the page entitled “FAQ’s”, found at the top of the Board. Therein thou shalt find the answer to the great mystery that is UBB. Thou shalt use UBB, thou shalt mystify many with thy skill and smiley-faces. Get thee hither!

The Samuel Johnson angle reminds me of this probably very apocryphal anecdote:

Mrs. Johnson catches Sam in the act with a local young beauty.

“Samuel, I am surprised!”
“No, Madam, I am surprised. You are chagrined!”
(or something to that effect)

Bunny, be careful with your archaic prepositions. You’ve just invited Dave over to where you happen to be. (If you think he’s cute, hey, go with it! Just don’t be surprised. :wink: ) If you’re trying to get him to go to the FAQ, the word you want to use is ‘hence’.

Whither - to where? Whence - from where?
Hither - to here Hence - from here
Thither - to there Thence - from there

Don’t mess with me, I took a semester of Old English. (And got a serious hangover to prove it! :slight_smile: )

Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

Thank Mike, got it. Still prefer my repartee :wink:

Hey, my dog has no nose.

Does your nose run and your feet smell? If so, you’re built up-side down!