Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344


-------- all people went
Upon their ten toes in wild wonderment.

--_ Bishop Hall's Satires_.

I AM - that is to say I was - a great man; but I am neither the
author of Junius nor the man in the mask; for my name, I believe, is
Robert Jones, and I was born somewhere in the city of Fum-Fudge.

The first action of my life was the taking hold of my nose with
both hands. My mother saw this and called me a genius: my father wept
for joy and presented me with a treatise on Nosology. This I mastered
before I was breeched.

I now began to feel my way in the science, and soon came to
understand that, provided a man had a nose sufficiently conspicuous
he might, by merely following it, arrive at a Lionship. But my
attention was not confined to theories alone. Every morning I gave my
proboscis a couple of pulls and swallowed a half dozen of drams.

When I came of age my father asked me, one day, If I would step
with him into his study.

"My son," said he, when we were seated, "what is the chief end of
your existence?"

"My father," I answered, "it is the study of Nosology."

"And what, Robert," he inquired, "is Nosology?"

"Sir," I said, "it is the Science of Noses."

"And can you tell me," he demanded, "what is the meaning of a

"A nose, my father;" I replied, greatly softened, "has been
variously defined by about a thousand different authors." [Here I
pulled out my watch.] "It is now noon or thereabouts - we shall have
time enough to get through with them all before midnight. To commence
then: - The nose, according to Bartholinus, is that protuberance --
that bump - that excrescence - that - "

"Will do, Robert," interrupted the good old gentleman. "I am
thunderstruck at the extent of your information - I am positively --
upon my soul." [Here he closed his eyes and placed his hand upon his
heart.] "Come here!" [Here he took me by the arm.] "Your education
may now be considered as finished - it is high time you should
scuffle for yourself - and you cannot do a better thing than merely
follow your nose -- so - so - so - " [Here he kicked me down stairs
and out of the door] - "so get out of my house, and God bless you!"

As I felt within me the divine afflatus, I considered this
accident rather fortunate than otherwise. I resolved to be guided by
the paternal advice. I determined to follow my nose. I gave it a pull
or two upon the spot, and wrote a pamphlet on Nosology forthwith.

All Fum-Fudge was in an uproar.

"Wonderful genius!" said the Quarterly.

"Superb physiologist!" said the Westminster.

"Clever fellow!" said the Foreign.

"Fine writer!" said the Edinburgh.

"Profound thinker!" said the Dublin.

"Great man!" said Bentley.

"Divine soul!" said Fraser.

"One of us!" said Blackwood.

"Who can he be?" said Mrs. Bas-Bleu.

"What can he be?" said big Miss Bas-Bleu.

"Where can he be?" said little Miss Bas-Bleu. - But I paid these
people no attention whatever - I just stepped into the shop of an

The Duchess of Bless-my-Soul was sitting for her portrait; the
Marquis of So-and-So was holding the Duchess' poodle; the Earl of
This-and-That was flirting with her salts; and his Royal Highness of
Touch-me-Not was leaning upon the back of her chair.

I approached the artist and turned up my nose.

"Oh, beautiful!" sighed her Grace.

"Oh my!" lisped the Marquis.

"Oh, shocking!" groaned the Earl.

"Oh, abominable!" growled his Royal Highness.

"What will you take for it?" asked the artist.

"For his nose!" shouted her Grace.

"A thousand pounds," said I, sitting down.

"A thousand pounds?" inquired the artist, musingly.

"A thousand pounds," said I.

"Beautiful!" said he, entranced.

"A thousand pounds," said I.

"Do you warrant it?" he asked, turning the nose to the light.

"I do," said I, blowing it well.

"Is it quite original?" he inquired; touching it with reverence.

"Humph!" said I, twisting it to one side.

"Has no copy been taken?" he demanded, surveying it through a

"None," said I, turning it up.

"Admirable!" he ejaculated, thrown quite off his guard by the beauty
of the manoeuvre.

"A thousand pounds," said I.

"A thousand pounds?" said he.

"Precisely," said I.

"A thousand pounds?" said he.

"Just so," said I.

"You shall have them," said he. "What a piece of virtu!" So he drew
me a check upon the spot, and took a sketch of my nose. I engaged
rooms in Jermyn street, and sent her Majesty the ninety-ninth edition
of the "Nosology," with a portrait of the proboscis. - That sad
little rake, the Prince of Wales, invited me to dinner.

We were all lions and recherchés.

There was a modern Platonist. He quoted Porphyry, Iamblicus,
Plotinus, Proclus, Hierocles, Maximus Tyrius, and Syrianus.

There was a human-perfectibility man. He quoted Turgot, Price,
Priestly, Condorcet, De Stael, and the "Ambitious Student in Ill

There was Sir Positive Paradox. He observed that all fools were
philosophers, and that all philosophers were fools.

There was Æstheticus Ethix. He spoke of fire, unity, and atoms;
bi-part and pre-existent soul; affinity and discord; primitive
intelligence and homöomeria.

There was Theologos Theology. He talked of Eusebius and Arianus;
heresy and the Council of Nice; Puseyism and consubstantialism;
Homousios and Homouioisios.

There was Fricassée from the Rocher de Cancale. He mentioned Muriton
of red tongue; cauliflowers with velouté sauce; veal à la St.
Menehoult; marinade à la St. Florentin; and orange jellies en

There was Bibulus O'Bumper. He touched upon Latour and Markbrünnen;
upon Mousseux and Chambertin; upon Richbourg and St. George; upon
Haubrion, Leonville, and Medoc; upon Barac and Preignac; upon Grâve,
upon Sauterne, upon Lafitte, and upon St. Peray. He shook his head at
Clos de Vougeot, and told, with his eyes shut, the difference between
Sherry and Amontillado.

There was Signor Tintontintino from Florence. He discoursed of
Cimabué, Arpino, Carpaccio, and Argostino - of the gloom of
Caravaggio, of the amenity of Albano, of the colors of Titian, of the
frows of Rubens, and of the waggeries of Jan Steen.

There was the President of the Fum-Fudge University. He was of
opinion that the moon was called Bendis in Thrace, Bubastis in Egypt,
Dian in Rome, and Artemis in Greece. There was a Grand Turk from
Stamboul. He could not help thinking that the angels were horses,
cocks, and bulls; that somebody in the sixth heaven had seventy
thousand heads; and that the earth was supported by a sky-blue cow
with an incalculable number of green horns.

There was Delphinus Polyglott. He told us what had become of the
eighty-three lost tragedies of Æschylus; of the fifty-four orations
of Isæus; of the three hundred and ninety-one speeches of Lysias; of
the hundred and eighty treatises of Theophrastus; of the eighth book
of the conic sections of Apollonius; of Pindar's hymns and
dithyrambics; and of the five and forty tragedies of Homer Junior.

There was Ferdinand Fitz-Fossillus Feltspar. He informed us all about
internal fires and tertiary formations; about äeriforms, fluidiforms,
and solidiforms; about quartz and marl; about schist and schorl;
about gypsum and trap; about talc and calc; about blende and
horn-blende; about mica-slate and pudding-stone; about cyanite and
lepidolite; about hematite and tremolite; about antimony and
calcedony; about manganese and whatever you please.

There was myself. I spoke of myself; - of myself, of myself, of
myself; - of Nosology, of my pamphlet, and of myself. I turned up my
nose, and I spoke of myself.

"Marvellous clever man!" said the Prince.

"Superb!" said his guests: - and next morning her Grace of
Bless-my-Soul paid me a visit.

"Will you go to Almack's, pretty creature?" she said, tapping me
under the chin.

"Upon honor," said I.

"Nose and all?" she asked.

"As I live," I replied.

"Here then is a card, my life. Shall I say you will be there?"

"Dear Duchess, with all my heart."

"Pshaw, no! - but with all your nose?"

"Every bit of it, my love," said I: so I gave it a twist or two, and
found myself at Almack's. The rooms were crowded to suffocation.

"He is coming!" said somebody on the staircase.

"He is coming!" said somebody farther up.

"He is coming!" said somebody farther still.

"He is come!" exclaimed the Duchess. "He is come, the little love!" -
and, seizing me firmly by both hands, she kissed me thrice upon the
nose. A marked sensation immediately ensued.

"Diavolo!" cried Count Capricornutti.

"Dios guarda!" muttered Don Stiletto.

"Mille tonnerres!" ejaculated the Prince de Grenouille.

"Tousand teufel!" growled the Elector of Bluddennuff.

It was not to be borne. I grew angry. I turned short upon

"Sir!" said I to him, "you are a baboon."

"Sir," he replied, after a pause, "Donner und Blitzen!"

This was all that could be desired. We exchanged cards. At
Chalk-Farm, the next morning, I shot off his nose - and then called
upon my friends.

"Bête!" said the first.

"Fool!" said the second.

"Dolt!" said the third.

"Ass!" said the fourth.

"Ninny!" said the fifth.

"Noodle!" said the sixth.

"Be off!" said the seventh.

At all this I felt mortified, and so called upon my father.

"Father," I asked, "what is the chief end of my existence?"

"My son," he replied, "it is still the study of Nosology; but in
hitting the Elector upon the nose you have overshot your mark. You
have a fine nose, it is true; but then Bluddennuff has none. You are
damned, and he has become the hero of the day. I grant you that in
Fum-Fudge the greatness of a lion is in proportion to the size of his
proboscis - but, good heavens! there is no competing with a lion who
has no proboscis at all."

Edgar Allan Poe