Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This is a sentence from a book I'm translating, the one before that is "The first thing I met was a regiment of the vilest odors that ever assaulted the human nose, and took it by storm." So, what is the author implying by this "Cologne" sentence?

share|improve this question
    
What is the original language? 'Cologne' is both the name of a big town in Germany -and- a kind of men's perfume (that actually smells nice). –  Mitch May 17 '13 at 12:50
add comment

1 Answer 1

The author is implying that Cologne is extremely malodourous (seven and seventy evil savours is a poetic way of putting it) but the smell in Cologne is immensely preferable to the niff he is currently describing; by comparison the smell in Cologne is very pleasant: was a posy-bed [compared] to it.

share|improve this answer
    
Very helpful, thanks a lot! –  Sarah Hsu May 17 '13 at 11:51
    
@SarahHsu you can accept the answer –  mplungjan May 17 '13 at 11:56
    
Sounds like the protagonist was wearing cologne, and the stuff was fullfilling one of its age old purposes: rendering offensive odors less objectionable. –  Wayfaring Stranger May 17 '13 at 12:50
    
@WayfaringStranger, could be. I hadn't thought of that. On the other hand, even if you don't find eau-de-cologne the most agreeable scent, it isn't usually said to have seven and seventy evil savours. –  Brian Hooper May 17 '13 at 12:56
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.