“You can feel it in your olfactory,” as Loudoun Wainwright famously phrased it.
…which is the subject of this editorial in the Atlanta Intelligencer of July 2, 1864. Under title of “The City,” the paper’s editors commented on a big rainstorm that suddenly hit the city the day before, causing everybody in the streets to scurry for cover.
Then they proceeded to a topic which they called:
PERFUMERY AND SICKNESS.
There is an enormous perfumery establishment spread out over the surface of our goodly city. Not only seventy truly and well-defined stinks are appreciable to the obfactories of our citizens, but in numerous places there are scents as though the triple distilled extract of the quintessence of stink was being brewed there. Numbers of yards in the rear of buildings are perfect seeth-pools of filth and nastiness. The noses of he most hardened wagon-yard men curl at he overpowering odor. The gutters are
NUISANCES AND ABOMINATIONS.
Their condition is a living, stinking disgrace to the custodians of the city’s welfare. No city of equal pretensions or one-tenth the importance that Atlanta has assumed in our country, is so thoroughly neglected in all the necessary attentions which healthfulness requires. A sanitary commission from Tophet would bring to judgment and punish the guardians of our city for wilfully permitting such outrageous nuisances and neglect of the proper sanitary precautions against Bronze Jack and Cholera.
THE INTOLERABLE RAILROAD CROSSING,
On Whitehall street, is not the least stinking place in the city, It is said that even the rats have become disgusted with the filth and stench that has accumulated beneath those horrible planks and abandoned the neighborhood. All doubts on the subject of horrible stinks can be dispelled by a visit and a view of the gutters along side of the railroad.
We hope the sanitary board will nose out these festering spots, these death pools, on the fair face as well as fame of our beautiful city and abate their malignance and dangerous, poisonous exhalations. For fear that some of the city guardians may not understand that last big word, and that they may not have access to a lexicon–sometimes called a dictionary, we inform them that its definition is unhealthy, sickness breeding stink; stinking stink-k-k-k.
At least Wainwright’s malodorous source was a dead skunk in the middle of the road!