“In which case, sir, and having with your gracious permission purged myself of error, I would now like to touch upon the matter of the proper proportion between the nose and its associated face. If I were simply to discuss noses in disregard of their relation to other entities, then I would declare without fear of contradiction that the nose of Mrs. Goldfield is superb, superlative, and, though possibly supervacaneous, one well-placed to win first prize at any exhibition of nasal development which might be organized by the long-nosed goblins on Mount Kurama.An epic literary shiv! That response to the rickshaw-owner's wife practically defines the acronym BTFO. In general, less is more when it comes to intersexual communications, but in the hands of a master wordsmith, sometimes more really is more. To put it in perspective, this is the end of a long, multi-page soliloquy in which Waverhouse is utterly demolishing the unfortunate Mrs. Goldmoon, a wealthy woman who has irritated him with her pretentions, solely on the basis of her appearance.
“But alas! And even alack! That nose appears to have been formed, fashioned, dare I say fabricated, without any regard for the configuration of such other major items as the eyes and mouth. Julius Caesar was undoubtedly dowered with a very fine nose. But what do you think would be the result if one scissored off that Julian beak and fixed it on the face of this cat here? Cats’ foreheads are proverbially diminutive. To raise the tower of Caesar’s boned proboscis on such a tiny site would be like plonking down on a chessboard the giant image of Buddha now to be seen at Nara. The juxtaposing of disproportionate elements destroys aesthetic value. Mrs. Goldfield’s nose, like that of Caesar’s, is, as a thing in itself, a most dignified and majestic protuberance. But how does it appear in relation to its surroundings? Of course those circumjacent areas are not quite so barren of aesthetic merit as the face of this cat.
“Nevertheless, it is a bloated face, the face of an epileptic skivvy whose eyebrows meet in a sharp-pitched gable above thin tilted eyes. Gentlemen, I ask you, what sort of nose could ever survive so lamentable a face?”
As Waverhouse paused, a voice could be heard from the back of the house. “He’s still going on about noses. What a spiteful bore he is.”
“That’s the wife of the rickshaw-owner,” my master explains to Waverhouse.
Waverhouse resumes. “It is a great, if unexpected, honor for this present lecturer to discover at, as it were, the back of the hall an interested listener of the gentle sex. I am especially gratified that a gleam of charm should be added to my arid lecture by the bell-sweet voice of this new participant. It is, indeed, a happiness unlooked for, a serendipity. To be worthy of our beautiful lady’s patronage I would gladly alter the academic style of this discourse into a more popular mode, but, as I am just about to discuss a problem in mechanics, the unavoidably technical terminology may prove a trifle difficult for the ladies to comprehend. I must therefore beg them to be patient.”
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Maintaining frame, Japan edition
This is the end of a hilarious scene from Natsume Soseki's 1905 novel I am a Cat. Talk about amused mastery!