SMELL

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SMELL. Tlie sense of smell is that by means of which we perceive the line effluvia which arise from bodies. The delicate mucous membrane, which lines die internal parts of die nose, and through which the olfactory nerve, descending from the brain, is distributed, is die sole organ of this sense. The air, passing through the nose, brings the effluvia, or odoriferous parts of bodies, into contact with, the nerve ; the nerve transmits the impression to the brain, by means of which it is perceived by the mind.' The moisture of the membrane above named is essential to the perfection of the smell. This sense is intimately connected with the respiration, and the whole life of the animal, and is most nearly related to the sense of taste \ and many of the objects of the two,senses are the same. The fine odoriferous effluvia of bodies are of incredible tenuity. Suppose, for instance, what daily experience teaches us is possible, that, with a portion of oil of lavender only one line square, we perfume a chamber eighteen feet long, as many broad, and ten feet high, and containing 3240 cubic feet, or 466,560 cubic lines, and suppose, moreover, that in each cubic line there are floating but four of the odoriferous particles, we shall then find that one cubic line of oil may be divided into 1,866,240 odoriferous particles. If a piece of ambergris, weighing 100 grains, is left upon a balance which is sensible to the smallest part of a grain, in an open chamber, notwithstanding there is a free draught of air from without, the chamber is filled with the odoriferous particles ; and yet, at the end of five and a half days, not the smallest diminution of the ambergris is perceptible ; from which the extreme fineness of the effluvia may be inferred. (See Sense.)