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Not at Home


Scipio Nasica was intimate with the poet Ennius. One day, calling on the poet, the servant said, “Ennius is not at home,” but Nasica could see him plainly in the house. Well, he simply walked away without a word. A few days later Ennius returned the visit, and Nasica called out, “Not at home.” Ennius instantly recognised the voice, and remonstrated. “You are a nice fellow” (said Nasica); “why, I believed your slave, and you wonʹt believe me.”

This tale is often attributed to Dean Swift but, if authentic, it was a borrowed mot.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Nose-bag (A)
Nose Literature
Nose Tax (The)
Nose of Wax (A)
Nose Out of Joint
Nosnot-Bocai [Bo-ky]
Nostradamus (Michael)
Not at Home
Not Worth a Rap
Not Worth a Rush
Not Worth a Straw
Not Worth Your Salt
Notables (in French history)
Notary Public
Notation or Notes
Note of Hand (A)