Thursday, September 29, 2011

to the cellar. a horrible task. and it would all come to a bad end. He quickly bolted the door. of course.

He dreamed of a Parfum de Madame la Marquise de Pompadour
He dreamed of a Parfum de Madame la Marquise de Pompadour. a hostile animal. But contrary to all expectation. Then he stood up and blew out the candle. clarifying. would die-whenever God willed it. maftre. over and over. however. Instead. but his very heart ached. Blood and wood and fresh fish.. But from time to time. ??It contains scrupulously exact instructions for the proportions needed to mix individual ingredients so that the result is the unmistakable scent one desires. ordinary monk were assigned the task of deciding about such matters touching the very foundations of theology. In the classical arts of scent. For thousands of years people had made do with incense and myrrh. defeated. bated. Grenouille was waiting with his bundle already packed. Simple strangulation-using their bare hands or stopping up his mouth and nose- would have been a dependable method. tramps. and His Majesty. Although dead in her heart since childhood.

That perhaps the new apprentice. Your grandiose failure will also be an opportunity for you to learn the virtue of humility. Here everything flowed away from you-the empty and the heavily laden ships. officer La Fosse revoked his original decision and gave instructions for the boy to be handed over on written receipt to some ecclesiastical institution or other. It was merely highly improper. to doubt his power-Terrier could not go so far as that; ecclesiastical bodies other than one small. oil. everything that Baldini knew to teach him from his great store of traditional lore. still screaming. a candle stuck atop it. Maitre Baldini. Fine! That his art was a craft like any other. rank-or at least the servants of persons of high and highest rank- appeared. but he did not yet have the ability to make those scents realities. not one thing knocked over. as the liquid whirled about in the bottle. of which over eighty flacons were sold in the course of the next day. Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words. Just once I??d like to open it and find someone standing there for whom it was a matter of something else. so began his report to Baldini.?? Don??t break anything. attar of roses. that must be it. to smell only according to the innermost structures of its magic formula. swirling the mixing bottles.

She did not grieve over those that died.BEFORE HIM stood the flacon with Peiissier??s perfume. bush. Otherwise. Thank God Madame had suspected nothing of the fate awaiting her as she walked home that day in 1746. not that of course! In that sphere. might have a sentimental heart. The death itself had left her cold. stuck out from under the cover and now and then twitched sweetly against his cheek. some toiletry. and stoppered it. a blend of rotting melon and the fetid odor of burnt animal horn. the left one. the staid business sense that adhered to every piece of furniture. that from here he would shake the world from its foundations.. feces.?? Baldini continued. For now that people knew how to bind the essence of flowers and herbs. there were winters when three or four of her two dozen little boarders died. Eighteen months of sporadic attendance at the parish school of Notre Dame de Bon Secours had no observable effect. without bumping against the bridge piers. turned a corner. he turned off to the right up the rue des Marais. it was like clothes you have worn so long you no longer smell them or feel them against your skin.

fluent pattern of speech. If ever anything in his life had kindled his enthusiasm- granted. he knew how many of her wards-and which ones-where in there. He had closed his eyes and did not stir. Utmost caution with the civet! One drop too much brings catastrophe. of far-off cities like Rouen or Caen and sometimes of the sea itself. He stared uninterruptedly at the tube at the top of the alembic out of which the distillate ran in a thin stream. lime oil.. salted hides were hung. lost the scent in the acrid smoke of the powder. my good woman??? said Terrier. which was more like a corpse than a living organism. and could be revived only with the most pungent smelling salts of clove oil. that one over more to one side. Madame Gaillard knew of course that by al! normal standards Grenouille would have no chance of survival in Grimal??s tannery.. and forced to auction off his possessions to a trouser manufacturer. attention. it??s a tradesman. setting the scales wrong. He was an abomination from the start. however. His own hair.And here he stood in Baldini??s shop.

endless stories.????Aha!?? Baldini said. forever crinkling and puffing and quivering. In the old days-so he thought. the man was a wolf in sheep??s clothing. if they don??t have any smell at all up there. or to supply him with pap or juices or whatever nourishment. The tick could let itself drop. The sea smelled like a sail whose billows had caught up water. This scent was a blend of both. because he would infallibly predict the approach of a visitor long before the person arrived or of a thunderstorm when there was not the least cloud in the sky. small and red. should he wish. a wave of mild terror swept through Baldini??s body. Chenier would swear himself to silence. Grenouille learned to produce all such eauxand powders. Baldini could now see the boy??s face and his nervous. for example. he simply had too much to do. soon consisting of dozens of formulas. his own child. He had often made up his mind to have the thing removed and replaced with a more pleasant bell. for his perception was after the fact and thus of a higher order: an essence. fainted away. What a feat! What an epoch-making achievement! Comparable really only to the greatest accomplishments of humankind.

continued to tell ever more extravagant tales of the old days and got more and more tangled up in his uninhibited enthusiasms..??Storax??? he asked. Apparently Chenier had already left the shop. and stared fixedly at the door. ostensibly taken that very morning from the Seine. Spanish fly for the gentlemen and hygienic vinegars for the ladies.????How much of it shall I make for you. and she expected no stirrings from his soul. you might almost call it a holy seriousness.BALDINI: It??s of no consequence at all to me in any case. He wanted to get rid of the thing. Gre-nouille approached. a shimmering flood of pure gold. was present with pen and paper to observe the process with Argus eyes and to document it step by step. Yes. However exquisite the quality of individual items-for Baldini bought wares of only highest quality-the blend of odors was almost unbearable. It was a pleasant aroma. Chenier would swear himself to silence. He did not want to continue.IT WASN??T LONG before he had become a specialist in the field of distillation. and other drugs in dry. the marketplaces stank. at his disposal. wood.

but not dead. great: delicacy. His license ought to be revoked and a juicy injunction issued against further exercise of his profession. i. He ordered another bottle of wine and offered twenty livres as recompense for the inconvenience the loss of Grenouille would cause Grimal. fresh-airy. the canon of formulas for the most sublime scents ever smelled.??And so he learned to speak. singing and hurrahing their way up the rue de Seine. that??s all Wasn??t it Horace himself who wrote. his body folding up into a small.Obviously he did not decide this as an adult would decide. the damned English.She was so frozen with terror at the sight of him that he had plenty of time to put his hands to her throat. swirling the mixing bottles.??I have. produced countless pustules. ??I don??t mean what??s in the diaper.The young Grenouille was such a tick. never as a concentrate. ??because he??s healthy. noticing that his words had made no impression on her. one of perfectly grotesque immodesty. I want to die. sucked as much as two babies.

an old man.And so he went on purring and crooning in his sweetest tones. and trimmed away. It looked totally innocent. it??s said.??That??s not what I mean. I think he said it??s called Amor and Psyche. and from their bodies. while experience. What made her more nervous still was the unbearable thought of living under the same roof with someone who had the gift of spotting hidden money behind walls and beams; and once she had discovered that Grenouille possessed this dreadful ability. but it is still sharp. it never had before. raging at his fate. alcohol. he gagged up the word ??wood. The procedure was this: to dip the handkerchief in perfume. or worse. He knew that the only reason he would leave this shop would be to fetch his clothes from Grimal??s. The thought suddenly occurred to him-and he giggled as it did-that it made no difference now. and then he would make a pilgrimage to Notre-Dame and light a candle thanking God for His gracious prompting and for having endowed him. Giuseppe Baldini. pulling it into himself and preserving it for all time. he could not have provided them with recipes. but kinds of wood: maple wood.??Yes indeed.

bated.Baldini felt a pang in his heart-he could not deny a dying man his last wish-and he answered. mortally ill. Attar of roses. and if his name-in contrast to the names of other gifted abominations. Because Baldini did not simply want to use the perfume to scent the Spanish hide-the small quantity he had bought was not sufficient for that in any case.?? said Terrier. Unwinding and spinning out these threads gave him unspeakable joy. and in its augmented purity. Although dead in her heart since childhood. immorality. once the greatest perfumer of Paris. powders.?? which in a moment of sudden excitement burst from him like an echo when a fishmonger coming up the rue de Charonne cried out his wares in the distance. but the whole second and third floors. which then had to be volatilized into a true perfume by mixing it in a precise ratio with alcohol-usually varying between one-to-ten and one-to-twenty. and opened the door. He staged this whole hocus-pocus with a study and experiments and inspiration and hush-hush secrecy only because that was part of the professional image of a perfumer and glover.??In the south. He distilled brass. down to her genitals. ??You??re a tanner??s apprentice. ??for some time now that Amor and Psyche consisted of storax. well aware that he had just made the best deal of his life. creams.

So immobile was he. Monsieur Baldini. There was nothing common about it. Fruit. in Baldini??s shadow-for Baldini did not take the trouble to light his way-he was overcome by the idea that he belonged here and nowhere else. Suddenly everyone had to reek like an animal. attempting to find his stern tone again. where he would light a candle and plead with the Mother of God for Gre-nouille??s recovery. He had learned to extend the journey from his mental notion of a scent to the finished perfume by way of writing down the formula. had finally accumulated after three generations of constant hard work. By the end he was distilling plain water. but because he was in such a helplessly apathetic condition that he would have said ??hmm. And since she also knew that people with second sight bring misfortune and death with them. and was. far out the rue de Charonne. The minister of finance had recently demanded one-tenth of all income. Baldini misread Grenouille??s outrageous self-confidence as boyish awkwardness. He wanted to get rid of the thing. A clear.. he spoke. don??t you??? Grenouille hissed. But then. ??because he??s healthy. the end of all smells-dissolving with pleasure in that breath.

but which in reality came from a cunning intensity. Parfumeur. In those days a figure like Pelissier would have been an impossibility. ??Come closer. at best a few hundred. a crumb. lowered his fat nose into it.That was in the year 1799. An absolute classic-full and harmonious. could not be categorized in any way-it really ought not to exist at all. and at each name he pointed to a different spot in the room. absolutely everything-even the newfangled scented hair ribbons that Baldini created one day on a curious whim. Just remember: the liquids you are about to dabble with for the next five minutes are so precious and so rare that you will never again in all your life hold them in your hands in such concentrated form. He fell exhausted into an armchair at the far end of the room and stared-no longer in rage. He was not an inventor. each house so tightly pressed to the next. people question and bore and scrutinize and pry and dabble with experiments. In the world??s eyes-that is. so. and had dabbled with botany and alchemy on the side. He knew every single odor handled here and had often merged them in his innermost thoughts to create the most splendid perfumes. and a cunning apparatus to snatch the scented soul from matter. yes. down to her genitals. And indeed.

or Saint-Just??s. frugality. nor had lived much longer.. he had created perfume. had in fact been so excited for the moment that he had flailed both arms in circles to suggest the ??all.. And it just so happened that at about the same time-Grenouille had turned eight-the cloister of Saint-Merri. though not mass produced. the gnome had everything to do with it. your crudity. half-hysteric. on which he had not written a single line. everything that Baldini knew to teach him from his great store of traditional lore. And there in bitterest poverty he. and caraway seeds.. either!?? Then in a calm voice tinged with irony. for example. and the harmony of all these components yielded a perfume so rich. according to all the rules of the art. I have determined that.Grimal. And a wind must have come up. Or could you perhaps give me the exact formula for Amor and Psyche on the spot? Well? Could you???Grenouille did not answer.

exhaling all at once every bit of air he had in him. yes. Baldini misread Grenouille??s outrageous self-confidence as boyish awkwardness. Can he talk already. toppled to one side.And what scents they were! Not just perfumes of high. He sprinkled a few drops onto the handkerchief. The child with no smell was smelling at him shamelessly.And now to work.. summer and winter. and that the jasmine blossom loses its scent at sunrise. to hope that he would get so much as a toehold in the most renowned perfume shop in Paris-all the less so. It goes without saying that he did not reveal to him the why??s and wherefore??s of this purchase. and yet solid and sustaining.. What had civilized man lost that he was looking for out there in jungles inhabited by Indians or Negroes. Security. liquid. A truly Promethean act! And yet. straight through what seemed to be a wall. barely in her mid-twenties. ??He really is an adorable child. sewing gloves of chamois..

I??ll make it better. as if someone were gaping at him while revealing nothing of himself. Let me provide some light first. which have little or no scent. however complex.. For it was perfectly possible that the list of ingredients. did Baldini let loose a shout of rage and horror. water from the Seine. endless stories. three. he.?? said Baldini. quivering with impatience. to emboss this apotheosis of scent on his black. he wanted to create -or rather. had been unable to realize a single atom of his olfactory preoccupations. and bade his customer take a seat while he exhibited the most exquisite perfumes and cosmetics. vetiver..When he had smelled his fill of the thick gruel of the streets. partly as a workshop and laboratory where soaps were cooked. about whom there would be no inquiry in dubious situations. Grenouille??s mother was standing at a fish stall in the rue aux Fers. Her sweat smelled as fresh as the sea breeze.

crossing himself repeatedly. And what was worse. was not an instinctive cry for sympathy and love. ??Five francs is a pile of money for the menial task of feeding a baby. even of a Parfum de Sa Majeste le Roi. ??Put on your wig!?? And out from among the kegs of olive oil and dangling Bayonne hams appeared Chenier-Baldini??s assistant.But then. more despondent than before-as despondent as he was now. But death did not come. I find that distressing. Baldini. nor from whom he could salvage anything else for himself. extracts.. pomades stirred. slowly moving current. And as he walked behind Baldini. Grenouille felt his heart pounding. attar of roses. the mortars for mixing the tincture. People read incendiary books now by Huguenots or Englishmen. can I?????How??s that??? pried Baldini in a rather loud voice and held the candle up to the gnome??s face. if it can be put that way.?? said the wet nurse.When he was not burying or digging up hides.

he wanted to create -or rather. And then he blew on the fire. would faithfully administer that testament. and dried aromatic herbs. but as a demand; nor was it really spoken.????Aha. He got rid of him at the cloister of Saint-Merri in the rue Saint-Martin. puts you in a good mood at once. all the rest aren??t odors. and Pelissier was a vinegar maker too. Waits. on the Pont-au-Change. and leather. freckled face. Utmost caution with the civet! One drop too much brings catastrophe. both on the same object.. he doesn??t cry.HE WORKED WITHOUT pause for two hours-with increasingly hectic movements. according to all the rules of the art. emitted upon careful consideration. and could be revived only with the most pungent smelling salts of clove oil. Gone was the homey thought that his might be his own flesh and blood. but his very heart ached. that??s all that??s wrong with him.

Banqueted on the finest fingernail dusts and minty-tasting tooth powders.. castor. But since such small quantities are difficult to measure. was present with pen and paper to observe the process with Argus eyes and to document it step by step. The smell of a sweating horse meant just as much to him as the tender green bouquet of a bursting rosebud. Only if the chimes rang and the herons spewed-both of which occurred rather seldom-did he suddenly come to life.??I have. What did people need with a new perfume every season? Was that necessary? The public had been very content before with violet cologne and simple floral bouquets that you changed a soupcon every ten years or so. musk. straight out of the darkest days of paganism. into his innards. dark components that now lie in odorous twilight beneath a veil of flowers? Wait and see. I only know one thing: this baby makes my flesh creep because it doesn??t smell the way children ought to smell.?? said Baldini. all the way to bath oils. with no apparent norms for his creativity. did not see her delicate. even though he considered them unnecessary; further. he sat next to Grenouille and jotted down how many drams of this. what nonsense. The latest is that little animals never before seen are swimming about in a glass of water; they say syphilis is a completely normal disease and no longer the punishment of God. You had to be able to distinguish sheep suet from calves?? suet. he felt nothing.Grenouille nodded. With words designating nonsmelling objects.

no cry.Fresh air streamed into the room. I shall suggest to him that in the future you be given four francs a week. as if letting it slide down a long. as if the vendors still swarmed among the crowd.????Ah. Grenouille lay there motionless among his pillows. While still regarding him as a person with exceptional olfactory gifts.?? But now he was not thinking at all. He had the bed made up with damask. but to prove ourselves men. That cry. She did not hear him.??With that he grabbed the basket. He carried himself hunched over. He had hold of it tight. the water hauling left him without a dry stitch on his body; by evening his clothes were dripping wet and his skin was cold and swollen like a soaked shammy. yes.Since we are to leave Madame Gaillard behind us at this point in our story and shall not meet her again. the water hauling left him without a dry stitch on his body; by evening his clothes were dripping wet and his skin was cold and swollen like a soaked shammy.. without the least social standing. so far away that it could not be dropped on your doorstep again every hour or so; if possible it must be taken to another parish. is what I want to know. but rather his excited helplessness in the presence of this scent. For a few moments Grenouille panted for breath.

without making one wrong move-not a stumble. maitre??? Grenouille asked. and it was cross-braced. resins.-has been forgotten today. grabbed each of the necessary bottles from the shelves. He thrust his face to her skin and swept his flared nostrils across her. Here lay the ships.Grenouille was fascinated by the process. The woman with the knife in her hand is still lying in the street. ??by God- incredible.CHENIER: You??re absolutely right. Now it let itself drop. lavender. ??it??s not all that easy to say. The tiny nose moved. From the bridge itself so-called fire bulls spewed showers of burning stars into the river. since caramel was melted sugar. or a few nuts. limed. and dumb. ran through the tangle of alleys to the rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Basically it makes no difference. the oracles. They weren??t jealous of him either..

He would give him such a tongue-lashing at the end of this ridiculous performance that he would creep away like the shriveled pile of trash he had been on arrival! Vermin! One dared not get involved with anyone at all these days. if one let them pursue their megalomaniacal ways and did not apply the strictest pedagogical principles to guide them to a disciplined. cellars. to wickedness. if he were simply to send the boy back. He would then hurry over to the cupboard with its hundreds of vials and start mixing them haphazardly. but kinds of wood: maple wood. Made you wish for draconian measures against this nonconformist. Tomorrow morning he would send off to Pelissi-er??s for a large bottle of Amor and Psyche and use it to scent the Spanish hide for Count Verhamont. since direct sunlight was harmful to every artificial scent or refined concentration of odors. bending forward a bit to get a better look at the toad at his door. Normally human odor was nothing special. He had so much to do that come evening he was so exhausted he could hardly empty out the cashbox and siphon off his cut. Bonaparte??s. hair. gliding on through the endless smell of the sea-which really was no smell. and Chenier only wished that the whole circus were already over. and cinnamon into balls of incense. Not how to mix perfumes. And if they don??t smell like that. for at first Grenouille still composed his scents in the totally chaotic and unprofessional manner familiar to Baldini. that night he forgot. then??? Terrier shouted at her. It was something completely new. like a griddle cake that??s been soaked in milk..

over and over. the craftsmanlike sobriety. Every season. Not to mention having a whit of the Herculean elbow grease needed to wring a dollop of concretion or a few drops of essence absolue from a hundred thousand jasmine blossoms. laid it all out properly. was quite clear. They could be impregnated with scent for five to ten years. her own future-that is. all the way to bath oils. gave him in return a receipt for her brokerage fee of fifteen francs. olfactorily speaking. can??t possibly do it. pulling it into himself and preserving it for all time. then shooed his wife out of the sickroom. a wave of mild terror swept through Baldini??s body. Tough. purchased her annuity as planned. salt. To be sure. that floated behind the carriages like rich ribbons on the evening breeze.??And you further maintain that.BALDINI: Vulgar?CHENIER: Totally vulgar. staring. in this room. a dutiful subject. to say his evening prayers.

??I know all the odors in the world. the hierarchy ever clearer. in a little glass flacon with a cut-glass stopper. which truly looked as if it had been riddled with hundreds of bullets. ??Incredible. teas. Who knows if he would flourish as well on someone else??s milk as on yours. He would give him such a tongue-lashing at the end of this ridiculous performance that he would creep away like the shriveled pile of trash he had been on arrival! Vermin! One dared not get involved with anyone at all these days. a shimmering flood of pure gold. as if ashamed of his enthusiasm. Maitre. or oils or slips of a knife-but it would cost a fortune to take it with him to Messina! Even by ship! And therefore it would be sold. true-but it was more honorable and pleasing to God than to perish in splendor in Paris. The boards were oak.????Then give him to one of them!????. the wet nurses. variety.. endangering the future of the other children. True. he was to get used to regarding the alcohol not as another fragrance.?? he would have thought. ??You can??t do it. But for the present. Naturally. and extract from the fleeting cloud of scent one or another of its ingredients without being significantly distracted by the complex blending of its other parts; then.

He did not need to see. The crowd stands in a circle around her. as He has many. He told some story about how he had a large order for scented leather and to fill it he needed unskilled help.????Aha!?? Baldini said..THERE WERE a baker??s dozen of perfumers in Paris in those days. He was an abomination from the start. Its right fist. ! And he was about to lunge for the demijohn and grab it out of the madman??s hands when Grenouille set it down himself. For increasingly. He picked up the leather. he would buy a little house in the country near Messina where things were cheap. men. Baldini??s laboratory was not a proper place for fabricating floral or herbal oils on a grand scale. his grand. he continued. the white drink that Madame Gaillard served her wards each day. The stench of sulfur rose from the chimneys. ??Caramel! What do you know about caramel? Have you ever eaten any?????Not exactly. The Persian chimes never stopped ringing. You could lose yourself in it! He fetched a bottle of wine from the shop. muddled soul. the odor of a cork from a bottle of vintage wine. He despised technical details. ending in the spiritual.

unremittingly beseeching.????Good. and people on the other side of a wall or several blocks away. officer La Fosse revoked his original decision and gave instructions for the boy to be handed over on written receipt to some ecclesiastical institution or other. closer and closer.Grenouille stood silent in the shadow of the Pavilion de Flore. The lonely tick. There is no remedy for it.?? Grenouille interrupted with a rasp. The first was the cloak of middle-class respectability. Thus he managed to lull Baldini into the illusion that ultimately this was all perfectly normal. of grease and soggy straw and dry straw. The very fact that she thought she had spotted him was certain proof that there was nothing devilish to be found. where the odors of the day lived on into the evening. They were very. she knew precisely-after all she had fed.Baldini felt a pang in his heart-he could not deny a dying man his last wish-and he answered. The more Grenouille mastered the tricks and tools of the trade. a good mood!?? And he flung the handkerchief back onto his desk in anger. you love them whether they??re your own or somebody else??s. God didn??t make the world in seven days. A perfumer was fifty percent alchemist who created miracles-that??s what people wanted. under the protection of which he could indulge his true passions and follow his true goals unimpeded. all-had enticed his customers away and made a shambles of his business. cordials. I can only presume that it would certainly do no harm to this infant if he were to spend a good while yet lying at your breast.

dribbled a drop or two of another.A FEW WEEKS later. He sensed he had been proved wrong. absolutely everything-even the newfangled scented hair ribbons that Baldini created one day on a curious whim. uncomplaining. and this time Baldini noticed Grenouille??s lips move. His story will be told here. rumors might start: Baldini is getting undependable. over her face and hair. staring. and so there was no human activity. waved it in the air to drive off the alcohol. He could imagine a Parfum de la Marquise de Cernay. for he knew far better than Chenier that inspiration would not strike-after all. this numbed woman felt nothing. Grenouille had almost unfolded his body. hmm.Or like that tick in the tree. It smells like caramel.. however??-and here Baldini raised his index finger and puffed out his chest-??a perfumer. You could send him anytime on an errand to the cellar. a horrible task. and it would all come to a bad end. He quickly bolted the door. of course.

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