He walked through it took a sharp left and followed the town wall downhill He

He walked through it took a sharp left and followed

This preview shows page 66 - 67 out of 98 pages.

gate at the start of the rue Droite. He walked through it, took a sharp left, and followed the town wall downhill. He had not gone far before he smelled the garden, faintly at first, blended with the air from the fields, but then ever more strongly. Finally he knew that he was very close. The garden bordered on the town wall. It was directly beside him. If he moved back a bit, he could see the top branches of the orange trees just over the wall. Again he closed his eyes. The scents of the garden descended upon him, their contours as precise and clear as the colored bands of a rainbow. And that one, that precious one, that one that mattered above all else, was among them. Grenouille turned hot with rapture and cold with fear. Blood rushed to his head as if he were a little boy caught red-handed, and then it retreated to his solar plexus, and then rushed up again and retreated again, and he could do nothing to stop it. This attack of scent had come on too suddenly. For a moment, for a breath, for an eternity it seemed to him, time was doubled or had disappeared completely, for he no longer knew whether now was now and here was here, or whether now was not in fact then and here there-that is, the rue des Marais in Paris, September 1753. The scent floating out of the garden was the scent of the redheaded girl he had murdered that night. To have found that scent in this world once again brought tears of bliss to his eyes— and to know that it could not possibly be true frightened him to death. He was dizzy, he tottered a little and had to support himself against the wall, sinking slowly down against it in a crouch. Collecting himself and gaining control of his senses, he began to inhale the fatal scent in short, less dangerous breaths. And he established that, while the scent from behind the wall bore an extreme resemblance to the scent of the redheaded girl, it was not completely the same. To be sure, it also came from a redheaded girl, there was no doubt of that. In his olfactory imagination, Grenouille saw this girl as if in a picture: she was not sitting still, she was jumping about, warming up and then cooling off, apparently playing some game in which she had to move quickly and then just as quickly stand still-with a second person, by the way, someone with a totally insignificant odor. She had dazzlingly white skin. She had green eyes. She had freckles on her face, neck, and breasts… that is-and Grenouille’s breath stopped for a moment, then he sniffed more vigorously and tried to suppress the memory of the scent of the girl from the rue des Marais-that is, this girl did not even have breasts in the true sense of the word! She barely had the rudimentary start of breasts. Infinitely tender and with hardly any fragrance, sprinkled with freckles, just beginning to expand, perhaps only in the last few days, perhaps in the last few hours, perhaps only just at this moment-such were the little cupped breasts of this girl. In a word: the girl was still a child. But what a child!
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