Summer course 2 - August 2016 - Difficult group - Lesson 4

DIALOGUE

- Come on in, it's raining! What are you doing on the doorstep?

- Hang on a second. Can you smell this?

- I'm not sure what you're talking about. What does it smell of?

- Happiness! Childhood... Endless summers... Complete carelessness… Pure bliss.

- I'm afraid I'm not following you at all.

- A sudden thunderstorm on a hot summer's day, and the  scent of wet Tarmac! It's unmistakeable! Doesn't it take you back?

- Um, I guess... Although I can't say it's my favourite aroma.

- There's also a whiff of lilac from the neighbour's garden. What a heavenly combination!

- I don't know... It just doesn't do anything to me…

- Well, don't you have a smell that brings back fond memories?

- I do. I guess, for me it's always been fish and chips!

The Perfume by Patrick Süskind

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was an orphan. He was born in Paris in 1738. He never knew his father and his mother died the day he was born. He was brought up in an orphanage by a cold, heartless Madame Gaillard.

 

Jean-Baptiste had an incredible genius. He could feel smell better than any human. He could remember and analyse any smell in the  world. But his heart was evil and cruel and he knew no love. At the end of the book he uses his talent to commit horrible crimes. 

 

In the chapter we’re going to read, Grenouille was about 14 and working as an apprentice (подмастерье) for a skin tanner, whose name was Grimal.  One day Grimal received a big order for goatskins (козлиные шкуры) from one of the most famous Paris perfumers, Giuseppe Baldini. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was sent to deliver these goatskins. 

 

Giuseppe Baldini was a hard-working but absolutely talentless, mediocre (посредственный) perfumer. The day when Grenouille came to him, he was trying to understand the formula of the new, fashionable perfume «Amor and Psyche», created by his competitor (конкурент), Pelissier. He wanted to steal the formula, produce the perfume himself and use it in his business.

 

But however hard Baldini tried (как Бальдини ни старался), he couldn’t figure out the perfume’s  formula. He was mad with his helplessness and burning with envy (пылал завистью)  towards his younger, more talented competitor Pelissier.  At that moment Grenouille arrived at his shop.

***

 

The bell rang shrilly (пронзительно). Baldini went downstairs and pulled back the bolt (отодвинул засов) and swung (распахнул) the heavy door open. In the darkness there stood a figure, a child or a half-grown boy carrying something over his arm. 

“What do you want?” 

“I’m from Maitre Grimal, I’m delivering the goatskins (козлиные шкуры),” said the figure and stepped closer.

By the light of his candle, Baldini could now see the boy’s face and his nervous, searching eyes. It was Grenouille.

Baldini let the boy inside. It was the first time Grenouille had ever been in a perfumery, a place in which odours are not accessories but stand at the centre of interest. Just as a musically gifted child burns to see an orchestra up close (совсем рядом), Grenouille was eager to get inside a perfumery.

They had crossed through the shop. Baldini opened the back room where soaps were cooked, pomades stirred (мешали помады), and toilet waters blended in big-bellied bottles (смешивали в пузатых бутылочках). “There!” he said, pointing to a large table in front of the window, “put them there!” 

Grenouille laid the leather on the table. 

“Tell your master that the skins are fine.” Baldini said. “You can go now.” 

“Yes, sir,” said Grenouille, but stood where he was, blocking the way for Baldini.

“What is it?” he asked. “Is there something else I can do for you? Well? Speak up!”

“I want to work for you, Maitre Baldini. Work for you, here in your business.” 

It was not spoken as a request, but as a demand. Baldini smiled. 

“You’re a tanner’s apprentice (подмастерье дубильщика), my boy,” he said. “But I don’t need an apprentice.” 

“You want to make these goatskins smell good, Maitre Baldini? You want to make this leather I’ve brought you smell good, don’t you?” Grenouille hissed (зашипел), as if he had paid no attention to Baldini’s answer. 

“Yes indeed,” said Baldini. 

“With Amor and Psyche by Pelissier?”

A wave of terror swept (волна ужаса пронеслась) through Baldini’s body. How did the boy know?

“How did you ever get the absurd idea that I would use someone else’s perfume to…”

“You reek of it!” Grenouille hissed. “You have it on your forehead (лоб), and in your right coat pocket is a handkerchief soaked with it (платок ими пропитан). It’s not very good, this Amor and Psyche, it’s bad, there’s too much bergamot and too much rosemary and not enough attar of roses (розовое масло).” 

“Aha!” Baldini said, totally surprised that the conversation had changed from the general to the specific. “What else?” 

“Orange blossom, lime, clove, musk, jasmine, alcohol, and something that I don’t know the name of, there, you see, right there! In that bottle!” And he pointed a finger into a bottle filled with a grayish yellow balm (бальзам).

“Storax?” Baldini asked. 

Grenouille nodded. “Yes. That’s in it too. Storax.” And then he muttered (пробормотал) the word at least a dozen times to himself: “Storaxstoraxstoraxstorax…”

Baldini held his candle up and thought: either he is mad, or a thief, or truly talented. For it was perfectly probable that the list of ingredients, if mixed in the right proportions, could result in the perfume Amor and Psyche. Attar of roses, clove, and storax - it was those three ingredients that he had searched for so desperately this afternoon.

“You have, it appears, a fine nose, young man,” said Baldini. “But…” 

“I have the best nose in Paris, Maitre Baldini,” Grenouille interrupted. “I know all the odours in the world, all of them, only I don’t know the names of some of them, but I can learn the names.There are not many, only a few thousand. I’ll learn them all, I’ll never forget the name of that balm, storax, storax, storax…” 

“Silence!” shouted Baldini. “Do not interrupt me when I’m speaking! No one knows a thousand odours by name! Of course I know,” he continued, “that Amor and Psyche consists of storax, attar of roses, and cloves, et cetera. But it’s not enough. A perfumer” - here Baldini raised his index finger - “a perfumer, however, needs more than a fine nose. He needs to decipher (расшифровать) even the most complicated odours by composition and proportion! Such a nose” - and here he tapped (постучал) his nose with his finger - ”is not something everyone has, young man!”

“I have the recipe in my nose. Can I mix it for you, maitre, can I mix it, can I?” 

“How’s that?” responded Baldini in a rather loud voice. “How would you mix it?” 

For the first time, Grenouille spoke in a clear voice. “Why, they’re all here, all the ones you need, the scents, they’re all here, in this room,” he said, pointing again into the darkness. “There’s attar of roses! There’s orange blossom! That’s clove! That’s rosemary, there…!”

“You can see in the dark, can you?” Baldini went on. “You not only have the best nose, but also the keenest eyes in Paris, do you? Now if you have good ears, then open them up, because I’m telling you: you are a little swindler (мошенник). You probably picked up your information at Pelissier’s. You did some spying, is that it? And now you think you can pull the wool over my eyes (пускать мне пыль в глаза), right?”

“Give me ten minutes,” replied Grenouille boldly (смело), “and I will produce for you Amor and Psyche. Right now, right here in this room. No, maitre, give me just five minutes!” 

“Do you suppose I’d let you slop around (расплескивать все подряд) here in my laboratory? With essences (эссенции) that are worth a fortune?” 

“Yes,” said Grenouille. 

“Bah!” Baldini shouted, letting out every bit of air he had in him. Then he took a deep breath and thought it over.

“Well, if you say so,” he said after a while. “You shall have the opportunity, now, this very moment. But your grandiose failure will also be an opportunity for you to learn a little modesty (скромность). Come here, best nose in Paris! Come here to the table and show me what you can do.” 

Grenouille rushed to the shelves. While Baldini was making his pompous speech, he heard only the approval, only the “yes,” with the inner celebration of a child who finally got what he wanted. Following his nose, he grabbed each of the necessary bottles from the shelves.

“How much of it shall I make for you, maitre?” Grenouille asked.  “How much of it do you want? Shall I fill this big bottle here?”

“No!” screamed Baldini in horror - a spontaneous scream of fear of wasted property. Then in a calm voice was full of irony, he continued, “Why would we need a gallon of a perfume that neither of us respects? A third of a mixing bottle will do.” 

“Good,” said Grenouille. “I’m going to fill a third of this bottle with Amor and Psyche. But, Maitre Baldini, I will do it in my own way.” 

“As you please,” said Baldini, who knew that in this business there was no “your way” or “my way,” but one and only one way, which was knowing the formula.

The scene that followed was so firmly stuck in his memory that he did not forget it to his dying day. 

Grenouille grabbed apparently at random essences in their flacons, pulled out the glass stoppers (пробки), held the contents under his nose for a second, splashed a bit of one bottle, a drop or two of another, a dash of a third, and so on. Pipette, test tube (пробирки), measuring glass, spoons  - all the things that allow the perfumer to control the complicated process of mixing - Grenouille did not touch a single one of them. It looked like he were just playing, splashing like a child busy cooking up some horrible mixture of water, grass, and mud (грязь), which he then says is soup.

Baldini watched in horror. Finally, unable to stand it any longer, he let out a shout of rage (ярость) and horror. “Stop it! That’s enough! Stop it now! Basta! Put that bottle back on the table and don’t touch anything else, do you understand, nothing else! Do you hear me? Do not dare ever again to set foot in a perfumer’s shop!” 

Thus spoke Baldini. And even as he spoke, the air around him became filled with the majestic aroma of Amor and Psyche. Baldini’s face, which had been red with anger, all at once grew pale. “Incredible,” he murmured (пробормотал) softly to himself, “by God - incredible”. It was Amor and Psyche, so exactly copied that not even Pelissier himself could distinguish it from his own product. “Incredible…” 

“It’s not a good perfume,” Grenouille said. “It’s been put together very bad, this perfume has. If you’ll let me, maitre, I’ll make it better. Give me a minute and I’ll make a proper perfume out of it!”   

“Hmm, hmm, hmm,” said Baldini and nodded (кивнул). Not in agreement - he was in such a helpless condition that he would have nodded to anything. 

 

And he went on nodding and murmuring “hmm, hmm, hmm,” as Grenouille began to mix away a second time, pouring the alcohol (наливая спирт) from the bottle into the mixing bottle a second time in apparently random (на первый взгляд случайном) order and quantity. Only at the end of the procedure - Grenouille did not shake the bottle this time, but swirled it about (повертел ) gently like a brandy glass, perhaps in respect to Baldini, perhaps because the contents seemed more precious to him this time - only then, as the liquid whirled about in the bottle, Baldini woke up. 

“It’s all done, maitre,” Grenouille said. “Now it’s a really good scent.”

 

“Yes, yes, fine, fine,” Baldini replied and waved him off with his free hand. 

“Don’t you want to test it?” Grenouille asked.  “Don’t you want to, maitre? Aren’t you going to test it?” 

“Later. I’m not in the mood to test it at the moment… have other things on my mind. Go now! Come on!” 

 

And he picked up one of the candlesticks and passed through the door into the shop. Grenouille followed him. The old man shuffled up to the doorway (шаркающей походкой направился к двери), pulled back the bolt, and opened the door letting the lad (парень) out.

 

“Can’t I come to work for you, maitre, can’t I?” Grenouille asked, standing on the doorstep, with his eyes burning. 

“I don’t know,” said Baldini. “I shall think about it. Go.” 

 

As Grenouille vanished (исчез), Baldini walked back to his laboratory to smell the new perfume.

 

The scent was so heavenly fine that tears rolled into Baldini’s eyes. The perfume was glorious. It was to Amor and Psyche as a symphony is to the scratching of a lonely violin (пиликанье одинокой скрипки). Baldini closed his eyes and the most sublime (возвышенные) memories were awakened within him. He saw himself as a young man walking through the evening gardens of Naples; he saw himself lying in the arms of a woman with dark curly hair and saw the silhouette of a bouquet of roses on the window as the night wind passed by; he heard the random song of birds and the distant music from a harbour tavern (портовая таверна); he heard «I love you» whisperings at his ear - all at this very moment! He forced open his eyes and groaned with pleasure (застонал от удовольствия). This perfume was not like any perfume known before. It was something completely new, creating a whole new world, a magical, rich world, and felt so rich, so free, so fine… 

 

Suddenly a sense of peace took his soul. Baldini’s mind became cold and calculating. He picked up a few small bottles and poured the new perfume into them. Then he applied labels to them, and wrote the words Night in Naples on them. Then he extinguished (погасил) the candles and went to bed. 

 

The next morning he went straight to Grimal and invited him for a bottle of white wine. After a glass or two he told him that he had a large order for scented leather and he needed help - a lad (парень) who could do simple tasks, cutting leather and so on. His apprentice Grenouille would do. Baldini offered twenty livres. Twenty livres was an enormous sum. Grimal immediately agreed. They walked to Grimal’s tannery (дубильная мастерская), where, strangely enough, Grenouille was already waiting with his bundle (узелок) packed. Baldini paid the twenty livres and took him along at once, well aware that he had just made the best deal of his life.

3. SONG "Enjoy the silence"

 

 

 


Words like violence
Break the silence
Come crashing in
Into my little world

 

Painful to me
Pierce right through me
Can't you understand?
Oh my little girl

 

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms

 

Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

 

Vows are spoken
To be broken
Feelings are intense
Words are trivial

 

Pleasures remain
So does the pain
Words are meaningless
And forgettable

 

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms

 

Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

 

All I ever wanted

All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

 

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms


Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Dialogue 4 - August 2016 - Difficult
00:00 / 00:00

Brejestovski Language School

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info@brejestovski.com

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