What is that odor wafting from the butler, the dignified Mr. Treadcarpet as he paces noiselessly over the hall runner on his way to open the front door? It is discreet, for butlers cannot drench themselves in scent. Mr. Treadcarpet leaves that sort of vulgarity to the inaptly named gentlemen’s gentlemen. Mr. Treadcarpet allows himself a single drop of Coty’s Chypre on his pocket handkerchief, and he quite enjoys a bar of their soap as well in the bath, but beyond this he will not venture. That way lies the dissolution of those firm traditional values of which Mr. Treadcarpet, and butlers generally, are the domestic guardians.
This is in distinction to young Mr. Entailed-Estate, who likes to drench himself in that fancy new perfume from Guerlain known as Mitsouko. He has heard that the Russian Impresario Diaghelev uses it, and Mr. Entailed-Estate wants to be on the cutting edge of fashion even if the fellows at the Dolittle Club chaff him about his “pong”. The difference is chiefly price, Mr. Treadcarpet’s chypre can be found for a few shillings and Mr. Entailed-Estate’s Mitsouko is to be found at Harrod’s for a few pounds.
A similar situation simmers in the kitchen where Mrs. Crashplatter the cook wears a “mite” of L’Origan. Lor’ bless you, she can’t pronounce it, but it’s a fine smell, that it is, and ever so much better than Lady Entailed-Estate’s L’Heure Bleue, which do get up the guest’s noses at dinner parties. Why, Lord O’Finickybite once left the table in the middle of the fish course on account of it, though all he said was that the dining room was a bit “close”. Well, we all know what that means below stairs! Lady E’s been overdoin’ it again.
The cost of Mrs. Crashplatter’s L’Origan? It was $4.00 for extract in bulk, sent from her sister who lives in Boston, bless her. We really couldn’t say what Lord E paid for Lady E’s L’Heure Bleue in the fancy bottle, while he was in Paris on “business”. But you know the fancier the bottle, the more no good the gents have been up to, that’s Mrs. Crashplatter’s opinion.
Finally there are the two young women of the household, the Hon. Cordelia Dorothea Victoria Entailed-Estate, who loves the fancy new French perfume called Shalimar! She wears it every evening to dinner and it’s a wonder, between the Shalimar, and the L’Heure Bleue, and young Mr. E’s Mitsouko, that guests can breathe at all.
Her choice, however, is outdone below stairs, by Molly Dustruffle the upstairs maid who wears Emeraude, also new, but not new this year, and wears skirts three inches below her knees on her day off. Constable Bluebottle, the local bobby on the beat, is smitten with Dustruffle, but then so is young Mr. E (when he forgets about Diaghelev) and Mrs. Crashplatter has already had to deliver a few lectures to her on the subject of sporting young gents.
Will Dustruffle succumb to Mr. E? Will Cordelia Dorothea accept the vulgar self-made millionaire Mr. Marginbuy (who wears Penhaligon’s English Fern)? Will Lord Entailed-Estate smoke one cigar too many and die of his “gaspers” and will Lady E. ditch L’Heure Bleue in favor of melancholy, widow’s weeds, and Apres L’Ondee?
Tune in to next week’s episode of Smellton Abbey, and continue tuning in, until the writer runs out of ideas or the ratings drop, whichever comes first, because heaven knows, this vehicle isn’t plot driven.
(By the way, feel free to suggest any further olfactory story twists.)