Martha Clifford closes her letter to Henry Flower with a "P. S. Do tell me what kind of perfume does your wife use. I want to know." The novel does eventually give the reader an answer to her question. But a more interesting question is why she wants to know.

John Hunt 2019

Commiphora erythraea trees growing in Somalia. Source: www.fragrantica.com.

Opoponax resin, from which the oil used in perfumes is derived. Source: www..biolandes.com.

Photographic portrait of Arthur Symons taken in 1906 by Alvin Langdon Coburn, held in the New York Public Library. Source: Wikimedia Commons.