The Audacity

Scent Notes: You know when people describe a perfume as smelling like "an old lady"? This is that scent, on purpose. Dusty, powdery rose, peony, and oud wood. We like to think of it as "classic."

The Marchioness of Sparkinghamshire was aware that her way of living was no longer in fashion, but she was too old and set in her ways to change her minds or behaviors, thank you very much. She had tea and porridge brought to her bed every morning, which she had while catching up on her correspondence. She still wrote everything by hand, and kept extensive written records of her goings-on. She took her tea strong, no cream or sugar, as she believed those made for a weak-willed mind and poor constitution. She was utterly confounded by her grandchildren, who lived in the main manor on her estate. She had long ago retired to a modest (well, modest by her standards) 5-bedroom house on the property, complete with her own staff, of course. She’d never made a meal in her life and could barely make a cup of tea without assistance; she was a Marchioness, after all. How gauche that would be! Her children and grandchildren spoke of downsizing, of perhaps selling the estate, which she wouldn’t entertain for the faintest of moments. Lunacy! She’d been wed at a young age to her late husband, the Marquess, and while the marriage had not been the happiest, it had certainly provided her with a lifestyle that she could never, ever leave. Besides, she was now in her seventies. Where would she go, what would she do? Ha! It was laughable.

But she didn’t have to worry about that. She was the head of the household; all the land and money was in her name. She’d made certain that, when her husband passed, everything went to her and not her son. It was the one “modern” concession she had ever made. Though, certainly, they kept up the illusion that her son was the one in control, but everyone knew it was really the Marchioness’ way or the motorway. At least, they had, except lately they seemed to be scheming of ways to push her out. They were leaving her out of meetings, saying they didn’t want to bore her with details, or that someone just “forgot” to tell her about important family and financial matters. She was beginning to get irritated. 

Tonight, the whole family was dining with the visiting Count and Countess du Marcherand from France, so she would have to be congenial to the whole family. The Count and Countess were friends of her granddaughter, Lily, who seemed to have rather modern notions of fashion, makeup, and perfume. Yesterday, Lily had shown up for a private luncheon with the Marchioness. As Lily had kissed her grandmother hello, the Marchioness smelled a distinct whiff of lavender and a mix of pungent florals. “Is that a new perfume?” she’d asked Lily. “It is, grandmama. Do you enjoy it?” “Absolutely not. Lavender? How gauche. And why is your lipstick so dark? It’s nearly black! And your hair is so short, as is your skirt. I can nearly see your knees!” The Marchioness signaled for tea as Lily sat down, smoothed her skirt, and responded with, “Well, I happen to disagree. I prefer to dress and look how I please, and smell like lavender, rather than looking and smelling old-fashioned.” 

The Marchioness sat in silence for a moment. “Well, darling girl, I admire your boldness. But as I am, in fact, an old lady, that’s what I prefer to smell like: roses, powder, and a distinct note of oud. It’s classic, like me; timeless, distinguished, gentile. I’ve smelled the same for over sixty years, and I see no reason to change what I like.” She'd never admit it to Lily or anyone else, but, she secretly admired her granddaughter's bravery. It reminded her of herself back when she was young and gentlemen clamored to see her knees. She'd felt a little pep and bravery of her own kick in, and said, "But I do adore that color on you, Lily. Quite fetching. And that short hair does focus the attention on your beautiful eyes." Lily had looked surprised, and thanked her grandmother profusely. The servants came in then to pour the tea, and the Marchioness changed the subject to planning for the arrival of their guests the following day. She'd even agreed to try a new French dish for dinner she'd never heard of before.

Today, as she finished her morning porridge and called for her lady’s maid to dress her, her plan started to formulate. She would wear one of her “old-fashioned” floor-length gowns to dinner. “Lavender, ha. How groundbreaking,” she scoffed to herself. She would wear so much of her “old lady” perfume that the rest of them could choke on it. They weren’t going to be able to push her to the side, or pretend that her opinion didn’t matter. Her granddaughter was not the only one around here with the boldness, the courage, the audacity, and she wanted them all to remember that.

Scent Notes: You know when people describe a perfume as smelling like "an old lady"? This is that scent, on purpose. Dusty, powdery rose, peony, and oud wood. We like to think of it as "classic."