The rays of the setting sun were diffused by the elm trees that bordered the garden, dappling golden orbs of sunlight over the little girl squatting on the paving stones.
Around her lay a mound of rose petals, pink, red, white and yellow, still soft and pliant as she crushed them into the neck of the medicine bottle filled with water.
Once the bottle was full, she began to shake it vigorously, pausing every now and then to remove the stopper and sniff at the contents; maybe tomorrow, she reflected, it would begin to smell more like her mother’s exotic perfumes.
Now a grown woman, she sat before her dressing table, surrounded by flowers, silks, satins and velvet, cautiously waving the prussian-blue bottle beneath her nostrils, and remembering the furore that day, after her parents had discovered how she had decimated the blooms in their prized rose garden.
‘There is,’ she reflected sadly, ‘always a heavy price to pay for perfume’, as the man who now owned her slipped his arms around her body and nuzzled her slender neck with fleshy lips.