This morning my little breakfast table is surrounded by the sweet deep dark scent of violets.
Back from Berlin I found them yesterday on a long walk - which cleared my head, and the violets soothed my heart - and I plucked a few, though all my long life I was told not to do so - and yes, that is right, but to be happy you sometimes have to break a few rules.
Violets in perfume became rare - for years I chased them on many perfume counters, "Not a chance! Though you might find them in France". (The special one by Serge Luten is only sold in France, many of his others everywhere).
But I am very perseverant and finally found two perfumes: the German one by "Frau Toni", made in Berlin - No. 37 "Veilchen" - which in the Twenties (of last century) was the favourite scent of Marlene Dietrich - and "Paris Balenciaga" (though Balenciaga was founded in San Sebastian they reside in Paris). This one is lighter, I wear it often, while I keep "Veilchen" for the evening.
In Germany schoolchildren had friendship books - everyone in your class scribbled in a little verse or proverbial wisdom - and very popular was:
"Be like the violet in the moss, - modest, demure and pure - and not like the proud rose - wich always wants to be adored."
WELL - even then Yours Truly was tall, didn't want to be modest or pure, and my favourite flower is - the rose.
And being till today very much interested in botany, I soon found out that this "friendship book wisdom" is a truism, false - based on an ideal without a glimpse at reality: violets in the garden or in nature are NOT modest - they invade quick, quicker than the troops of General Lee they dash through your garden.
But they give you their beautiful scent.