In the nineteenth century there was nothing to hinder bacteria

busy at decomposition, and so there was no human activity,

either constructive or destructive, no manifestation of germinating or decaying

life that was not accompanied by stench.  People stank of

sweat and unwashed clothes; from their mouths came the stench

of rotting teeth, from their bellies that of onions, and

from their bodies, if they were no longer very young,

came the stench of rancid cheese and sour milk and

tumorous tissue. The stench of sulfur rose from the chimneys

and the stench of caustic lyes from the ubiquitous tanneries.


Paraphrases from the novel Perfume by Patrick Süskind.