Caste of Perfumers
Here are the relevant references from the Books where the Caste of Perfumers are mentioned.
While not specifically titled a Caste, this group is mentioned along with others that are.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
It seemed the routine of the journey would never end, and I grew enamored of the long line of wagons, each filled with its various goods, those mysterious metals and gems, rolls of cloth, foodstuffs, wines and Paga, weapons and harness, cosmetics and perfumes, medicines and slaves.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 124
"Bring perfumes!" she called to the feast steward, and he sent forth the camisk-clad slave who carried the tiny tray of exotic Turian perfumes. She took one or two of these small bottles and held them under her nose, and then sprinkled them about the table and cushions.
Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 95
"I was once," continued Saphrar, "a perfumer of Tyros - but I one day left the shop it seems inadvertently with some pounds of the nectar of talenders concealed beneath my tunic in a bladder and for that my ear was notched and I was exiled from the city.
Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 196
Here there were lines of booths in an extended arcade, where merchandise of various sorts might be purchased, usually of an inexpensive and low-quality variety. There were poorly webbed, small tapestries; amulets and talismans; knotted prayer strings; papers containing praises of Priest-Kings, which might be carried on one's person; numerous ornaments of glass and cheap metal; the strung pearls of the Vosk sorp; polished, shell brooches; pins with heads carved from the horn of kailiauk tridents; lucky sleen teeth; racks of rep-cloth robes, veils and tunics in various caste colors; cheap knives and belts and pouches; vials containing perfumes, for which extraordinary claims were made; and small clay, painted replicas of the stadium and racing tarns.
Assassin of Gor Book 5 Pages 155 - 156
We passed tables on one side, and rooms where medical examinations could be held; there were also facilities for washing prisoners; here and there I saw the office of a market official; there were also rooms where I saw silks, cosmetics, vials of perfumes, chains and such.
Assassin of Gor Book 5 Page 287
I did not, however, in this early period, because of the cost, purchase cargos of great value. Accordingly I did not carry, in these first voyages, any abundance of precious metals or jewels; nor did I carry rugs or tapestries, or medicines, or silks or ointments, or perfumes or prize slaves, or spices or canisters of colored table salts.
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Page 138
There is little market in simple Laura for the more exquisite goods of Gor. Seldom will one find there Torian rolls of gold wire, interlocking cubes of silver from Tharna, rubies carved into tiny, burning panthers from Schendi, nutmegs and cloves, spikenard and peppers from the lands east of Bazi, the floral brocades, the perfumes of Tyros, the dark wines, the gorgeous, diaphanous silks of glorious Ar.
Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 86
In the darkness I smelled the scent of the Torian perfume.
Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 289
I caught the scent of her perfume, a delicate Torian scent, feminine.
Hunters of Gor Book 8 Page 164
"So is this the perfume that the high-born women of Ar wear to the song-dramas in En'Kara?" asked the blond girl, amused.
"Yes, Lady," I assured her, bowing before her, lisping in the accents of Ar.
"It is gross," said she. "Meaningless."
"It is a happy scent," I whined.
"For the low-born," said she.
"Lalamus!" said I.
My assistant, a large fellow, but obviously stupid, smooth-shaven as are the performers, in white and yellow silk, and golden sandals, bent over, hurried forward. He carried a tray of vials.
"I had not realized, Lady," said I, "that perception such as yours existed in the north."
My accent might not have fooled one of Ar, but it was not bad, and to those not often accustomed to the swift, subtle liquidity of the speech of Ar, melodious yet expressive, it was more than adequate. My assistant, unfortunately, did not speak.
The eyes of Hilda the Haughty, daughter of Thorgard of Scagnar, flashed. "You of the south think we of the north are barbarians!" she snapped.
"Such fools we were," I admitted, putting my head to the floor.
"I might have you fried in the grease of tarsk," she said, "boiled in the oil of tharlarion!"
"Will you not take pity, great Lady," I whined, "on those who did not suspect the civilization, the refinements, of the north?"
"Perhaps," said she. "Have you other perfumes?"
My assistant, hopefully, lifted a vial.
"No," I hissed to him. "In an instant such a woman will see through such a scent."
"Let me smell it," said she.
"It is nothing, lady," I whined, "though among the highest born and most beautiful of the women of the Physicians it is much favored."
"Let me smell it," she said.
I removed the cork, and turned away my head, as though shamed.
She held it to her nose. "It stinks," she said.
Hastily I corked the vial and, angrily, thrust it back into the hand of my embarrassed assistant, who returned it to its place.
Hilda sat in a great curule chair, carved with the sign of Scagnar, a serpent-ship, seen frontally. On each post of the chair, carved, was the head of a snarling sleen. She smiled, coldly.
I reached for another vial.
She wore rich green velvet, closed high about her neck, trimmed with gold.
She took the next vial, which I had opened for her. "No," she said, handing it back to me.
Her hair, long, was braided. It was tied with golden string.
"I had no understanding," said she, "that the wares of Ar were so inferior."
"You insult me," said Hilda the Haughty, "to present me with such miserable merchandise! Is this the best that great Ar can offer?"
Had I been of Ar I might have been angry. As it was I was somewhat irritated. The perfumes I was displaying to her had been taken, more than six months ago, by the Forkbeard from a vessel of Cos. They were truly perfumes of Ar, and of the finest varieties. "Who," I asked myself, "is Hilda, the daughter of a barbarian, of a rude, uncouth northern pirate, living in a high wooden fortress, overlooki g the sea, to so demean the perfumes of Ar?" One might have thought she was a great lady, and not the insolent, though curvaceous, brat of a boorish sea rover.
I put my head to the floor. I groveled in the white and yellow silk of the perfumers. "Oh, great lady," I whined, the finest of Ar's, perfumes may be too thin, too frail, too gross, for one of your discernment and taste."
Her hands wore many rings. About her neck she wore, looped, four chains of gold, with pendants. On her wrists were bracelets of silver and gold.
"Show me others, men of the south," said she, contemptuously.
Again and again we tried to please the daughter of Thorgard of Scagnar. We had little success. Sometimes she would wince, or make a face, or indicate disgust with a tiny motion of her hand, or a movement of her head.
We were almost finished with the vials in the flat, leather case.
"We have here," said I, "a scent that might be worthy of a Ubara of Ar."
I uncorked it and she held it, delicately, to her nostrils.
"Barely adequate," she said.
"Barely adequate," she said. But I could tell she was pleased.
"I shall accept it," said she, coldly, "as a gift."
"A gift!" I cried.
"Yes," said she. "You have annoyed me. I have been patient with you. I am now no longer patient!"
"Have pity, great lady!" I wept.
"Leave me now," said she. "Go below. Ask there to be stripped and beaten. Then swiftly take your leave of the house of Thorgard of Scagnar. Be grateful that I permit you your lives."
I hastily, as though frightened, made as though to close the flat, leather case of vials.
"Leave that," she said. She laughed. "I shall give it to my bond-maids."
I smiled, though secretly. The haughty wench would rob us of our entire stores! None of that richness, I knew, would grace the neck or breasts of a mere bond-maid. She, Hilda the Haughty, daughter of Thorgard of Scagnar, would keep it for herself.
I attempted to conceal one vial, which we had not permitted her to sample. But her eye was too quick for me.
"What is that?" she asked, sharply.
"It is nothing," I said.
"Let me smell it," she said.
"Please, no, great lady!" I begged.
"You thought to keep it from me, did you?" she laughed.
"Oh, no, great lady," I wept.
"Give it to me," she said.
"Must I, lady?" asked I.
"I see," said she, "beating is not enough for you. It seems you must be boiled in the oil of tharlarion as well!"
I lifted it to her, piteously.
My assistant and I knelt before her, at her feet. She wore, beneath her green velvet, golden shoes.
"Uncork it for me, you sleen," said she. I wondered if I had, in my life, seen ever so scornful, so proud, so cold a woman.
I uncorked the vial.
"Hold it beneath my nostrils," she said. She bent forward. I held the vial beneath her delicate nostrils.
She closed her eyes, and breathed in, deeply, expectantly.
She opened her eyes, and shook her head. "What is this?" she said
"Capture scent," I said.
"Is the perfume of the Lady Kita of Bazi ready?" Turbus Veminius called to the back of the shop.
"No," a voice answered him.
"Do not hurry," called Turbus Veminius. "It must be perfect."
"Yes, Turbus," I heard.
Turbus Veminius then turned, sternly, toward the Lady Kita. She was a small, delicate, brown-skinned woman, with a light yellow veil, common in Bazi. She shrank back. "When was your perfume to be ready, Lady Kita?" he inquired. He did not seem deterred by the two large, smooth-skinned, brownish guards, arms folded, who stood behind her.
"At the fifteenth Ahn," she said, timidly.
"It is now the fourteenth Ahn," he said, casting a meaningful glance at the water clock on the counter to his right.
"I am early," she explained.
"Obviously," he said.
"Yes, Turbus," she said.
"Return at the fifteenth Ahn, and not before," he said.
"Yes, Turbus," she said.
The Lady Kita turned about and hurried, followed by her guards, from the shop.
Turbus Veminius looked after her. He, like many perfumers, and hairdressers and cosmeticians, treated his female clientele almost as though they were slave girls. Indeed, he was famous for once having said, "They are all slave girls." Yet, in spite of the gruff, authoritarian way in which they might be handled, and the rude, peremptory fashion in which they might be addressed, women, and high-caste women, for no reason that was clear to me, flocked to his shop. He was, of course, one of the foremost perfumers of Gor. His prices, it might be mentioned, were beyond the reach of all but the very wealthy. It might also be mentioned that he did not deal at all in slave perfumes.
"Will the perfume of the Lady Kita be ready at the fifteenth Ahn?" Turbus called back to someone in the shop.
"I do not know," said the voice.
"Do not hurry it," he said. "If it is not ready, I will order her to wait, or to return tomorrow. It must be perfect."
"Yes, Turbus," I heard.
I smiled at the thought of ordering a free woman to wait, or to come back tomorrow, and knowing that she would obey you. "They are all slave girls," Turbus Veminius was once reputed to have said.
He then turned his attention to a new customer. She hurried deferentially forward.
I knelt on the tiles. It was warm outside, but cool inside, in the shade. I smelled the erfumes of the shop, many of which were being blended by hand from signature recipes in the back of the shop. Signature recipes are unique, and secret. They are the result of a perfumer's consultations and experiments, the outcome of an effort to devise the perfect perfume for a given woman, though perhaps relativized to a time of day and mood. A wealthy woman may have as many as ten or fifteen signature recipes, each different. They are called signature recipes not only because they are individualized to a given woman but because the recipe bears the perfumer's signature, indicating that he accepts it as a perfume worthy of his house. These recipes, interestingly, are kept on file in the perfumer's strong boxes. The ingredients and processing remain the secrets of the perfumer. There are also, of course, perfumes associated with a given house, which may be purchased by more than one woman. These recipes are sometimes, by an extension of usage, also called signature recipes. They are, at any rate, supposedly unique to given houses. Also, of course, there are hundreds of more standard perfumes, the preparation of which is widely understood by the perfumers of many cities. Slave perfumes, of course, are an entirely different area. These are usually heavier scents, and more sensual, than those used by free women, scents more fitting to a woman who must obey, and perfectly. There are hundreds of slave perfumes, as there are hundreds of perfumes for free women. The perfumes of Gor, as those of Earth have not, have given special attention to the development of perfumes for slaves. There is thus, on Gor, a subtle and complex variety of slave perfumes available, exciting, provocative, sensuous and unmistakable. There are perfumes for the slave in any woman on Gor. Sometimes, though this is more expensive, a girl is brought in to the perfumers by her master for a consultation; the perfumer then questions the girl, orders her about, and may even caress her; then, in the light of her background and history, and intellectual and physiological nature, he recommends a perfume, or blend of perfumes, for her; this perfume, or blend of perfume, is thus, in its way, matched to her unique beauty and bondage. Most slave girls, however, feel that an individualized perfume is not necessary. Too, they often wish to use a variety of perfumes, depending on various factors, such as the time of day and their own moods, and those of the master. Too, many girls are stimulated by wearing a perfume that they know, like the collar and the brand, is common to many slaves. It can make them feel their bondage even more deeply and sensuously. Perhaps, as one slave girl once said, "What difference does it make what slave perfume we wear? They all excite us. They all teach us that we are slaves."
Turbus Veminius had now returned to the counter. He had with him a small vial of perfume which he had obtained in the back of the shop. He placed it in a cabinet to one side. It was doubtless that which had been prepared for the small, brown-skinned woman, the Lady Kita of Bazi.
"Ah," said Turbus Veminius, as the Lady Kita, with her two guards, entered the shop.
"Is the perfume ready?" she asked.
Turbus Veminius handed her the vial. She removed the tiny cap and lifted it to her face, which was veiled. She inhaled delicately through her nose. I saw the veil draw inward.
"What is the meaning of this?" she asked, horrified. "Surely this is slave perfume!"
"No," said Turbus Veminius, "but it, by design, resembles it."
"Surely you do not expect me to pay for this?" she asked.
Only if you wish to, Lady Kita," he said.
Her eyes, over her veil, were angry.
"You wished a perfume, did you not," asked Turbus Veminius, "to distract your companion from his slave sluts, did you not?"
"Yes," she said.
"This perfume," said Turbus Veminius, "will remind him of what he has forgotten, that you are a woman."
"I will take back this perfume," he said. "Obvi usly you will not want it."
"No," she said, quickly, lifting her head. "I will take it."
"The price is high," he said, "a golden tarn disk."
"I will pay it," she said, giving him the coin from a small, beaded purse she held in her hand.
She turned to leave, but then, again, turned to face him.
"Yes?" he asked.
"Do you sell slave perfume, true slave perfume?" she asked.
"We do not sell perfume for slave sluts in the shop of Veminius," he said, sternly.
"Forgive me, Turbus," she said.
"Try the shop of the Steel Bracelets," he smiled. "It is near the house of Hassan, on the Street of Brands."
"Thank you, Turbus," she said. She turned again, to leave.
"And do not let them overcharge you," he called after her. "Five two-hort vials should cost you no more than a copper tarsk!"
"Yes, Turbus," she said. "Thank you. Turbus." She stood in the doorway, but did not turn to face him. "I wish you well, Turbus," she said.
"I, too, wish you well, Lady Kita," he said.