Father Terrier

The peace loving monk

Father Terrier is a character in the novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind. He lives as a monk in the cloister of Saint-Merri in the Rue Saint-Martin in Paris. He is described as a balding homely man of about fifty, "with a light odor of vinegar" (Part 1, 2%). 

Father Terrier is educated and has studied theology. He is interested in philosophy, botany and alchemy (Part 1, 6%). His task is to manage the cloister's charitable fund. He hires wet nurses for parentless children and also pays craftsmen's bills: "If it isn’t a beggar, it’s a merchant, and if it isn’t a merchant, it’s a tradesman, and if it isn’t alms he wants, then he presents me with a bill." (Part 1, 5%). 

Terrier seems overwhelmed by many different problems and longs for peace, recognition, and gratitude. He wishes that someone would give him a small gift or simply tell him: "‘God bless you, Father Terrier, I wish you a good day!’" (Part 1, 5%). But he thinks that he will never experience this again. He cannot tolerate "ruffling his composure" (Part 1, 4%) and therefore he is not happy when the hired nurse Jeanne Bussie knocks on the door of the cloister after only a few weeks of attendance to return the infant Grenouille to him. Father Terrier "wished that this female would take her market basket and go home and let him alone with her suckling problems." (Part 1, 4%).

The conversation with the nurse

The wet nurse tells Father Terrier that she can no longer take care of the child because he is too hungry and has pumped out her milk. A long conversation follows between the wet nurse and the priest, who tries to change the woman's mind. The Father is reluctant to take the boy and begins by offering the wet nurse a two-franc raise to care for the child: "Five francs is a pile of money for the menial task of feeding a baby." (Part 1, 6%). She, however, declines the offer. 

Father Te...

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