Fragrance in the Writings of Mary Hunter Austin



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There is another town above Las Uvas that merits some attention, a town of arches and airy crofts, full of linnets, blackbirds, fruit birds, small sharp hawks, and mockingbirds that sing by night. They pour out piercing, unendurably sweet cavatinas above the fragrance of bloom and musky smell of fruit. Singing is in fact the business of the night at Las Uvas as sleeping is for midday. When the moon comes over the mountain wall new-washed from the sea, and the shadows lie like lace on the stamped floors of the patios, from recess to recess of the vine tangle runs the thrum of guitars and the voice of singing.
The land of little rain
By Mary Hunter Austin

I was sitting between the roots of a redwood steeped in the warm fragrance and languor of a pine forest in the spring, when this notion occurred to me. The force with which this idea caught me might have arisen from Trastevera's wishing it at that moment, or Ravenutzi's being engaged on some business that made my presence advisable.
Outland
By Mary Hunter Austin

She had been there only long enough to be conscious of it as the place to come back to from an excursion into the city, when she began to be beautifully aware of a renewal of continuity in that gay and affectionate intimacy with her father, which had been the most formative influence of her life. It rose to her like a delicate fragrance out of Delia Robbia garlands and Roman candlesticks, was shaken from fragments of old embroideries, long-stored treasures of the sort that can still be picked up in Europe by people of discriminating taste and a selective narrowness of means.
No. 26 Jayne Street
By Mary Hunter Austin

"Well, why don't you grow flowers?" said the meadowsweet; "it is easy enough. Just do as I do," and she spread her drift of blossoms like a fragrant snow. But the sugar pine found it impossible to be anything but stiff and plainly green, though every year in the stir and tingle of new sap he felt a promise of better things.
The basket woman: a book of fanciful tales for children
By Mary Hunter Austin

Toward evening he crossed a mesa, open and falling abruptly to the valley, of a mile's breadth or more, very fragrant with sage and gilias opening in the waning light. The sound of bells came faintly up to him with the blether of sheep from the mesa's edge that marked the progress of a flock. Against the slanting light he made out the forms of shepherds running, it seemed, and in some commotion.
Isidro
By Mary Hunter Austin

Out West, the west of the mesas and the unpatented hills, there is more sky than any place in the world. It does not sit flatly on the rim of earth, but begins somewhere out in the space in which the earth is poised, hollows more, and is full of clean winey winds. There are some odors, too, that get into the blood. There is the spring smell of sage that is the warning that sap is beginning to work in a soil that looks to have none of the juices of life in it; it is the sort of smell that sets one thinking what a long furrow the plough would turn up here, the sort of smell that is the beginning of new leafage, is best at the plant's best, and leaves a pungent trail where wild cattle crop. There is the smell of sage at sundown, burning sage from campoodies and sheep camps, that travels on the thin blue wraiths of smoke; the kind of smell that gets into the hair and garments, is not much liked except upon long acquaintance, and every Paiute and shepherd smells of it indubitably. There is the palpable smell of the bitter dust that comes up from the alkali flats at the end of the dry seasons, and the smell of rain from the wide-mouthed canons. And last the smell of the salt grass country, which is the beginning of other things that are the end of the mesa trail.
The land of little rain
By Mary Hunter Austin

By much the same cry that apprises the flock of tainted drink they are made aware of strangers in the band. This is chiefly the business of yearlings, wise old ewes and seasoned wethers not much regarding it. One of the band discerns a smell not the smell of his flock, and bells the others to come on and inquire. They run blatting to his call and form a ring about the stranger, vociferating disapproval until the flock-mind wakes and pricks them to butt the intruder from the herd; but he persisting and hanging on the outskirts of the flock, acquaints them with his smell and becomes finally incorporate in the band. Nothing else but the rattlesnake extracts this note of protest from the flock. Him also they inclose in the noisy ring until the rattler wriggles to his hole, or the herder comes with his makila and puts an end to the commotion.
The flock
By Mary Hunter Austin

There were days when he caught golden glints of the stream that ran smoothly about the meadow, in a bed of leopard-colored stones, and, reflecting all the light that fell into the hollow of the hills, gave the place its name; days when the air was warm and the sky was purely blue, and the resinous smell of the pines on the meadow border came to the seedling like a sweet savor in a dream, for as yet he did not understand what he was to be* He was pleased just to be looking at the summer riot of the flowering things, and loved the cool softness of the snow when he was tucked into comfortable darkness to dream of the spring odor of the pines. Then, when it seemed that the meadow had forgotten him, the little tree would fall to thinking the thoughts proper to his kind, and found the time pass pleasantly.
The basket woman: a book of fanciful tales for children
By Mary Hunter Austin

I WAS sitting under a toyon tree watching Evarra brew forgetfulness in a polished porphyry bowl, when Herman came by. It was the morning of the Meet. The Cup was wanted for her who was the Ward, and Evarra took a great deal of pains with the brew, heating the bowl slowly and, when the dry leaves began to smoke and give off an odor of young fir, dropping water gently and setting it to steep in the sun. I had hoped to discover What plant it might be, but there was little to be guessed except that it had a blue flower taken in the bud, and smelled like a wood path in the spring. Evarra sat and stirred under the toyon and answered my questions or not as she was inclined.
Outland
By Mary Hunter Austin

All else that he knew were the wild creatures of the mountain, the trees, the storms, the small flowering things, and away at the back of his heart a pale memory of his mother like the faint forest odor that clung to the black embers of the pine. They had lived in the town when the mother was alive and the father worked in the mines. There were not many women or children in the town at that time, but miningmen jostling with rude quick ways; and the young mother was not happy.
The basket woman: a book of fanciful tales for children
By Mary Hunter Austin

These were the old trees that had wagged their tops together for three hundred years. Around them stood a ring of saplings and seedlings scattered there by the parent firs, and a little apart from these was the one that Mathew loved. It was slender of trunk and silvery white, the branches spread out fan wise to the outline of a perfect spire. In the spring, when the young growth covered it as with a gossamer web, it gave out a pleasant odor, and it was to him like the memory of what his mother had been. Then he garlanded it with flowers and hung streamers of white clematis all heavy with bloom upon its boughs. He brought it berries in cups of bark and sweet water from the spring; always as long as he knew it, it seemed to him that the fir tree had a soul.
The basket woman: a book of fanciful tales for children
By Mary Hunter Austin

They went on between the oaks, and smelled the musky sweet smell of the wild grapevines along the water borders. The sagebrush began to fail from the slopes, and buckthorn to grow up tall and thicker; the wind brought them a long sigh from the lowest pines. They came up with the silver firs and passed them, passed the drooping spruces, the wet meadows, and the wood of thimble-cone pines. The ail under them had an earthy smell. Presently they came out upon a cleared space very high up where the rocks were sharp and steep.
The basket woman: a book of fanciful tales for children
By Mary Hunter Austin

It was quite dark; but the presence of Emma Jeffries streamed from it and betrayed it more than a candle. It streamed out steadily across the garden, and even as it reached her, mixed with the smell of the damp mignonette, the neighbor woman owned to herself that she had always known Emma would come back.
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