Fragrance Quote for January 25th, 2012- Leaves from a lady's diary of her travels in Barbary, Volume 2

One or two days after our arrival in Tunis, F--brought me a very ugly flower, a sort of vegetable polypus as it were, which had neither leaves nor stalk, nor, as I supposed, smell. For want of a stalk it was stuck on the end of a small twig. Almost offended at the imputation against my taste implied by F 's offering me so ugly a thing, I paid no attention to his present but let it lie on the chimney-piece. Often, however, as I passed the spot I perceived a delicious odour, and in vain inquired where were the concealed beds of violets or mignonette from which it proceeded. Neither F-- nor T-- could give me any information on the matter. The perfume meanwhile grew stronger and stronger every day, and with it grew my amazement at the phenomenon. It was my despised thistle which diffused its incomparable fragrance over the whole room. I found it limp and faded, lying under a heap of newspapers. I took it up, and pulled out the pointed twig that had been thrust into its tender heart, entreated its forgiveness for having so mistaken its worth, laid it into a saucer full of water, and behold, it did forgive me; for its shrivelled florets expanded themselves again, and sent forth their fragrance more abundantly than ever. " I pardon your contumelious neglect of me," it seemed to say, "for my outward aspect is repulsive; but learn from me, that you should first try everything before you reject it, and that you cannot argue rightly from outward show to what lies within."

I have accordingly concluded a trace with the whole thistle tribe, and as the best proof I can give of this, I follow the example of the late Bey, and am never without one of these delightful toffs. It is now the season when they are in bloom, and they stretch their heads by hundreds out of the earth; for they grow so close to the ground that one must actually dig them out to get the flower entire. The exquisite perfume of this thistle is universally acknowledged, for many fragrant essences are prepared from it.
Leaves from a lady's diary of her travels in Barbary, Volume 2