Fragrant Quote for January 22nd, 2012 from The Atlantic monthly, Volume 21

Jeanne's annual visit to the Vallee d'Allon was paid in the early summer, when the freshness of spring was blooming into the full flowery beauty of the Norman June. Then the lavender fields were in blossom, and the air was filled with the delicate and pungent perfume of their tender colored spikes.

The sweet, long summer days passed tranquilly, Jeanne taking part in all the pleasant pastoral duties of the country life. The morning aad the evening milking, the churning, and the hay-making, not to speak of the daily feeding of fowls and turkeys, and sleek and shining ducks, as well as the innumerable pigeons, that, at the first glimpse of the portly figure of Madame Ducrds, would leave sunning themselves on the redtiled roof, and sweep down, cooing in a sort of ecstatic contentment, and sail round her white cap, and even flutter down upon her outstretched hand.

Jeanne helped her aunt also in her gardening. The garden before the house was bright with a thousand flowers, — sweet-scented stocks and wreathing honeysuckle and clematis, rosebushes that spread their sheets of blossom, crimson and pink and snowy, in the sweet June weather. To Jeanne these roses had always associations of sacredness and awe ; for on the eve of every Trinity Sunday her aunt cleared her rose-bushes of their beautiful flowers to serve at the great festival of the following day.

On that day the mass was performed in the open air at a household altar erected for the occasion, and all the way by which the procession came from the church to the temporary shrine was strewn with flowers. Jeanne as a child had walked sedately with Gabriel behind her uncle and aunt, bearing her basket of roses, and looking like an infant St. Elizabeth. She remembered the solemn waiting by the roadside till the procession came up; the far-off chanting voices growing ever louder as the procession, with its richly vested priests, its white-robed choristers with their twinkling lights and swinging censers drew nearer ; the great silken banner, from which the benignant figure of the Madonna swayed to and fro above the crowd; the incense rising in the sunny air, and mixing its sacred perfume with the breath of the roses. She remembered her aunt leading her forward, half dizzy with awe and excitement, to throw her roses before the feet of the foremost priest, and her glimpse of the blazing star borne in the upraised hands, struck by the full morning sunlight, before which they all prostrated themselves. She remembered how they had then risen from their knees and joined the multitude, all like themselves dressed in their bright holiday garb, and followed the procession, chanting as they went. So to Jeanne the scent of roses seemed always blended with the perfume of incense, and she never decorated her bodice with them but on the fites of the Madonna ; and she usually wore at home a bunch of the lavender blossoms, gathered from the little garden that lay before the cottage at Verangeville ; for with its delicate scented spikes were connected all the pleasant associations of the fragrant lavender fields at her uncle's in the Vallde d'Alton.
The Atlantic monthly, Volume 21