Fragrant Quote for October 5th, 2012-Autumn Afternoon by May Hamilton



WELL do I remember the balm and beauty of that Indian summer afternoon—the purple haze settling like a royal garment over the hill-tops, the sunny slope of land stretching away to the deep, dim forest, where the graceful maples were flinging out their gorgeous banners, scarlet, green and gold; and the warm, fruity fragrance the sweet south wind bore up from my rare old orchard rich in ripened treasure. Great yellow pears, with a flavor like Moselle wine; apples red on the rind aud sound to the core; blushing velvety peaches ready to burst with luscious ripeness. If I had a weakness it was for hearing the comments of certain masculine fruit growers of my neighborhood, as they stood casting envious eyes at the basket of my finest specimens occupying a prominent place in the Horticultural Exhibition.
"This is a fine property of yours, Miss West. A very fine property, and you manage it like a man," old Doctor Marsh said to me one morning, pausing under my loaded grape-vines.
What higher commendation could mortal woman crave? Lonely old maid though I was, I could not after that feel that my life had been all in vain!
But that matchless October afternoon of which I write, steeped in sunshine dipped in harvest bloom, so sultry that I threw the windows wide open, and, dressing for dinner, changed my cashmere wrapper for a crisp white muslin scattered over with a unique pattern of tiny tufted feathers of vivid scarlet, like the plumage of some tropical bird. I don't know how I came to search out that dress from the depths of the great wardrobe. I remembered, ah, how well, the first and only time I had ever worn it! The perfume yet lingering in its folds suggested a curving line of sea-shore, shining like powdered silver under a yellow August moon, a sweet, wild waltz stirring the dewy air with thrills of maddest melody, and a voice deeper than the summer sea, sweeter than the throbbing waltz, telling an old story over again in my ear. Just one foolish moment I stood living it over again — the moonrise, the music, and John Edgeworth's voice; then turning to my toilet table I caught the glimmer of a gray hair threading itself along my hair-brush, and the picture faded, showing only an old maid who lived alone with her servants and managed her property like a man.