Fragrant Quote for November 24th, 2012-China collecting in America, Volume 3 By Alice Morse Earle

Crown of New England

A thin, auburn-haired, freckle-faced Yankee, about twenty-one years old, answered our questions with the greatest interest, and finally offered us the use of his own horse and open wagon for the whole day for two dollars. "And I'll drive fer ye, too," he added, with enthusiasm. "Ye'd never find old Hartington's if ye took the hoss yerself, an' I do' 'now as I can neither, without some pretty tall huntin' and questionin'."
So off we started on the back seat of an open country "express wagon " to find "old Hartington's farm." The warm October sun streamed down upon us, the great red and russet rock-broken fields stretched off into the beautiful lonely purple mountain, "heeding his sky affairs," the dying brakes and weeds sent forth their sweet nutty autumn fragrance, the soft yellow and brown leaves fluttered down on us, and the ripe chestnut burrs fell rustling by our side as we rode through the narrow wood-roads. The hard New England landscape was softened and Orientalized by the yellow autumn tints. The half-sad stillness of dying nature and the warmth of the Indian summer inclined us to ride quietly and thoughtfully along the country roads, but that neither Mr. Simmons, nor his new wagon, nor Jenny, his steed, would for a moment permit. She had the unpleasant habit, so common among country horses, of " slacking-up " suddenly at the foot of every hill. The wagon was a " jump-seat," so the back seat was not fastened in securely. At every hill (and the New England hills are countless) we and the seat were pitched forward on Mr. Simmons's back. He seemed to expect this assault and rather enjoy it. To quite counterbalance this sudden stoppage of progression, Jenny would spring forward with much and instantaneous speed whenever she caught sight of Mr. Simmons's short whip. This whip he used as a pointer in his many and diffuse explanations, so whenever our attention was called to an old house, or a poor "run-out" farm, or "the barn old White hung himself in," Jenny emphasized the explanation with a twitch of our necks that brought into active play muscles little used before.

China collecting in America, Volume 3

 By Alice Morse Earle