winter scents 2

Do you remember the apple hole in the garden or back of the house, Ben Bolt? In the fall, after the bins in the cellar had been well stocked, we excavated a circular pit in the warm mellow earth, and, covering the bottom with clean rye straw, emptied in basketful after basketful of hardy choice varieties, till there was a tent-shaped mound several feet high of shining variegated fruit. Then, wrapping it about with a thick layer of long rye straw, and tucking it up snug and warm, the mound was covered with a thin coating of earth, a flat stone on the top holding down the straw. As winter set in, another coating of earth was put upon it, with perhaps an overcoat of coarse dry stable manure, and the precious pile was left in silence and darkness till spring. No marmot, hibernating under ground in his nest of leaves and dry grass, more cosy and warm. No frost, no wet, but fragrant privacy and quiet. Then how the earth tempers and flavors the apples! It draws out all the acrid unripe qualities, and infuses into them a subtle refreshing taste of the soil. Some varieties perish, but the ranker, hardier kinds, like the northern spy, the greening, or the black apple, or the russet, or the pinnock, how they ripen and grow in grace, how the green becomes gold, and the bitter becomes sweet!
The Writings of John Burroughs: Winter sunshine
 By John Burroughs

The fire rests upon the broad hearth; the hearth rests upon a great substruction of stone, and the substruction rests upon the cellar. What supports the cellar I never knew, but the cellar supports the family. The cellar is the foundation of domestic comfort. Into its dark, cavernous recesses the child's imagination fearfully goes. Bogies guard the bins of choicest apples. I know not what comical sprites sit astride the ciderbarrels ranged along the walls. The feeble flicker of the tallow-candle does not at all dispel, but creates illusions, and magnifies all the rich possibilities of this underground treasurehouse. When the cellar-door is opened and the boy begins to descend into the thick darkness, it is always with a heart-beat as of one started upon some adventure. Who can forget the smell that comes through the opened door ;—a mingling of fresh earth, fruit exhaling delicious aroma, kitchen vegetables, the mouldy odor of barrels, a sort of ancestral air, —as if a door had been opened into an old romance. Do you like it? Not much. But then I would not exchange the remembrance of it for a good many odors and perfumes that I do like.
Scribners Monthly, Volume 2
 By Laura Winthrop Johnson

WINTER IN OLD CHESTER COUNTY
Chester County's well-loved hills and her woods
and winding streams
Are lulled to rest by the winter winds and locked in winter
dreams;
A world of pure and gleaming white, — I love to think of
her so,
The dear home-land, the quaint old shire, enwrapt in the
silent snow.
And out on the wandering, winding stream, our pastoral
Brandy wine,
Where the sleepy August angler sat and dozed by his
drooping line,
The skaters glide with shout and song in the silvered
moonlit night,
By leafless willow and fragrant fir, and O 'tis a merry
sight!
And I can see the wood-fire's breath from many a chimney
rise
And melt into the filmy blue that sleeps along the skies,
And watch in the silent afternoon the sunset's dying flame
Fire all the western woods with light too beautiful to
name.
The spice and tang of the frosty air, the hoot of the
wizard owl,
The far-away bark of the lonely fox and the watch-dog's
mournful howl,
Our twilight walk by the desolate woods and over the
windy hill,
And the rabbit-tracks we found in the glade,
— O I can
recall them still!
The Collected Poems of John Russell Hayes
 By John Russell Hayes

WHITE MAGIC
WHEN Winter hushes for a time
The music of the sylvan brook,
And shuts its witchery of rhyme
In her white book,
The world is not yet dumb;
For in the snow-hung vines and trees
With their cold blossoms, icy clear,
Invisible the winds like bees
Swarm, and I hear
Their weird and wizard hum.
 Such is the magic wand she wields
That she can shape my fancy so
My dreams are all of fragrant fields
The wild bees know
In summer's golden noon;
And through the dull December hours
Mine is the month for which I long, —
The barren branch grows bright with flowers
Where the bees throng, —
White magic, —winter June!
The Poems of Frank Dempster Sherman
 By Frank Dempster Sherman
It was this intense fidelity of character that now kept her in her watch at the window, waiting for the two friends who were to make them four children on Christmas Eve. Once, indeed, as no figures were to be seen far or near out on the winter landscape, she turned softly into the room, and much against her will continued her search for the key that would unlock the doors connecting the library with the parlor — the dark and suddenly mysterious parlor where the Christmas Tree now stood.
There was a mingling of three odors in the library that forenoon. Into one wall an old white marble mantel-piece was built, decorated on each side with huge bunches of grapes — a votive offering by Bacchus, god of the inner fire, to Pluto, god of the outer fire. This mantel now held in its heart a crimson glow of anthracite coals; and the wintry smell of coal gas was comfortably pervasive. Making its summerlike way through the gas was the fragrance of rose geranium, some pots of which were blooming on a window-sill just inside the silvery landscapes of frost. A third and more powerful odor was that of a bruised evergreen, boughs of which had been crushed in handling, and the sap of which, oozing from the trunk, scattered far its wild balsam: the fragrance ever suggested the fir in the next room....
Next she went to another window where the geraniums were blooming, and looked on the sill: these geraniums were her mother's especial care, as everything in the house was her especial care; and Elizabeth had often watched her pouring water on the budding green of the plants as though the drops were bright tears: once she believed the bright drops were tears.
Then she passed on to the locked connecting doors between the library and the parlor, sniffing as she drew near the odor of the fir — sniffing it with sensitive nostril as a fawn on some wild mountain-side questions the breeze blowing from beds of inaccessible herbage. Every spring when the parlor was locked for cleaning and when children's feet and fingers must be kept from wet paint, she was used to see her mother lock these doors and lay the key along the edge of the carpet. It was not there now, however.

 The Doctor's Christmas Eve ...
 By James Lane Allen

"I remember, I remember
How my childhood fleeted by, —
The mirth of its December,
And the warmth of its July."
WHEN dusk closed in it would be Christmas eve. All day I had three points — a chair beside the kitchen table, a lookout melted through the frost on the front window, and the big sitting-room fireplace. All the perfumes of Araby floated from our kitchen that day. There was that delicious smell of baking flour from big snowy loaves of bread, light biscuit, golden coffee cake, and cinnamon rolls dripping a waxy mixture of sugar, butter, and spice, much better than the finest butterscotch ever brought from the city. There was the tempting odour of boiling ham and baking pies. The air was filled with the smell of more herbs and spices than I knew the names of, that went into mincemeat, fruit cake, plum pudding, and pies. There was a teasing fragrance in the spiced vinegar heating for pickles, a reminder of winesap and rambo in the boiling cider, while the newly opened bottles of grape juice filled the house with the tang of Concord and muscadine. It seemed to me I never got nicely fixed where I could take a sly dip in the cake dough or snipe a fat raisin from the mincemeat but Candace would say: "Don't you suppose the backlog is halfway down the lane?"
Laddie: A True Blue Story
 By Gene Stratton-Porter
I usually solve the mince-pie problem by making the mince meat early in November, for it is all the better for ripening and becoming mellow before it is used. Then, when
the preparations for Thanksgiving are under way, if the demand for mince pie becomes insistent, the wherewithal for its making is at hand, and no one need be disappointed. Not so, however, with the Christmas fruit cake, which is also made early and tucked away safely and carefully with a hard tart apple and a quince beside it, to keep it moist and give it additional fragrance and flavor. As soon as the first hard frost arrives and when the new raisins and currants and nuts make their tempting appearance in the markets and shops, the Christmas cake is baked.
The fruits and spices and other good things for it and the mince meat are usually purchased at one time, and then for a few days the kitchen is a busy, aromatic, merry place while the cake is being concocted.
The Ladies' Home Journal

Haying is over; the uplands were shorn of their blossoms a month ago, and the fragrance of the meadows has been stowed away upon the barnscaffolding for winter tid-bits for the cows and calves; and how eagerly will they reach out for the juicy blue-joint and herdsgrass as the farmer pushes the meadow-grass by their noses along the barn floor! What sweet breaths these coaxing cattle have as they stretch their necks over the low rail in mute appeal. But how eloquent was that appeal! I could never refuse it, and what good friends we were in those days! What friendships of barnyard and pasture-side we made as the huge forkfuls of yellow straw and corn-butts went out of the barn into its narrow, sunny yard, and under its sheds for the cattle to munch while they took their daily airing in the snowy, blustering winter weather. How warmly the midday sun shone out of the south when the melted snow along the roof of the barn came dripping down, hardening into long, shapely icicles as the afternoon grew, cooler, grayer, and shorter with the sundown!
Prose Pastorals
 By Herbert Milton Sylvester
Here are tall spruces roughly scarred by winter and summer storm, with pendent globules of rare amber-colored gum, and which have been daintily distilled by the summer heats out of rich, flowing saps, and which hang just out of reach above me. Its gathering is quite a business,
and is quite profitable to trapper and guide hereabouts. The lumbermen bring large quantities of this fruit of the spruce as they come down from the timber-slopes, and which readily finds a market at the druggist's, from whose plate-glass windows it looks out, not upon the pageantry of merrie June or the dreamy quiet of an Indian summer among the hills, but rather upon the pride and squalor of the town, and from whose sweet-scented cases, with all their aristocratic surroundings, it is sold to shop-girls, dyspeptics, and school-children.
O, the seductive charm of its aromatic quid in school-boy days! How many were the richly merited chastisements of leathern strap and birchen switch its clandestine yet delicious chewing brought upon our shoulders! What rare visions of youth are stored within its transparent depths: of staunch, glittering crusts, of clumsy snow-shoes and boyish awkwardness; of winter air and winter life, when the earth has begun its inclination toward the sun, bringing pleasant warmth and dripping eaves at high noon, and longer days; of fragrant woods, when boyhood has gone into the lowland spruces, when the March winds sing weird, crooning lullaby s amid their tops, and shake down upon one's shoulders huge flakes of snow which the last storm had lodged so thickly over their matted boughs, to search for amber jewels! What memories of irate pedagogue, of sunlight slanting down the narrow aisle, of loudly accentuated footstep, of sharply questioning eye, of pinioned chin and farprotruding tongue! Dead men tell no tales, and the bit of chewing-gum, secretly started on its way down the youthful gullet a moment before, is beyond the reach of the baffled schoolmaster, who can scarce conceal his chagrin. What boyish pranks were carried on behind the sloping tops of the old pine desks of the low-roofed brick school-house the master might imagine, but never discover. The aroma of the spruce brings back the tide of youth again, with all its adventure of winter sport and blush of summer days in field and wood.




  





Prose Pastorals
 By Herbert Milton Sylvest


THE WINTER MORNING. A SONNET.
Now, from his chilly chambers in the east,
Walks forth, close wrapped, the shivering Winter-day,
His torch just tinging the dun skies with gray,
And clouds and tempests beating round his breast.
The dusky air, by cutting cold possessed,
Makes the bright fire and pleasant room be loved ;
And Homer, from the window-seat removed,
Seems, more than ever, on the hearth caressed.
But soon the Morn's short reign is o'er : and tea
Smokes on the board ; and merry faces round
Inhale its grateful fragrance joyously,
While loud without the driving tempests sound.
That Nature courts no intimacy then,
We feel, and linger round our fellow- men.
Bion. The Oriental Herald, Volume 4

Emerging from the darkness, I was dazzled by the bright winter sunbeams pouring into one of the most brilliantly furnished rooms I had ever seen. On three sides it was fitted up with figured-velvet sofas, but the south side was entirely of glass, painted in gay garlands, forming part of a conservatory, which was filled with blossoming orange-trees and bright exotics, emitting a delicious fragrance. Three or four beautiful birds were expanding their plumage to the light, while a moveable marble fountain of perfumed water threw up its wreaths of living diamonds at the entrance. There was no fireplace; yet, notwithstanding the chilly season, the artificial temperature resembled May; and in the centre of the room stood a golden brazier, filled with burning scented woods. The velvet sofas were of light green, having gold flowers and tassels; a number of pink satin cushions piled near the window were worked in silver patterns; and one, of white satin edged with down, had what I concluded was a Turkish name embroidered in seed pearls. The walls, of white and gold, were panelled and inlaid in various arabesque devices: and, instead of the rough plafond too common in French houses, the ceiling was richly carved and ornamented in pale rose-colour and gold.
The Snowflake: a Christmas, New-year, and Birthday Gift, for MDCCCLII.

Where he is going the white snow is falling gently on the road, a cart full of sweet smelling roots is moving on velvet, the driver stops to exchange views with a farmer who has been feeding his sheep, within the humblest cottage the fire is burning clearly. With every mile northward the Glenman's heart lifts; and as he lands on his far-away little station, he draws a deep breath of the clean, wholesome air. It is a long walk through the snow, but there is a kindly, couthy smell from the woods, and at sight of the squares of light in his home, weariness departs from a Drumtochty man.
The Bookman, Volume 4

"Pity the man who does not know a good apple—and how many dot One in ten! No, not one in fifty. It may be red and showy and the Italian may have rubbed it till it shines, but it may be an apple only in form and in price. It is now midwinter. There are apples in storage in the cities and in the cellars of farmers. Go into one of these places. Get the odor—the cool, fresh, fruity smell. Pick out the highest priced parcel— even then the individual apples will probably be cheaper than those you buy on the street—and you run your hands over them as lightly as you would over the keys of a piano. Hold one in your hand, clasping your fingers over its plump rondure. Note its size and shape. See the slight blush on the cheek and the tones of green that run from bottom to top. Look in the ends. The stem is intact. There are no wormholes, no ugly blotches, no marks of rude fingers. Put it to your nose and inhale the fragrance. Hold ic at the hollow of your cheek. Now eat it. Do not cut it or slice it, but eat it. Feel the break and crack of its cool, crisp flesh, the flow of its sprightly juice, and get the aroma that lies at the very heart of it. At last you have eaten an apple.
"Strange that we are connoisseurs in tea and wine and pickles, and yet that apples are merely apples. Warm and wilted and polished, they lie in trays and rows on the stands, and we buy them. Probably half the people in the big cities buy their apples thus, one at a time here and there—Ben Davis, Baldwin, Pennock, anything that is bri ht and handsome. I sometimes think that city folk in furnace heated houses can never know what a really good apple is, no matter how good the grocer and the caterer may be. It is in the farmhouse with a real cellar— not abasement with heater and laundry and ash bins—that one gets apples. You sit in the "wing" beside a crackling fire-place or in a stove that is built for service rather than for ornament. The cellar is under the "upright." To reach it you go through the buttery, through the cellar door that has a cat hole in the lower front corner, and with lamp or lantern in hand yon go down the stairs into a subterranean world. Above ground the snow is scurrying around the house corners, but here is a dark and snug retreat, a retreat such as no real city house can have.
There is no smell of ashes and soapsuds, only the cool, soft odor of the moist ground and of the apples stored in boxes and barrels. From box to box you go—Northern Spies, Talman Sweets, Greenings, Roxbury Russets, Seek-no furthers, Rambos, Spitzenbergs, Grimes's Golden, Snow apples, None-such, Swaars, perhaps belated Kings and Fall Pippins— even Baldwins are not good enough for this company—and you take your pick.
Medical Mirror, Volume 14
 By Isaac Newton Love