Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sarah Orne Jewett

I discovered the New England author Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) in the early 1980's and this passage has stayed with me all these years. Each time I walk in a garden, or work with my own herbs, I remember her words and the vivid imagery she evokes.

La Joie des Choses, 1884 by Armand Point Musée des beaux-arts de Nancy

“...but the discovery was soon made that Mrs. Todd was an ardent lover of herbs, both wild and tame, and the sea-breezes blew into the low end-window of the house laden with not only sweet-brier and sweet-mary, but balm and sage and borage and mint, wormwood and southernwood. If Mrs. Todd had occasion to step into the far corner of her herb plot, she trod heavily upon thyme, and made its fragrant presence known with all the rest. Being a very large person, her full skirts brushed and bent almost every slender stalk that her feet missed. You could always tell when she was stepping about there, even when you were half awake in the morning, and learned to know, in the course of a few weeks' experience, in exactly which corner of the garden she might be.“
From: The Country of the Pointed Firs, 1896 by Sarah Orne Jewett

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