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In The Song of the Lark, Thea mentions having once stolen a sachet of orris-root powder.  It's a similar idea, I think.  Fred laughs and says that her things always smell of orris.  Thea explains that she has gone back repeatedly to the store to buy it ever since to make it up to them.  The fact that Fred knows what her linens or (more likely) undergarments smell like suggests their physical intimacy.  Doing a Google book search, I see that the sachets with the scent of "new mown hay" use orris-root powder in their blend (as do other scents).  I wonder if this choice suggests Thea's connection to the American landscape.  I wonder what scent of sachet Willa Cather herself used.

Susan Lynn Meyer
Department of English, Wellesley College, Wellesley MA 02481

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On Sun, Jul 22, 2018 at 9:57 AM, Melissa Homestead <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear Jim,

 

I’ve always assumed that she has suggested this to Alexandra so that her underclothes will smell nice (like rosemary). Her dresses would hang rather than being in a chest (translation bureau), so underthings (of which there were many for women in the late 19th century) is what would be in a chest).

 

Melissa Homestead

 

From: "5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars" <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of James Cody <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: "5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 8:09 AM
To: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [5BANKSTREET] Rosemary Leaves

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Does anyone know what practice Marie refers to when she says to Alexandra, "you put rosemary leaves in your chest, like I told you"? 

 

--Jim

 

Jim Cody, D.Litt.
Professor
English Dept.
Brookdale Community College
765 Newman Springs Road
Lincroft, NJ  07738
(732)224-2681
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