The Reverend Gerald Corliss associated the season of Advent with the scent of violets. This was the hour before the dawn of the Church’s year, when the end of the nave was in darkness by four o’clock, and Evensong was said under a night sky. To him, it always seemed darker, more patient, and more a time of waiting than the three days following Good Friday. Born and brought up in the country, he knew well that English violets did not appear until the spring, but the flowers that haunted this season for him were not country ones; they belonged to London, and were sold in bunches made up with an alien leaf; sometimes at street corners, but most often in expensive flower-shops, and their faint scent was blent with that of the London smoke. He thought of this idea about violets as a weakness in himself, and faced it resignedly. Nevertheless, he always bought a bunch of violets in the first week in December and put them in his room.
commentary: Yesterday was the First Sunday of Advent.
Starlight gave the blog an Easter entry, and I said then that it roughly follows the church year – I’m going to come back to it at Xmas too. But I also loved this (completely un-clothes-related) moment. The book is quite dark at times, and has some very dysfunctional people and relationships in it. But there are some lovely moments of kindness and goodness in it, and this was one of them. The Reverend Corliss, the curate in a deprived part of London, is shown as a rather uninspired, difficult man, but here he shows his nicer side. And we all need a bunch of flowers at this time of the year.
This one is by Raoul de Longpre, from The Athenaeum website.