What the nose knew (some scented vignettes)


July 27, 2022

Roberta McKern

A cylindrical Hottentot stove, the source of many aromas familiar (some comfortably homey, others an indicator of social class) to many pre-20th-century local denizens, occupies the parlor at the East Linn Museum, along with an organ and other furniture perfect for entertaining guests.

At this time of year, as summer begins to wane, some of us are lucky enough to be able to visit scented backyards, where perfumes set forth by blooming honeysuckle, privet hedge, butterfly bush and rose waft and mingle on passing breezes. "Ah, the country garden," we might think.

Then we might begin to ponder, "Is this how it really smelled in the past?"

Nothing strikes us as more fleeting than the scents of history. That's just as well when it comes to tales of carnage and destruction. Then the scholar who observes, "History stinks," would be too right.

On the other hand, taking East Linn...

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