Friday, May 7, 2010

The Herb of Grace

The inn itself was a fair-sized old house with bulging white-washed, buttressed walls...

I've been having some fun while away. Today I find myself missing Blogdom so am back. Not really back, back, but a skipperty-lippertish kind of back.

What fun you may wonder. Reading fun! I've been reading The Bird in the Tree and Pilgrim's Inn. (It's my goal to have the final one finished in time for a Saturday return, though I do have another week to fall back upon. The sooner I finish, the sooner I will be back to visiting you. Yay!) These are such delicious books that I've even been writing down my favorite passages to savor later; these are the kinds of books that one wishes to read again so I will continue to look for them at flea markets. (Thank you, sweet M-N, for your kind offer.)

I'd like to thank those who've read Elizabeth Goudge and shared your love of her books. Brenda's Warm and Cozy Book Recommendations comes to mind and so many others in Blogland have mentioned this author.

The two I have read are about the Eliot family who own homes on England's Hampshire Coast located in the southwest corner. The homes are named Damerosehay and The Herb of Grace. (Herb of Grace is actually the British title of Pilgrim's Inn.) About 80 pages into the first book, I couldn't stand not knowing how to pronounce Damerosehay another minute. Thankfully, someone on the net had already asked and received an answer. You can find it *here.* (When the site corrected the spelling of perceived, the link no longer worked; it has been fixed now these seven + years later.)

These are good old-fashioned reads. There may be undercurrents of sordid details, but goodness, love, and morality always prevail. I may be somewhat at odds with the family matriarch Lucilla concerning the benefits of living in a loveless, hollow marriage, but then I must consider the time in which Goudge was writing. The descriptions of home and garden were so beautifully and lovingly crafted...pure delights. I'll share a few of the excerpts I saved and hope that you, too, may be bitten by the desire to find these treasures at your local library or flea market or on the shelves of a friend's bookcase.

...She spent her whole life in terror of disturbing people when they did not want her and so catching was her frame of mind that they too, when she entered anxiously upon them, were inclined to agree with her that, no, they did not want her...she held aloof always, afraid to give herself lest her gift should be scorned, and possessions that she most deeply prized...slid away from her. ~from The Bird in the Tree describing Margaret Eliot
The thought came to her that though she herself had done all she could, there was upon her side other strength than her own. The universe was planned as an orderly thing, and those forces that try to wreck its order are always on the losing side...
~Ibid describing Lucilla Eliot
"One's real self gets very sharpened when one is unhappy. It gets able to pierce through and make peepholes in the stuff of everyday life. It's practically the only advantage of being unhappy." ~Ibid David Eliot and shabbiness are quite compatible. The great to start well. A thing of beauty is a joy forever, but it must be a costly and strong beauty, purchased at a high price of service or sacrifice. ~Ibid Lucilla's opinion
"To a gardener...any garden is home. It's home and work together. It's not any one's the earth and things growing in it that one loves." ~Ibid Margaret Eliot
Ben decided, not for the first time, that all his family were quite mad, and turned his attention, as Grandmother had advised, to the view.~ Ibid
Just like Ben, I've been turning my attention to the view quite a lot recently. So much in these books resonates with me from "advice" on how to cope in trying times to thoughts on home and garden and family.

There have been times when separate events come together in my life in striking ways or perhaps it's just because I have a mind always seeking to make connections. I have often been told that I make "unusual" ones. Whatever it is, my gifts from Robin arrived this week and have become one of those striking ties for I will remember this delicious week of reading ever so much better as a result of Robin's thoughtfulness. I don't know if she planned it this way having learned that I was going to read the aforementioned books or if it was a God breeze, but it's wonderful. Just see what I mean...

My gifts and their connections:

The sweet little bird...birds feature prominently in both stories, but especially in the first

The watering can charm...gardening connection

Flower magnets and notepaper...ditto

Verbena soap and lotion...The family matriarch Lucilla uses verbena as her signature scent

Candles...English hyacinth...story set in England and Flowering herbs..."The Herb of Grace" is the home from Pilgrim's Inn.

Vanilla Pear Butter...such a tasty treat for a proper English tea! And how did Robin know that my favorite fruit is pear?!

"Praise God" tag...there's a profound spirituality in these two Goudge books and a message of yielding oneself to God. Love those sweet colors of binding tape to use in tag making. (My mother will benefit first.)

Robin, thank you so much! I was and am blessed!

So what do you think? Were those connections too far-fetched?

Thank you for all your kind comments and prayers for my mother. She is doing quite well, everything considered, and we are all so grateful. At this point, I'm sending a cyber hug to my Aunt Ess and Uncle B. They are the best! I don't know what my family would do without them. God does not leave us comfortless and they have been God's comfort to us in recent days. Hope to have an update on "Behind the Scenes" soon.


  1. Happy to find an update. Happy to find you sounding........ OK, I don't know how to describe your feelings, since we don't really understand each other.

    But Understanding is not necessary, for Love.

    The book is finally in the mail, this morning. I - am - so - slow. But you know that. :-)

    Gentle hugs...

  2. Now I know the next author I will look for at the library. This week one of the librarians mentioned that she had not seen me for a while. She was right...I haven't been reading much until just lately. They know that is rare.

    Glad your mother is coming along after her surgery.

    It is so good to see you here, even if it is just a brief visit.


    Becky K.

  3. Nice to hear from you...and know that your mom is doing OK.

    Enjoy your books...and your bloggy break...and take care of yourself.

  4. oh, hello! i remember you!

    i am going to run to the bookstore
    to purchase ALL those books that
    you so heartily endorsed.

    i never check out lovely books,
    because i need to own them. since,
    i don't really collect anything else,
    i refuse to feel guilty.

    SOOOO happy your mom is doing
    well and that you are decidedly

    enjoy the last book.


  5. How lovely to hear from you - almost like a long chat. Elizabeth Goudge has an uncanny insight into the workings of the human heart. Her characters are imperfectly loveable and remind me that God's grace is beyond measuring, and that I need to extend grace to others.

    I haven't read her for a long time, but she's going on my list of authors to read again.

    Finding connections that mean something to YOU is more important than if they mean something to anyone else. I think your connection perfectly valid!

  6. Hmmm...she's new to me. I do love it when someone recommends a new author. I'm looking for something new, so this is on list.

    Thanks so much for all of your support last week!


  7. Oh Vee, I was so pleased when I popped over to wish you a lovely Mother's Day. There you were. I am glad that your mom is doing okay.

    Sounds like you are enjoying your rest.


  8. Of course, you know how much I love Elizabeth Goudge.

    These two books in particular are favorites.

    They are definitely on my list to be re-read often.

    I enjoyed most of what I have read that she has written but I do think those of us "of a certain age" enjoy The Dean's Watch very much.

  9. So good to see you, Vee! I am happy to hear your Mom is doing well ..she remains in my prayers.

    I am on the lookout for Elizabeth Goudge books on your recommendation. I love a good read!

    Have a very Happy Mother's Day!

    ♥ Pat

  10. It's so nice to see an update from you, Vee. Glad to hear your mom is doing well and that you are enjoying time to read some good books. Congratulations on your giveaway win. Such beautiful gifts you received and so interesting how they tie into the books you are reading.

  11. Don't know the author, but will soon.

    "those forces that try to wreck its order are always on the losing side..."

    Now, that's an uplifting thought! Nice to remember that there is a plan and that it will prevail and that it is good! C

  12. The music on your blog gave me such a peaceful moment. Will you share its title with me? Is it from a CD? I've jotted down the book titles - the search is on!

  13. It was a God breeze......

    Glad to hear your Mother is doing well. I hope you have a fabulous Mother's Day weekend yourself.

    I LOVED that little bird...he almost didn't make it into the box :)


  14. Oh yes I believe you Vee. God is sending you messages of love and confirmation through your universe.

    I am thrilled to hear you are falling in love with E.G. books too. Wisdom from an age gone by...yet her writing so speaks to my life in so many ways.

    I had never written down quotes from a book before (except the Bible) till I started reading E.G.

    I am glad to hear things are going well for your mother's recovery.

    ...and yes I am just a little opinionated ;)

  15. Vee,

    I have missed ever so much in my time away. I am thrilled to hear that your mother's surgery went so well. It sounds as if you received some gifts that were heaven sent and the connections are perfect!

    I hope you are enjoying your books and your weekend!

  16. Cheryl~

    Hi! I think you are about to begin blogging??? Wonderful!

    You can find the answer to your question by scrolling all the way down on the page to my Playlist. It's the only song I have listed. I find it very soothing, too.

  17. I've loved these books since my mother had them when I was quite young and am happy to read about them here! Books can be such a comfort and such an inspiration and such a blessing. I really hope there are always real physical books for people to love. I watched my neighbor on a flight home as she read from her Nook, (the B&N version of Kindle) and could see its uses, but I hope it will never replace a real book completely.

  18. i popped back to wish you a lovely and
    happy mother's day!

    do something ornery . . .

  19. Vanilla pear butter sounds so good! I read Pilgrim's Inn a few months ago. I also read it because of Brenda~smile.

    Happy Mother's Day!



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