The basket was empty — this had not been difficult among ten of them — they only regretted it was not larger. The conversation was kept up for some little time longer, although somewhat more coldly after they had finished eating.
The night fell, the darkness grew gradually more profound, and the cold, to which digestion rendered them more sensitive, made even Boule de Suif shiver in spite of her fat.
Madame de Breville thereupon offered her her charcoal foot-warmer, which had been replenished several times since the morning; she accepted with alacrity, for her feet were like ice. Mesdames Carre’-Lamadon and Loiseau lent theirs to the two Sisters.
The driver had lit his lanterns, which shed a vivid light over the cloud of vapor that hung over the steaming back of the horses and over the snow at each side of the road, which seemed to open out under the shifting reflection of the lights.
I’m used to dealing with ‘average’ sorts of relics from the past. Sometimes we’re lucky and we get objects that are unusual. Sometimes we get objects which haven’t been totally separated from their past.
Sometimes we get the rare intersection of items that are both unusual and still retain association with the past.
Take this item. It is a charcoal hand-warmer from the horse-and-buggy era. It was a gift to one Robert Peyton from his affectionate Aunt Kate. She included a note detailing that she wished him to use it as ”it may do to warm his hands as he goes to school in the winter” or for “his mother to use it in some of her long country rides.”
Aunt Kate, in the interests of comprehensiveness and full disclosure to uneducated country cousins, includes detailed instructions and a recipe for making further charcoal nodules, should the Peyton family use the supply she sent.
It is in excellent condition and was probably never used since we still have Aunt Kate’s charcoal and her instructions.
It is about 6 1/2 inches in diameter and stands 4 1/2 inches tall with the lid. The body of it appears to be copper and the handle looks to be brass.