Almost all wild apples are handsome.
They cannot be too gnarly and crabbed and rusty to
look at. The gnarliest will have some redeeming
traits even to the eye. You will discover some
evening redness dashed or sprinkled on some protuberance
or in some cavity. It is rare that the summer
lets an apple go without streaking or spotting it on
some part of its sphere. It will have some red
stains, commemorating the mornings and evenings it
has witnessed; some dark and rusty blotches, in memory
of the clouds and foggy, mildewy days that have passed
over it; and a spacious field of green reflecting
the general face of Nature, green even
as the fields; or a yellow ground, which implies a
milder flavor, yellow as the harvest, or
russet as the hills.
Apples, these I mean, unspeakably
fair, apples not of Discord, but Concord!
Yet not so rare but that the homeliest may have a share.
Painted by the frosts, some a uniform clear bright
yellow, or red, or crimson, as if their spheres had
regularly revolved, and enjoyed the influence of the
sun on all sides alike, some with the faintest
pink blush imaginable, some brindled with
deep red streaks like a cow, or with hundreds of fine
blood-red rays running regularly from the stem-dimple
to the blossom-end, like meridional lines, on a straw-colored
ground, some touched with a greenish rust,
like a fine lichen, here and there, with crimson blotches
or eyes more or less confluent and fiery when wet, and
others gnarly, and freckled or peppered all over on
the stem side with fine crimson spots on a white ground,
as if accidentally sprinkled from the brush of Him
who paints the autumn leaves. Others, again,
are sometimes red inside, perfused with a beautiful
blush, fairy food, too beautiful to eat, apple
of the Hesperides, apple of the evening sky!
But like shells and pebbles on the sea-shore, they
must be seen as they sparkle amid the withering leaves
in some dell in the woods, in the autumnal air, or
as they lie in the wet grass, and not when they have
wilted and faded in the house.