lap of land
lap: any of various hollow or depressed areas, such as a hollow in the land
genius: the guardian spirit of a place, group of people, or institution
In the thirteen British colonies that became the United States in 1776, British money was often in circulation. Each colony issued its own paper money, with pounds, shillings, and pence used as the standard units of account. Some coins were minted in the colonies, such as the 1652 pine-tree shilling in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. After the United States adopted the dollar as its unit of currency and accepted the gold standard, one British shilling was worth 24 US cents. Due to ongoing shortages of US coins in some regions, shillings continued to circulate deep into the 19th century. Shillings are described as the standard monetary unit throughout the autobiography of Solomon Northup (1853) and mentioned several times in the Horatio Alger, Jr. story, Ragged Dick (1868).
The bedspread sits on top of the comforter and is ornamental.
, glistened from their covert of asparagus tops
1.it is 'andirons' (one word), a set of two rests that hold logs in to fire. The shovel (for ashes) and tongs (to move wood in the fire) complete the set.
a covert can be defined as 'Area of thick undergrowth where animals hide.' For instance, a fox can hide in a covert.
Asparagus tops have a very 'ferny' appearance, and if there were some in the fireplace (the fire is obviously not lit), maybe for decoration, it would look as if the andirons are in thick vegetation. The metal must be very clean and polished, as it gleams.
Here is a picture of asparagus tops, to give an idea of what it would look like:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus#m...
2.It's a metaphor.
In this case covert as a noun means "a thicket in which game can hide."
"...andirons, with their accompanying shovel and tongs, glistened from their covert of asparagus tops;"
The andirons, shovel, and tongs are standing in a fireplace surrounded by asparagus . The asparagus is perhaps being used as a decoration, or is growing there.
IIn the 1800s, quilting frolics, bees, and parties were gatherings of women and girls at which it was customary for attendants to work together on one quilt. The quilt would be stretched on a large frame that some or all of the attendants could sit around as they stitched. At this stage in the quiltmaking process, the top, batting, and backing were all layered together, and members of the quilting frolic would work to finish the quilting of the whole so that the finished quilt could be soon used or given as a gift. Quilting frolics were social events for women, and during the day they might cook while they quilted or bring food to the event.
Because opportunities for socializing were scarce, invitations to quilting frolics were expected, and it was considered rude not to invite every able woman to a frolic. In 1849, Everand Dickinson of Izard County wrote, “It is customary here for the Neighbors to take turns in helping each other harvest. They all go with their wives and daughters and babies. The men gather the wheat while the women quilt.” A quilting frolic might be held to complete an everyday quilt, but it might also be held for special quilts such as the customary thirteen quilts, or baker’s dozen, that would go in the hope chest of a young woman who was soon to be married.