The pupil who could master this course of study was prepared, so far as the education within reach could fit him, to undertake the responsibilities of life; and it was generally acquired at the expense of a daily walk of several miles through deep snow and intense cold, with books and dinner-basket in hand.
It was with the appetite of a starved creature that she fell upon her books. A log fell forward and Joan lifted her head. She had not come to an end of Isabella's tragedy nor of her own memories, but something other than the falling log had startled her; a light, crunching step upon the snow. She looked toward the window.
"I'd like nuthin' better'n to see them big trees out in Californy I've been hearin' 'bout all my life; an' summer an' winter with snow on the mountains what some of the boarders 't the inn tells 'bout; but I can't bring it 'bout. You see it's this way.
"I wish I had an extra pair of woolen stockings to pull over my shoes; the snow and ice will be cold walking. What are they doing to the horses?" "Will it please you to alight, madam?" said Geoffrey, springing from his saddle at the door of the coach.
The Funeral of the Poor, by the late Vigneron, isn't to be ridiculed. Brr!" At last we came to the edge of the grave. The place and the time were sad. Under a cloudy sky the little yew-trees, swayed by the wind, threw down their burdens of melted snow. The by-standers had formed a circle, and were watching the grave-diggers, who were lowering the coffin by cords.
The last arrival, whom the sleeper had designated "Redmond," proceeded to divest himself of his short fur coat and, after dashing the snow from it and his muskrat-faced cap, unbuckled his side-arms, and hung all up at the head of his own particular cot. Flashing across our retrospective mind-screens, as at times we dreamily delve into the past, beloved faces come and go.
The coverings or roofs of their houses are constructed for the most part in the following manner: Having carried the wall to its full height, they make it to incline or bend in gradually till it form a regular vault. They are little incommoded with rain in this country; as the climate is so extremely cold, that the first snow that falls does not thaw for nine months.
In the summer-time a few brave tufts of grass, coaxed into life by the warm sun, clung desperately to an accidental level, and now and then a gay dandelion flamed for a day or two and then disappeared, cut off by some bedouin goat. In the winter there were only patches of blackened snow, fouled by the endless smoke of passing trains, and seamed with the short-cut footpaths of the yard men.
"You must take the grace of her presence, day by day, as you do the rest, at least till she shows signs of departure." "We never can tell how things are going to turn," said Mr Snow, musingly. "There is that good come out of your sickness. They are both here, and, as far as I see, they are content to be here.
When we opened our eyes next morning, snow was lying some inches deep, and still falling fast; there was no cessation for forty-eight hours, and then we had to give it time to thaw a little, so that it was Sunday morning before we started on our homeward ride. In the meantime, nothing could afford a greater contrast to the wild weather out of doors than the snug brightness within.
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