The first day of his return, when school was over, he set off rejoicing in his freedom, for a ramble through the snow, still revolving what he was to do next; for he wanted some steady employment with an end in view. In the course of his solitary walk, he came to the Wan Water, the other river that flowed through the wide valley and wan enough it was now with its snow-sheet over it!

The snow-sheet has been spread, and a downward sweep of violent wind will hit the surface, denting it, scraping away an edge of the top layer, and usually gripping through into lower layers; then, rebounding, it will lift the whole sheet up again, or any part of it; and, shattering it into its component crystals, will throw these aloft and afar to be laid down again further on.

When a body's took up wid onraisonable notions, you might as well be hammerin' could iron as offerin' to persuade him diff'rint. But he'll maybe turn in at the Gallahers'." They watched him until the dark imprints of his receding steps in the thin snow-sheet could no longer be distinguished, and then Dan closed the door, shutting out the wide world and the fortune seeker.

Winter had ended ten days before; and Russia, with that marvellous rapidity with which she accomplishes all change, had already risen from snow-sheet and mud-bed, and stood negligéed in a robe of gauzy-green, all flower-sprigged and sun-flecked. Three days more, and the fruit trees, for which Klin is famous, would be bowers of pink and white.