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[86] the water and gleams ruddy in the sunlight. As we approach the foaming cascade, the toys become larger and more glittering, movable stalactites, which the water tosses merrily upon their flexible stems. The torrent pours down beneath an enamelled mask of ice, wreathed and convoluted like a brain, and sparkling with gorgeous glow. Tremulous motions and glimmerings go through the translucent veil, as if it throbbed with the throbbing wave beneath. It holds in its mazes stray bits of color,—scarlet berries, evergreen sprigs, blue raspberry-stems, and sprays of yellow willow; glittering necklaces and wreaths and tiaras of brilliant ice-work cling and trail around its edges, and no regal palace shines with such carcanets of jewels as this winter ball-room of the dancing drops.

Above, the brook becomes a smooth, black canal between two steep white banks; and the glassy water seems momentarily stiffening into the solid blackness of ice. Here and there thin films are already formed over it, and are being constantly broken apart by the treacherous current; a flake a foot square is jerked away and goes sliding beneath the slight, transparent surface till it reappears below. The same thing, on a larger scale, helps to form the mighty ice-pack of the Northern seas. Nothing except ice is capable of combining, on the largest scale, bulk with mobility, and this imparts a dignity to its motions, even in miniature. I do not believe that anything in Behring's Straits could impress me with a grander sense of desolation or of power than when in boyhood I watched the ice break up in the winding channel of Charles River.

Amidst so much that seems like death, let us turn and study the life. There is much more to be seen in winter than most of us have ever noticed. Far in the North the ‘moose-yards’ are crowded and trampled, at this season, and the wolf and the deer run noiselessly a deadly race, as I have heard the hunters describe, upon the white surface of the gleaming lake. The pond beneath our feet keeps its stores of life chiefly below its level platform, as the bright fishes in the basket of yon heavy-booted fisherman can tell. Yet the scattered tracks of mink and muskrat beside the banks, of meadow-mice around the hay-stacks, of squirrels under the trees, of rabbits and partridges in the wood, show the warm life that is beating unseen, beneath fur or feathers, close beside us. The chickadees are chattering merrily in the upland grove, the blue-jays scream in the hemlock glade, the snow-bird mates the snow with its whiteness, and the robin contrasts with it his still ruddy breast. The weird and impenetrable crows, most talkative of birds and most uncommunicative, their very food at this season a mystery, are almost as numerous now as in summer. They always seem like some race of banished goblins, doing penance for some primeval and inscrutable transgression, and if any bird have a history, it is they. In the Spanish version of the tradition of King Arthur, it is said that he fled from the

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