It is a notable fact that how much soever animals of the genus homo
may be averse to the approach of a snow-storm, a genuine old-fashioned fall of snow is always a season of merriment with that portion of the creation which we are wont, in she plenitude of ourself-complacency, and as distinguished from ourselves, to denominate the brute.
The old horse prances amid the descending flakes with the joyous motion of youth and health; the young colt kicks up his heels and carries his head in the air as though he snuffed the battle in the distance.
The cattle gambol with all the elasticity of au elephant in his native jungle.
The dog plays a thousand antic tricks around his master, seeming to invite him to partake in his sport.
All four-footed nature is glad, and of trop-footed
nature, man, the eternal grumbler, is alone sullen and sulky.
But man is sulky and sullen because it is not his season to be happy and hilarious.
Man, however, has
such a season (Christian man we mean, for we take no account of the five hundred millions of pagans, who were put here for no better purpose than to fill up space): that season is the space of time which elapses between the eighteenth and twenty-fifth of December.
Then every man, woman and child begins to feel Christmas
in his, her or its bones, and incontinently goes mad for joy about some
we could never exactly understand.
The feeling seems akin to that of the man who makes the trip to Santa Fee
across the country, and who rises up every morning in the pure air of the prairies with a disposition to shout a loud and thank God that he is alive.
Of course work goes on until Christmas day, but it is done in a very slovenly manner, and had best, in most cases, be left undone altogether.
It seems to be a decree of fate that Christian man should be utterly disorganized
at least once a year; and at this precise season of the year everybody is on the move; steamboats and railroads do a heavy business, and everybody that has horses to hire out may calculate on a small fortune.
At last, Christmas
— the long-looked-for, the much desired — comes; and oh ! Seged, King
of Ethiopia, what does it bring with it?
Like all other earthly things, disappointment.
Man cannot be happy when he sets a day to be so; and therefore he is very seldom happy on Christmas day.
Let any man look back on his past life, and select the days worthiest to be marked with a white stone; how many Christmas days will he reckon among them?
It comes once a year, as if for the express purpose of proving the mournful truth that there is in this world always more pleasure in anticipation, than in reality.