I rejoiced to hear of your returning health and increased happiness—may they long continue. Your expressions of regret for my exile, as you term my residence in this country, affected me greatly. Let the assurance that I am not less happy than when I left my native land, console you for my absence. If my situation be changed, my heart is not. My spirits are as light as ever, and at times I feel a gaiety that bids defiance to all care.
You say you fear the rigours of the Canadian winter will kill me. I never enjoyed better health, nor so good, as since it commenced. There is a degree of spirit and vigour infused into one’s blood by the purity of the air that is quite exhilarating. The very snow seems whiter and more beautiful than it does in our damp, vapoury climate. During a keen bright winter’s day you will often perceive the air filled with minute frozen particles, which are quite dry, and slightly prick your face like needle-points, while the sky is blue and bright above you. There is a decided difference between the first snow-falls and those of mid-winter; the first are in large soft flakes, and seldom remain long without thawing, but those that fall after the cold has regularly set in are smaller, drier, and of the most beautiful forms, sometimes pointed like a cluster of rays, or else feathered in the most exquisite manner.
I find my eyes much inconvenienced by the dazzling glitter of the snow on bright sunny days, so as to render my sight extremely dull and indistinct for hours after exposure to its power. I would strongly advise any one coming out to this country to provide themselves with blue or green glasses; and by no means to omit green crape or green tissue veils. Poor Moses’ gross of green spectacles would not have proved so bad a spec. in Canada*.
[* Oculists condemn coloured spectacles, as injuring weak eyes by the heat which they occasion. Coloured gauze or coloured shades are preferable.—Ed.]
Some few nights ago as I was returning from visiting a sick friend, I was delighted by the effect produced by the frost. The earth, the trees, every stick, dried leaf, and stone in my path was glittering with mimic diamonds, as if touched by some magical power; objects the most rude and devoid of beauty had suddenly assumed a brilliancy that was dazzling beyond the most vivid fancy to conceive; every frozen particle sent forth rays of bright light. You might have imagined yourself in Sinbad’s valley of gems; nor was the temperature of the air at all unpleasantly cold.
I have often felt the sensation of cold on a windy day in Britain far more severe than I have done in Canada, when the mercury indicated a much lower degree of temperature. There is almost a trance-like stillness in the air during our frosty nights that lessens the unpleasantness of the sensation.