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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 155 pages of information about Backlog Studies.
a ship in a gale.  The world was taken possession of by the demons of the air, who had their will of it.  There is a sort of fascination in such a scene, equal to that of a tempest at sea, and without its attendant haunting sense of peril; there is no fear that the house will founder or dash against your neighbor’s cottage, which is dimly seen anchored across the field; at every thundering onset there is no fear that the cook’s galley will upset, or the screw break loose and smash through the side, and we are not in momently expectation of the tinkling of the little bell to “stop her.”  The snow rises in drifting waves, and the naked trees bend like strained masts; but so long as the window-blinds remain fast, and the chimney-tops do not go, we preserve an equal mind.  Nothing more serious can happen than the failure of the butcher’s and the grocer’s carts, unless, indeed, the little news-carrier should fail to board us with the world’s daily bulletin, or our next-door neighbor should be deterred from coming to sit by the blazing, excited fire, and interchange the trifling, harmless gossip of the day.  The feeling of seclusion on such a day is sweet, but the true friend who does brave the storm and come is welcomed with a sort of enthusiasm that his arrival in pleasant weather would never excite.  The snow-bound in their Arctic hulk are glad to see even a wandering Esquimau.

On such a day I recall the great snow-storms on the northern New England hills, which lasted for a week with no cessation, with no sunrise or sunset, and no observation at noon; and the sky all the while dark with the driving snow, and the whole world full of the noise of the rioting Boreal forces; until the roads were obliterated, the fences covered, and the snow was piled solidly above the first-story windows of the farmhouse on one side, and drifted before the front door so high that egress could only be had by tunneling the bank.

After such a battle and siege, when the wind fell and the sun struggled out again, the pallid world lay subdued and tranquil, and the scattered dwellings were not unlike wrecks stranded by the tempest and half buried in sand.  But when the blue sky again bent over all, the wide expanse of snow sparkled like diamond-fields, and the chimney signal-smokes could be seen, how beautiful was the picture!  Then began the stir abroad, and the efforts to open up communication through roads, or fields, or wherever paths could be broken, and the ways to the meeting-house first of all.  Then from every house and hamlet the men turned out with shovels, with the patient, lumbering oxen yoked to the sleds, to break the roads, driving into the deepest drifts, shoveling and shouting as if the severe labor were a holiday frolic, the courage and the hilarity rising with the difficulties encountered; and relief parties, meeting at length in the midst of the wide white desolation, hailed each other as chance explorers in new lands, and made the

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