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THE DARK OF AUTUMN AND THE BRIGHT OF WINTER

IN NEW ENGLAND.

I HAVE a cousin born and bred in one of the West India Islands. How I, a New Englander, happened to have such a relative there, matters not to my story. Of course, I had an uncle; and if you only think of the sheen of a Spanish dollar glittering upon the eye of acquisitiveness, you will not wonder that my uncle married and settled in a climate so different from that of his nativity. Well, this cousin visited his father's relatives in New England, for the first time, in the summer of the year 18—. He spent some months with us, for the purpose of crowning his mercantile education with some branches not so well acquired in his native island. The early part of December was the time set for his return. He shuddered at the very thought of exposing his tropical organization to the severities of our winter. He began to shiver with cold, and to curl over a fire in serene September. The calmness and southwestern softness of our Indian summer, with all its "pomp of hues," could hardly reconcile him to our frosty nights. As the

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cold season advanced, he began to grow desperate. He rolled in his extremities, as the leaves do, by the potency of frost. Finally, he betook himself to some friends in the city, for he supposed it might be rather more comfortable amid brick walls and a sea-softened atmosphere, than it was so far to the north, and so high in the sky, as was our hilly town. Yet he made us one more visit, previous to sailing for his own dear clime of the sun. He would not have dared a chilly journey of more than fifty miles into the country, but here was his father's birth-place, and the home of his ancestors; and, more than all, he really loved us, as he found that the Granite State, where we lived, had imparted nothing of its stone to our hearts.

The day our tender-bodied friend arrived, was the very last and the very gloomiest of November. The aspects of earth and sky were to most natives, as well as to the tropic-bred, about the same for cheerfulness as the circumstances of a funeral. Indeed, death in unburied deformity was everywhere around, in respect to the vegetable tribes. Field, pasture, and woodland, in summer so variously beautiful, were now all dark and desolate, in the last stages of autumnal decay. And, to multiply the images of mortality, our West Indian, in jocular spleen, said, that the trees were like lifeless skeletons, with their bare and cold bony limbs rattling against each other in the wind. No wonder that even these long-living giants of vegetation looked, also, like the dead, to an eye accustomed to perennial verdure.

The visible heavens, moreover, shed down no consolation for the departed life and comeliness of earth. The sky was ceiled around with leaden, and still more darkly blue clouds; forming, as it were, fit dome for those malignant powers of the air that deepen pensiveness into melancholy, and force despair into suicide, in some unfortunate temperaments. The waters, too, which will sparkle in the clear sun as cheerfully as when the vernal leaves put out over them, or the summer flowers grace their borders ;-they had caught the sadness of the season, and seemed to reflect from their bosom the chill of the clouds, as well as their hue. There was wanting only one circumstance more to give to the day the last and superlative degree of cheerlessness, and this was that blue breath of the sea. demons, the northeast wind.

Such was the day on which our visitor from the torrid zone arrived at our door, with his face, hands, and heart, all im-blued with its influences. After our cordial salutations and genial fireside had repossessed him with comfort, we spent a right merry evening, making him feel that ours was no unfavorable climate for hearts.

Just before retiring for the night, it was observed that the clouds had closed mistily together, and were drooping lower, betokening some kind of visitation from them before morning. But the temperature was just at that point at which the most infallible almanac-maker dare not be more positive han to say,

“Rain, hail, or snow, or some sort of weather before long." Next morning we were surprised to find that about four inches of snow had fallen during the night. It was quite remarkable that the first snow should come exactly with the first day of winter. The sky was now as clear as on the first morning of light, before a cloud had been made, or a mist had gone up. It was truly one of the most beautiful days that ever dropped from the sun. Now, thought I, cousin Ferdinand will behold a sight such as he never saw before, and one worth traveling for far, and tarrying for long. I roused him from his slumbers, that I might be sure to witness his surprise. As the white curtains were let down so as completely to cover the windows, he did not perceive the change that had taken place, before he left his chamber. I contrived to get his half-opened eyes to the door before he discovered it. I suddenly fung the door wide open, and let the unexpected scene upon his startled sight-a landscape of spreading plains, oval hills, and peaked mountains ; yesterday so drearily dark, but now all arrayed in the purest white, and bounded by the soft contrast of the azure heaven. As there had been but little or no wind, the snow had fallen as even as ever the hand of art had laid the carpets of a palace. And it had descended so gently and moist, that it lodged wherever it touched. All the fences were edged, and the posts were capped with white. But the trees were the rnost curious spectacle. Every branch and twig, before so naked and black, was now clothed and bright with this bloom from the skies. Here and there curling tendrils, and more pendent boughs, making one think of flowery wreaths and festoons. At the moment, moreover, the rising sun was just gazing from the horizon on the white expanse, which gave back into his own rejoicing face the perfect reflection of all his harmoniously mingled hues. Such was the scene which broke with the suddenness of enchantment on the young man's vision. He would scarcely have been more astonished and enraptured had he fallen asleep in our dismal north, and awaked to gaze on the flowery paradise of his own native isle. Indeed, had equatorial Flora herself been here, she might have been consumed with envy, as well as been congealed by cold. For there were forms and colors which she could not equal, with all her skill. The surface of the frost-work was one boundless continuity of the minutest prisms, all radiant with the seven-hued light, as if powdered with particles of rainbow. Certain I am, that in all nature there is not a texture or a tinting more exquisitely delicate than this; it is the nearest approach to the spiritual that the human eye beholds in things material.

I need not record the ohs and ahs, and all the extravagant superlatives, now uttered by my bewildered and transported cousin. He found no more fault with the manifold and uncomfortable changes of our capricious climate. He felt that autuinn's darkest, might well be endured for the sake of beholding winter's brightest, enhanced by such a contrast.

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