In Canada the preference for a settled cold is so decided that it creates a half-inclination to postpone Christmas till the land is well covered with a closely woven blanket of snow. Generally speaking, there is little doubt about it; for long before Santa Claus is ready to leave his northern workshops, the roofs of the houses may be so smothered over that he can with difficulty get down the chimneys.
Occasionally, however, the Indians may note the habits of the beaver, and the weather prophet may quote the preparations of the Indians; but Nature is a fickle mistress, and waits neither upon calendar nor probabilities. November frosts make promises only to be broken by December thaws. The winter may be “on,” as the Canadian says, and rivers converted into roads by the Feast of St. Andrew; or there may be a “green Yuletide,” the snow, even when started on its journey, playing by the way, the flakes chasing each other in the air, pirouetting and coquetting with the earth—half-minded to return to their home in the sky.
On a still night and cold the St. Lawrence ” takes:” that is, it freezes over. Some snow already fallen is “lying :” that is, it has not melted, and a fresh fall is the only thing necessary to brighten up the streets and make the sleighing perfect. On the night before Christmas Eve we consult ” Old Prob,” and find that there is to be a “rapidly falling temperature, with more snow on the Upper St Lawrence region.” Before retiring to rest a peep outside assures us that the meteorological forecast is correct. The first flakes are quietly and gently falling.
The bells break in upon our early morning dreams. No rumbling of vehicles, no clatter of wheels on the causeway! The very stillness rouses us from slumber. We dress without a shiver—for the house has been kept comfortably warm through the night—and go to the window to look out; but a deep crusting of ice on the glass of the outer window—not of a delicate lace texture, but of a thick velvety material—hides everything from our view.
Another fine Christmas image from the Quebec children’s magazine L’Oiseau Bleu.