Nature’s Freezer

La Carriole Rouge by Clarence Gagnon

Quick Quotes 18. The following is taken from Travels in Lower Canada, by Joseph Sansom (1820):

Quebec is subjected to frequent rains, by the neighbouring mountains which arrest the clouds in its vicinity; and it has little to boast of in summer, though the days are very long, from its high northern latitude, (46. 55.) The sun now rises about four o’clock, and sets about eight. The winter is allowed to be the season of enjoyment here.

A sufficient stock of meat and poultry is killed when the cold sets in, which it usually does in November, continuing without intermission till April, and sometimes encroaching upon May. The snow then usually lies upon the ground from four to six feet deep. The meat, as well as every thing else that is exposed to the cold, instantly freezes; and it is thus kept, without further trouble, till it is wanted.

As the snows fall, the inhabitants turn out to keep the road open, that their intercourse with their neighbours may not be impeded. The air is constantly serene and healthful; the nights are illuminated with the aurora borealis; and the time is spent in giving and returning visits between town and country. Dancing-parties are frequently formed by the young people at one another’s houses, and the gay scene is at its height when the great river freezes over, as it sometimes does from side to side. The island of Orleans is then accessible, and every body turning out upon the “pont,” as they call it, on skates, or else in sleds and carrioles,

“The then gay land is maddened all to joy.”

Spring at length opens suddenly; the ice breaks up with tremendous crashes; and vegetation follows in surprising rapidity, as soon as the surface of the ground is clear of snow.

Such they say is, occasionally, the extremity of the cold, that wine freezes even in apartments heated by stoves, the pipes of which are conveyed through every room. Brandy exposed to the air will thicken to the consistence of oil; and the quicksilver of thermometers condenses to the bulb, and may possibly congeal, for even mercury freezes at 39 degrees below the beginning of Fahrenheit.

A carriole is a Canadian sledge pulled by a horse or by dogs.

“Quick Quotes” are some bonus content for the blog. Each time I find an interesting or amusing little quote from and old (verging on forgotten) book, that does not really need any further explanation or background information, it will appear on Windows into History under this heading. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.

About Roger Pocock

Co-writer on Author of Editor of
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