This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
" All these are items in the description of a winter evening, which must surely be familiar to everybody born in a cold latitude; and it is evident that most of these delicacies cannot be ripened without weather stormy or inclement in some way or other. Ton need not be particular whether it be snow, or frost, or wind so strong that (as some one has said) ' you may lean your back against it like a post.' Something of the sort I must have, and if I have it not, I think myself in a manner ill-used; for why am I called on to pay so heavily for winter in coals, candles, Ac, if I am not to have the article good of its kind? No; a Canadian winter for my money, or a Russian one, where every man is but a co-proprietor with the north wind in the fee simple of his own ears".
There are many who will recognize the value of such scenes; for ourselves, we confess to its pleasures, but a little milder would be more to our taste. The whistling of southern breezes rushing up the valleys, and quickening with their warmth the early flower - the budding lilac.and syringa - the opening leaf of the sturdy oak - awaken in our breast that balm to man's pilgrimage, the ever open-handed boon to our earthly thoughts, hope. In the cold winter, we are thrown altogether upon our own resources. In the spring time of year, all nature rejoices us as a companion; her florets gem every twig; each day brings new beauties, each month new fruits, that are better than candles, coal, and curtains. But yet, to us, born to the rigors of frost, and writing, as we are, in the midst of its biting, enjoyment is not cut off.
This is the time to study man, and to gain some little more insight into nature's workings; books of botany, and histories of birds, of insects, the growth, and the legends of trees, are resources for the winter evening. A pursuit of some kind most surely cheers the wintry night. Do our readers remember how thoroughly happy they have been when something was going on of a winter's evening, the family, may be, assembled round a blazing hearth, and all engaged in paring apples? or constructing some rustic piece of furniture for the approaching spring 1 It is sufficient to produce the enjoyment our pleasing author has shadowed so well, that all hands should be employed in what interests the mind; something doing, something done, accomplished! time not thrown away, sends all hands happy to their rest.
In northern climes, where the days are shorter than in the more tropical regions, this species of comfort and pleasure is better known than in southern lands. The family makes preparation for the longer period of darkness, and assembles round a fire common to all. One perhaps reads while the others work, and from this period of their lives they produce the ornamental objects which embellish their home, or those numerous small wares which load down every vessel's deck that leaves an Eastern port. Such - either intellectual pursuits and pleasures, mechanical employments, or, better, both combined - should all aim at, who desire to hail another day with energy for renewed exertion, and in good humor with their fellow creatures.