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In our climate, however, no great and continued severity of cold usually takes place be. fore the close of the month.
Several of the wild-quadrupeds now take to their winter-concealments, which ihty either seldonı or never quịt duting the winter. Of these, some are in an absolutely torpid or sleeping state, taking no food for a considerable time, others are only drowsy and inactive, and continue to feed on provisions which they have hoarded up.
In this country, few be. come entirely torpid.
Bats retire early to caves and holes, where they remain the whole winter, suspended by the hind feet, and closely wrapped up in the membranes of the fore-feet. As their food is chiefly insects, they can lay up no store for the winter, and therefore must be starved, if nature did not thus render food unnecessary for them. Dormice also lie torpid the grearest part of the winter, though they lay up stores of provision. Ao warm day sometimes revives them ; when they eat a little, but soon relapse into their former sleepy condition.
Squirrels, and various kinds of field-mice, provide magazines.' of food against winter, but are not known to become torpid. The badger, the hedgehog, and the mole, keep close in their winter-quarters in the northern regions, and sleep away great part of the season.
The only vegetables which now flourish are the numerous tribes of mosses, and the
'lichens, or liverworts, Lichens cover the ditchbanks, and other neglected spots, with a leather-like substance, which in some countries serves as food both to men and cattle. The rein-deer lichen is the greatest treasure of the poor Laplanders, who depend upon it for the support of their only species of domestic cattle during their tedious winters.
On the 21st of December, happens the shortest day; when the sun is not quite eight hours above the horizon in these islands. About 15 degrees to the northward of these islands, the sun does not rise at all, and a continued night lasts weeks or months, according to the distance from the north pole. But on the contrary, to the countries near the south pole it is at this period perpetual day, and every where to the south of the middle parts of the earth, it is summer. As our summer advances, their winter approaches.
The festival of Christmas occurs very sea. sonably to cheer this comfortless period of the year in our northern hemisphere. Great preparations are made for it in the country. Thus the old year steals away ; and a new ene begins with lengthening days and brighter skies, inspiring fresh hopes and expectations.
Description of the Laplanders. Who can be without a lively sense of grati. "lude toward his' Creator, and of pity to those
of the year :
of his fellow-creatures to whom Nature has more sparingly distributed her blessings, when he fixes his eyes on the Laplanders, and the inhabitants of the lands bordering on the arctic or north pole?
Their country is furmed by a chain of moun. tains covered with snow and ice, which does not melt even in summer; and where the chain is interrupted, bogs and marshes fill the space. Winter is felt during the greater part
a deep snow overwhelms the valleys, and covers the little hills, and for a long time the sun never rises above their horizon. The inhabitants seek shelter from the cold in tents, which can be removed from one place to another.
- They fix their fire-place in the middle of the tent, and surround it with stones. The smoke goes out at a hole in top, which also serves them for a window.
There they fasten iron chains, to which they hang the caldrons in which they dress their food, and melt the ice which serves them for drink. The inside of the tent is furnished with furs, which preserve them from the cold, and they lie on skins of animals, spread upon the ground.
It is in such habitations that the Laplanders pass their winter, surrounded by the howling wolves, who are roaming every where in search of prey. How could we bear the climate and way of life of these people? How
much we should think these people to be pitied, if we had nothing before our eyes but an immense extent of ice, and whole deserts covered with snow; the absence of the sun making the cold still more insupportable! and if, instead of convenient dwelling, we had only moveable tenis made of skins; ar.d no other resource for our subsistence, but in painful and dangerous hunting,
Are not these reflections proper to make us observe the many advantages of our climate ? to which we attend so little ? Ought they not to animate us to bless the divine Providence for the many thousand advantages we enjoy? Yes, let us ever bless that wise Providence ; and when we feel the severity of the season, Jet us return thanks that the cold is so moderate where we dwell, and that we have such numerous ways of guarding against it.
But in the inhabitant of northern countries so unhappy as we imagine? It is true, that he wanders painfully through rough valleys and unbeaten roads, and that he is exposed to the inclemency of the
But his hardy body is able to bear fatigue. If the Laplander be poor, and deprived of many of the conveniences of life that we enjoy; is he not rich, in knowing no other wants than those which he can easily satisfy ?
He is deprived for several months of the light.of the sun; but in return, the moon and the aurora borealis come to illuminate his
horizon. Even the snow and ice, in which he is buried, do not make him unhappy. Education and custom arm him against the severity of his climate. The hardy life he leads, enables him to brave the cold; and the par. ticular wants which are indispensable to him, Nature has made it easy, for biin to supply. She has pointed out to him animals, the fur of which defends him from the keenness of the air. She has given him the rein-deer, which furnishes him with his tent, his dress, and his food; with this animal he undertakes long journeys, it supplies almost all his wants, and the maintenance of it is noexpense or trouble to him,
If it be true, then, that the idea we form of happiness, depends more on opinion than on reason, if it be true, also, that real happiness is not fixed to particular people, or particular climates; and that, with the necessaries of, life, and peace of mind, a man may be happy in any corner of the earth : have we not a. right to ask, what the Laplander wants to make him happy?
The Salisbury Shepherd. As Mr. Johnson, one day, gently approached the cottage of the shepherd of Salisbury plain, to which he was directed by the clump