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The Snow Storm.
HERE was once a little girl by the name
of Cornelia, who was very fond of having her own way. In this, she was no doubt very much like many other girls, and boys too.
But Cornelia carried her self-will very far, and PETER PARLEY is going to tell you how it once brought her into serious trouble.
You must know that she lived in the western part of Connecticut, and near the ridge of mountains which separates that State from New York. The village in which she dwelt was called Ridgebury, and if you ever visit the place, you will see that it skirts the woods lying at the foot and up the slopes of an elevated mountain. These woods are filled with chestnut, walnut, and butternut trees, and to gather their fruit, the children of the vicinity often visit them.
Now at the time of which I speak, it was late in December, but as yet there had been no snow, and very little cold weather. The season was, indeed, uncommonly mild and pleasant. Well, on a certain day, Cornelia had arranged, with some of her young friends, to go into the woods a-nutting. She was very impatient to have the day arrive, and the sky.
when at last it came, she was in high spirits. The sun rose fair, and seemed for a time to promise a beautiful day, but soon a cloud in the west rose up gradually and spread over
At the same time a peculiar chill was in the air, which made the farmers shake their heads, the birds seek shelter in the forests, and the old hens step slow, high, and long—all the while uttering low and scarcely audible sounds.
Cornelia's father was what is called weather-wise, and he advised his daughter and her companions not to carry out their plan—saying that he believed it was going to snow. Some of the children were disposed to adopt his advice, but Cornelia was determined to go_rain or shine.
“Pray, father,” said she, "what if it does snow? we don't care !
“ But,” said the old farmer, "you may take cold, or you may suffer from cold, or you may get lost in the woods. is folly to seek pleasure when you are likely to get nothing
All this had no effect upon Cornelia ; she had made up her mind to go, and nothing could stop her. So at last she set off with her half-dozen companions. Full of expectation, they went along with hops, skips, and jumps, and at the end of two hours they were in the woods. All had their baskets, and, the chestnuts being tolerably thick, they had pretty good picking, even though the squirrels had been, for a full month, laying in their winter stores. So on they went, from tree to tree, gradually filling their baskets, and their mouths too -if the truth must all be told.
Thus the early part of the day was passed, during which time the gay and thoughtless party had buried themselves in the thickest part of the forest. So busy were they, that no one took notice of the path by which they came, or the direction in which they had gone. Nor did they, for some time,
observe that the clouds had become dark, and that fine flakes of snow were sailing down from the sky, and lighting softly and stealthily upon the ground. When snow begins in this way, it forebodes something serious. It is with snow storms as with people : if they set out with big, blustering pretences, they are likely to wind off with a mizzle, or a drizzle ; but if they take it quietly at the start—say little and work steadily – before they get through, they are apt to do a great business.
Well, on the present occasion, the snow storm did not advertise in the newspapers; it did not put up a tall board, saying, “Look out for the engine while the bell rings !” it did not send notice by that strange, incredible, unaccountable creature, which the editors work so hard, and which is called The Express; in short, it did none of these things.
So quietly did it fall, that our little gypsies did not remark what was going on till the snow had fallen an inch deep. Then they began to look about, and pretty soon they perceived that the flakes now filled the whole atmosphere. So thickly did they fall, that it seemed as if they were shovelled down from snowbanks in the sky.
At first the girls all began to laugh, and then they began to be serious, and ask what was to be done.
“ Where are we?” said one. “Which way shall we go ?” said another. These were very important questions—for my young friends will observe that when we propose to set out for any particular place, it is somewhat essential to know the direction in which it lies. Now the little girls wished to go home, but which way home lay, not one of them could tell. They had been so busy in their sports, that they had taken no heed of the points of the compass, and no notice of the paths by which they had reached their present position. And this,
is very apt to be the course of young people, not only in hunting walnuts and chestnuts, but in pursuing other pleasures. They run along, thoughtless and joyous, dreaming only of amusement; they turn hither and thither; they do this and they do that ; perchance they disobey their
parents, or neglect their duties, or get the habit of telling falsehoods, or become deceitful, unkind and treacherous. So they go on, till at last a day of storm comes ; then they find that they are disliked ; no one loves them ; no one trusts them. They feel alone ; they want help, they want friendsbut none are at hand. How dark is all around, at such a time! O, how do they now yearn to get back to the scenes of peace, and innocence, and love! Yet how often is it that they find they have wandered too far to return ; they know not the way—they are lost, and nothing but storm, and tempest, and sorrow, are before and around them.
But we must go back to our little friends. They stood close together, like a flock of startled quails, for some time, looking in each other's faces—and pretty long faces they
But while they stood still, the snow kept on falling. By this time it came in one wide sheet, while at intervals, rowdy gusts of winds seized upon the tops of the tall trees, and made them bow and toss as if they were about to dance a polka. One might have imagined that the forest was a giant's head of hair, and an angry barber was combing it; and I might say powdering it, too-using a plenty of snow for the purpose. At last, Cornelia led off, and the rest of the party followed her. For some time they threaded the thickets, in silence following their leader; but at the end of half-an-hour, they found themselves returned to the very spot from which they started! Again they set out, and by good fortune found the path by which they had entered the wood. They now scampered along pretty merrily, though the snow by this time was six inches deep.
They finally came to a place in the woods where two paths