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fitted to receive the seed, and give it nourishment.
In Canada, the walls of the houses are usually plastered on the outside, to preserve the stone from moisture, and the consequent destructive effects of the frost. They find it, however, a very difficult matter to get plaster to adhere; particularly if exposed to the easterly wind, which, in one winter, destroys almost any plaster they can use. A composition has lately been tried, which promises to answer better. About a couple of pounds of Muscovado sugar are mixed with a bushel of lime; and it makes a very hard and durable mixture, for rough casting. In places the most exposed to easterly wind, it has remained hard and fast, after a fair trial.
Before I close this letter, let me mention to you the assistance the Canadians receive from their dogs, which they employ for a variety of domestic purposes. I formerly mentioned to you the speed and the hard work to which the Canadian horse was frequently put; but he is not the only beast of burden here, or, I should rather say, of draught. The Canadians make
much use of dogs for drawing light weights. You frequently see a single dog draw a small cart, or sledge, loaded with more than 200lbs. weight of different articles.In the winter, in addition to this weight, you see the man who drivess, tanding on the sledge, and dragged along with great speed, if there is a gentle declivity." The weight they are made to draw, is really incredible. Nor are they very large dogs, or of any particular species: you see them of all sorts and sizes, with carts or sledges, in proportion to their strength. The butchers employ them for transporting meat to their customers in different parts of the town: they use small carts in summer, and sledges in winter; the dogs are fitted with a complete set of harness, and two or three of them are sometimes yoked to the same cart or sleigh. People employ them too, in bringing water from the river; in dragging small carriages with children; and, in short, in all domestic purposes where a moderate weight is to be transported. They certainly might be used in Britain with great advantage, in many cases; because a boy can attend them, and make them draw a great deal more than he can carry,
No part of the Canadian winter is more interesting than the conclusion of it, when the snow begins to disappear, and the ice in the rivers to break up, which is the case in the end of April.
One would naturally suppose, that six months frost and snow would have become insufferably tiresome to a stranger. I can assure you I have not found it so.
The winter may be divided into three seasons, or portions, as it were: for two months at the beginning, the snow is falling, and the frost becoming daily more severe. We are amused by making observations upon it, and by the novelty of our situation, and our consequent habits. The middle two months of severe frost is not without interest: we then see winter in all his majesty, after he has bound up the lakes and rivers in fetters of ice, and covered the earth as with a mantle.
The last two months are interesting, because we are anxious to see by what means, and in what manner, such an immensity of snow and ice is to be got rid of.
The influence of the sun is little felt in February. In March, however, you are sensible of its power; and, during this month, the weather in general is very beautiful; the frost is still sufficiently severe to keep the roads hard and good; the sky is clear, the sun shines bright; it is pleasant to get into a cariole, and drive a few miles into the country. During the month of April, the influence of the sun has been so great, as powerfully to affect all nature.The snow has nearly disappeared about the first week in May; the ice in the lakes and rivers is broken up, by the increase of water from the melting of snow, and it is floated down to the great river St. Lawrence, where it accumulates in immense quantities, and is carried up and down with the tide.
At this time the St. Lawrence presents one of the most extraordinary scenes in nature. You cannot form an adequate idea
of it, without being a spectator. From bank to bank, it is quite choaked up with immense masses and sheets of ice; some of them from 4 to 500 yards in diameter.The tide forces them on one another, breaks them into smaller pieces, and raises them in shelving and fantastic forms, considerably above the surface. This mass of moving ice fills the whole bason, and is seen as far up the river as your eye can reach-a distance altogether of twelve to fifteen miles.
While the river was in this state, we were astonished to see a vessel from England come round point Levi, into the bason. The arrival of the first vessel from England is hailed as a joyful circumstance. You cannot imagine what a crowd of pleasurable ideas fills the mind on this occasion. All classes and descriptions of people are interested in it. The merchant, the tradesman, and the labourer, have an immediate prospect of beginning their operations, of putting a period to a state of idleness, and of supplying the wants of their families, which, necessarily, will often