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WERE I a Frenchman, I would barricade
myself against the sky, and object to the sun's
government. This is hot republicanism, I
admit; but what kind of loyalty to the
Majesty of Light can be expected in the
month of August from a man whose weight
is fourteen stone? The illuminations got up
daily by that extremely powerful luminary,
regardless of expense, are rapidly accomplishing
my ruin. My " condition " is oozing away
under the strokes of the sun's rays, and my
fortune is shrinking under the pressure of
confectioners' bills. The number of sixpenny
and shilling ices required per diem to keep
down my own particular and personal
temperature, would ice the punch to an alderman's
turtle for a whole week. I really
cannot afford it. I must organise a cheap
revolution. The oppressive rule of the Solar
Government must be opposedhotly I dare
not saybut zealously and cheaply, with an
icy enthusiasm that ranges several degrees
below zero, and at a price that shall be within
the means of its humblest subjects. I want
to be cool. We all want to be cool. Let us
set about being cool systematically, economically.
Let us start fair;—from freezing point.
We will begin with a course of cold reading,
and get up the subject geographically:—how
they manage at the Arctics, in Russia, in the
East, and at Cape Horn; how wiser people
than ourselves, in hotter places, put on
armour of ice against the blazing enemy.

Solomon appreciated ice in summer. " As
the cold of snow in the time of harvest," he
says, " so is a faithful messenger to those
who send him; for he refreshes the soul
of his masters." My soul wants something
colder than a proverb; and I am more
refreshed by reading what the Romans did in
the ice way. They understood the luxury of
ice and snow in summer. They preserved them
in pits, and hawked them about their streets.
Even now, a little above Rocca di Pappa (on
the ancient Mons Albanus) is a plain, called
Hannibal's camp, from which snow is collected
annually for the use of Rome. On this dry plain
they dig pits, about fifty feet deep, and twenty-
five broad at top, in the form of a sugar-loaf or
cone. The larger the pit, no doubt the snow will
preserve the better. About three feet from
the bottom, they commonly fix a wooden
grate, which serves for a drain, should any of
the snow happen to melt, which otherwise
would stagnate, and hasten the dissolution of
the rest. The pit thus formed, and lined with
straw and prunings of trees, is filled with
snow, which is beaten down as hard as possible,
till it becomes a solid body. It is afterwards
covered with more prunings of trees, and a
roof is raised in form of a low cone, well
thatched over with straw. A door is left at
the side, covered likewise with straw, by
which men enter and cut out the ice (for
such it becomes) with a mattock. The quantity
daily demanded is carried to Rome in the
night-time, in carts well covered with straw.
It is found by experience that snow, thus
pressed down, is not only colder, but preserves
longer, than cakes of ice taken from ponds
and ditches. This is instructive and con-
soling. I shall show you, by-and-bye, what
effectual weapons snow and straw are against
the arch foe.—For the South of Italy and
Sicily, snow is preserved in several caverns
of Ætna, and brought down to purchasers,
who compete for respite with the eagerness
of roasting men. In Lima, cheap ice, from the
Cordilleras, is a cry kindred to our own
cheap bread. The public mind makes about
six revolutions a year in any state of South
America, but in all tumults the ice-mules
bear a sacred burden. Nobody dares meddle
with the people's ice.—The Chinese understand
the use of ice very well indeed.—As
for Wenham Lake, folks at Boston talk about
the state of the ice crops, as we talk about the
state of wheat. In European capitals, ice is
not only an article of amusement, but of trade.
Who has not heard of the delights of the
sleigh, galloping over ice and snow at twenty
miles an hour ? Then there is the Russian
version of the ice palace on the Neva, built at
the marriage of Prince Gallitzin, with ice
masonry that blunted all the chisels, ice
chairs, ice dining-tables, and ice cannons that
fired hempen bullets. But I am sitting upon
horse-hair, writing upon leather; and I am
not consoled. Here, however, I turn to a
glowing Kohl, and find relief in a delicious
extract from his book on "Russia." You
may take off your neckerchief and sit at
ease, for here you have a bit of Kohl
thoroughly cold :—