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How Spring Came In New England
by [?]

New England is the battle-ground of the seasons. It is La Vendee. To
conquer it is only to begin the fight. When it is completely subdued,
what kind of weather have you? None whatever.

What is this New England? A country? No: a camp. It is alternately
invaded by the hyperborean legions and by the wilting sirens of the
tropics. Icicles hang always on its northern heights; its seacoasts
are fringed with mosquitoes. There is for a third of the year a contest
between the icy air of the pole and the warm wind of the gulf. The
result of this is a compromise: the compromise is called Thaw. It is the
normal condition in New England. The New-Englander is a person who is
always just about to be warm and comfortable. This is the stuff of which
heroes and martyrs are made. A person thoroughly heated or frozen is
good for nothing. Look at the Bongos. Examine (on the map) the Dog-Rib
nation. The New-Englander, by incessant activity, hopes to get warm.
Edwards made his theology. Thank God, New England is not in Paris!

Hudson’s Bay, Labrador, Grinnell’s Land, a whole zone of ice and
walruses, make it unpleasant for New England. This icy cover, like the
lid of a pot, is always suspended over it: when it shuts down, that is
winter. This would be intolerable, were it not for the Gulf Stream. The
Gulf Stream is a benign, liquid force, flowing from under the ribs of
the equator,–a white knight of the South going up to battle the giant
of the North. The two meet in New England, and have it out there.

This is the theory; but, in fact, the Gulf Stream is mostly a delusion
as to New England. For Ireland it is quite another thing. Potatoes ripen
in Ireland before they are planted in New England. That is the reason
the Irish emigrate–they desire two crops the same year. The Gulf Stream
gets shunted off from New England by the formation of the coast below:
besides, it is too shallow to be of any service. Icebergs float down
against its surface-current, and fill all the New-England air with
the chill of death till June: after that the fogs drift down from
Newfoundland. There never was such a mockery as this Gulf Stream. It is
like the English influence on France, on Europe. Pitt was an iceberg.

Still New England survives. To what purpose? I say, as an example:
the politician says, to produce “Poor Boys.” Bah! The poor boy is an
anachronism in civilization. He is no longer poor, and he is not a boy.
In Tartary they would hang him for sucking all the asses’ milk that
belongs to the children: in New England he has all the cream from the
Public Cow. What can you expect in a country where one knows not today
what the weather will be tomorrow? Climate makes the man. Suppose he,
too, dwells on the Channel Islands, where he has all climates, and is
superior to all. Perhaps he will become the prophet, the seer, of his
age, as he is its Poet. The New-Englander is the man without a climate.
Why is his country recognized? You won’t find it on any map of Paris.

And yet Paris is the universe. Strange anomaly! The greater must include
the less; but how if the less leaks out? This sometimes happens.

And yet there are phenomena in that country worth observing. One of them
is the conduct of Nature from the 1st of March to the 1st of June,
or, as some say, from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice. As
Tourmalain remarked, “You’d better observe the unpleasant than to be
blind.” This was in 802. Tourmalain is dead; so is Gross Alain; so is
little Pee-Wee: we shall all be dead before things get any better.