Montreal Witness, 15 March 1852, page 100

A fairy scene

For two days of last week the mountain of Montreal was a scene of indescribable beauty.  Nothing that ever was imagined of enchanted palaces or fairy land could at all compare with it.  The Crystal Palace, that marvel of modern times was a mere toy to a mountain covered with a crystal forest and crystal orchards, every tree and bush of which was studded with innumerable diamonds sparkling with intense brilliancy in every varying aspect of sunlight or moonlight.

On Tuesday last a thick, small rain fell the whole day, congealing as it fell on the branches of the trees, until all, even to the smallest twigs, were covered with a thick, smooth coat of ice to the very extremities.  A twig the thickness of a spear of grass was thus made as thick as one’s finger, but so perfectly transparent was the covering, that the twig was as clearly seen as if there had been none; indeed it was only the sensation of touch that gave information of the thickness of the ice.  But this encasing was not at all.  At regular distances about two inches apart, icicles depended from every branch and spray, the united weight of which, together with that of the ice encrusted on the branches, bent them down in the most graceful forms; so that when the sun or the moon lit them up, they looked like triumphal arches hung with innumerable tiny gold or silver lamps.

The effect of all of this at sunrise, when a light rose or peach blossom color predominated, was enchanting.  The orchards appeared to be wholly covered with blossoms and crystalline foliage.  As the sun increased in strength, the dazzling splendor increased, until at noon it became too great to gaze upon, every thing glistening and sparkling with an intense white light.  And when the sun was sinking behind the mountain, the blaze of orange light glittering and dazzling through its millions of branches, was something to be remembered for life.

Nor was the paler and purer light of the moon upon these natural gems less admirable; but language would fail to convey the varied emotions of delight that the varying phases of this gorgeous scene produced, and therefore we must leave them to the imagination of our readers.  Our chief surprise was that all Montreal did not turn out to see a scene which few other parts of the world can exhibit, and which here only occurs in perfection once in a number of years.

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