A DAY ON THE ICE-FIELD Page 4
from Demorest's Family Magazine July, 1894
__Along the Hudson and on many lakes and streams, the storage houses are built with their feet in the water, so to say; and in such cases the canals float the ice directly beneath the apparatus which hoists the cakes into the houses. But at the place illustrated, Burlington, on Lake Champlain, the storage buildings are at some distance from the lakeside, and the breakwater intervenes, requiring a deal of sliding, teaming, and skidding before the ice reaches its resting-place. Here is what looks like a sort of half-finished toboggan slide; a rude, slanting framework of heavy timbers up which the cakes are jerked and pushed, in rapid succession, to the crown of the breakwater, then allowed to rush down upon the opposite side, by dint of their own weight, with a whirr and a flash, till they are skillfully checked at the bottom by workmen ready to receive them as they come.
__Pause a moment and note the scene before you. In the foreground, the slide, - not a beautiful object, it is true, though as to its usefulness the incessant clash of the descending cakes speaks loudly; at its foot, the workmen, the rude sledges and the heavy teams; beyond, the snow covered expanse; and still beyond, the snow-covered expanse; and still beyond, the ice-houses turning their peaked ends toward us, steamer landings, factories, sheds, long rows of buildings, a stately dwelling or two, a church spire, the faint blue smoke from tall chimneys, all backgrounded upon a hazy horizon of leafless, wintry-looking forest.
__The rough but highly practicable double-runner sledges are drawn up in succession at the foot of the slide, and as the cakes come down, as if with a frenzied intent to shoot, like unchained meteors, into space beyond, they are deftlly caught, and meekly take their places upon the waiting vehicles. One of these sledges has just received its complement, and starts slowly away, drawn by a pair of stout, hog-maned, awkwardly built, white horses, which, like all of the equine race we have seen here, seem to take their toil philosophically, as a necessary, but not intolerable, evil. The driver stands behind his load, and is, apparently, as deliberate, philosophical, and good-natured as his team.