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Thirty below freezing ! It was inconceivable till one stepped out into it at midnight. and the first shock of that clear still air took away the breath as does a plunge into sea water … But for the jingle of the sleight-bells the ride might have taken place in a dream, for there was no sound of hoofs upon the snow, the runners sighed a little now and then as they glided over an inequality, and all the sheeted hills round about were as dumb as death.


This is from “In Sight of Monadnock” in From Tideway to Tideway, collected in Letters of Travel, 1892-1913.

Kipling married Caroline Balestier in London on 18th January 1892. Soon after, they took ship to New York, and after a brief stay in that city headed north by train to Caroline’s home place at Brattleboro in Vermont. Here they have arrived by train at midnight, and are taking their first breath of the New England Winter.