This family were situated in the Notch of the White Hills, where the wind was sharp throughout the year, and pitilessly cold in the winter,--giving their cottage all its fresh inclemency before it descended on the valley of the Saco.
But while they spoke softly, and he was watching the happy sadness, the lightsome shadows, the shy yearnings of a maiden's nature, the wind through the Notch took a deeper and drearier sound.
The firelight fell on the little group around the fireplace: the father's strong arms and the mother's gentle smile.
They were the finest clothes she had made since her wedding dress. No scene, however cleverly done, must be allowed to monopolize the space of the story, except in so far as it is necessary to an understanding of what follows; and no incident which furthers the plot, however trivial or ordinary it may seem to you, must be slighted.
But this family was never lonely. The world is weary of the bald sermons of the Puritans, and of their endeavor to "point a tale" by every ordinary occurrence; it is rather inclined to a Pharisaical self-righteousness; and needs to have its sins, and the practical benefits of goodness, cunningly insinuated; but it can never fail to admire and strive to emulate the noble deeds of noble men, whether creatures of flesh or phantoms of the brain.
Just before it reached the house, the stream broke into two branches--shivered not a window there, but overwhelmed the whole vicinity, blocked up the road, and annihilated everything in its dreadful course.