With below freezing temperatures most nights recently it has been a battle to keep our patio at the back of the house ice free. Liza has endeavoured with the aid of sprinklings of rock salt to keep it safe and her “ice grippers” have vanished just when they were most needed. Our icy situation reminds me of a passage in Henry Thoreau’s “The Journal” describing an incident that occurred at Mrs. Brooks’s on March 19th 1856.
“On the morning of the 17th, Mrs. Brooks’s Irish girl Joan fell down the cellar stairs, and was found by her mistress lying at the bottom, apparently lifeless. Mrs. Brooks ran to the street-door for aid to get her up, and asked a Miss Farmer, who was passing, to call the blacksmith nearby. The latter lady turned instantly, and, making haste across the road on this errand, fell flat in a puddle of melted snow, and came back to Mrs. Brooks’s, bruised and dripping and asking for opodeldoc. Mrs. Brooks again ran to the door and called to George Bigelow to complete the unfinished errand.He ran nimbly about it and fell flat in another puddle near the former, but, his joints being limber, got along without opodeldoc and raised the blacksmith. He also notified James Burke, who was passing, and he, rushing to render aid, fell off one side of the cellar stairs in the dark. They no sooner got the girl up-stairs than she came to and went raving, then had a fit.
Haste makes waste.
It never rains but it pours. I have this from those who have heard Mrs. Brooks’s story, seen the girl, the stairs , and the puddles.”