92 The Iceman. By Blum, Edgar C.

As here portrayed, the iceman is a very serious personage. Though he does not neglect his duties as a carrier, his eyes are gazing onward, and his thoughts are evidently far away. It is not difficult to guess the burden of his ruminations. “If,” thinks he, “it is possible to adopt a vast lake as a stock in trade, employ nature, an unsalaried agent, to crystallize its waters by the ton, and, with my aid, dispense the product by the ounce, surely it must be a mistake to suppose that my employers pursue this business exclusively for philanthropic purposes, The goods are never unseasonable; wages are moderate, and as long as one customer in each block continues to pay his bills, there can be no risk of loss. The largest item of expense is stationery, and even here economy is practiced, the same bills being used for charges for ice delivered and for ice not delivered.” Here his train of thought is interrupted by the falling of a handful of ice, and, as it resolves itself again to liquid form, he gazes dreamily upon it, and falls into this reverie: “How wonderful are your works, O Nature! Can it be possible that this little pool of water was but now a solid, precious mass, which, placed upon my scale, would have weighed two pounds, and upon any scale no less than fourteen ounces? How simple is the process by which this water, converted into ice, again becomes water, after having been charged as ice. Wonderful! wonderful!” So reflecting, he transfers the load which he has been carrying in his hand to a chest, and, musingly and pensively, moves onward.

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