An unusual metaphor for the slow mood change effected by months of winter weather – like cold water thrown at a faded fresco to bring out the colour.

‘These changes in humour and disposition, here described all at once, were in themselves a series of delicate alterations of relative conduct spread over many months – many winter months of long evenings and bad weather, which bring out discords of character, as a dash of cold water brings out the faded colours of an old fresco.’

Source: Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters (London: Penguin Classics, 1986 (1866)), p. 462

Photo credit: ketacutter at


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