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many of these were placed at equal intervals
in a large city, they might perchance
insure a continuance of fair weather. What
the learned Académie thought of this is
not recorded; perhaps they preserved a
polite silence; but a very knotty question
presents itself. If (an enormous mouthful
to swallow, in all conscience) the pluvifuge
could really do this work, how about other
localities? As dirty little boys when driven
away by a policeman from one place, will
certainly reassemble in another, so would
the rain, driven away by the pluvifuge from
one locality, make its presence sensibly felt
in another. And suppose that other
locality does not want it? It has been very
cogently asked: "Would not an action for
damages lie against the workers of the
machine in town A, in case of towns B and
C suffering from the undue quantity of rain
which would be liable to fall to their share,
if town A succeeded in puffing it all away
from itself? For the vapour blown from
some place must needs be blown to some
other place. Or say that towns B and C,
and even D and E, were as sharp-witted as
town A, and were to set up equally efficacious
machines, there surely ought to be
some redress for town F, in case of its being
altogether submerged, as might very
possibly happen under such circumstances."
A case is supposed of an open-air fête at
Smithville, to celebrate the coming of age
of the heir of the Smiths. At Brownsville
a pluvifuge happens unluckily to be at
work, and blows the rain to the very
lawn at which the fête champêtre is being
held. If a case, Smith v. Brown, were
instituted, would not the plaintiff be entitled
to damages for the injury done by the rain
to the ladies' dresses, and for doctors' bills
arising out of colds and catarrhs caught on
the occasion?

Few of our modern weather-prophets
know the real legend which gave birth to
the belief in St. Swithin's Day, as a weather-
wise day. As Bishop of Winchester, just
about a thousand years ago, Swithin was a
man noted for his worth and his humility.
The latter was displayed in a request that,
when dead, he should be buried not within
the church but in the churchyard, where
passers-by might tread upon his grave,
and where roof-eaves might drip water
upon it. His wish was complied with.
But about a century afterwards, when
Swithin had been canonised into St.
Swithin, the clergy, in a fit of renewed
zeal, thinking that the body of so great a
saint ought not to lie in such a place,
determined to remove it into the cathedral;
but rain poured down so continuously for
forty days that they could not find a suitable
opportunity for the grand ceremonial
which had been planned. Accepting this
as a judgment on them, for disobeying the
saint's wishes, they gave up their project,
and built a chapel over the humble grave
instead. An accomplished Anglo-Saxon
scholar has recently played havoc with this
old legend; but it would take many such
scholars to beat out of the heads of
uneducated people their faith in the 15th of July.
The Astronomer Royal at Greenwich states
that he finds, on an average of a large
number of years, quite as much rain, after
a fine St. Swithin's day as after one that is
wet; but no matter, the old quatrain is
quoted triumphantly against him:

St. Swithin's day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain;
St. Swithin's day, if thou be fair,
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.

There are, sometimes, real showers of very
unreal rain. It is stated by an old writer
that in Lapland and Finmark about a
century ago, mice of a particular kind were
known to fall from the sky; and that such
an event was sure to be followed by a good
year for foxes. A shower of frogs fell near
Toulouse in 1804. A prodigious number
of black insects, about an inch in length,
descended in a snow-storm at Pakroff, in
Russia, in 1827. On one occasion, in
Norway, the peasants were astonished at
finding a shower of rats pelting down on
their heads. Showers of fishes have been
numerous. At Stanstead, in Kent, in
1666, a pasture field was found one morning
covered plentifully with fish, although
there is neither sea nor river, lake nor
fish-pond near. At Allahabad, in 1839,
an English officer saw a good smart
downpour of fish; and soon afterwards
thousands of small dead fish were found upon
the ground. Scotland has had many of
these showers of fish; as in Ross-shire, in
1828, when quantities of herring-fry covered
the ground; at Islay, in 1830, when a large
number of herrings were found strewed
over a field after a heavy gusty rain; at
Wick, much more recently, when herrings
were found in large quantities in a field
half a mile from the beach. In all these,
and numerous other cases, when a liberal
allowance has been made for exaggeration,
the remainder can be explained by
well-understood causes. Stray wind blowing
from a sea or river; a water-spout licking
up the fish out of the water; a whirlwind