Mirror of Literature,  12 (1828), 184–87.

Wet Weather



Miscellaneous, Drollery


Meteorology, Periodicals, Publishing, Physics, Hydropathy, Engineering, Mining, Steam-power, Instruments, Geology, Travel, Fieldwork

Publications cited:

Brougham 1827 , Millington 1827

    Considers wet weather is 'a floating topic', and discusses the manner in which it permeates conversation and the newspapers. Suggests that the English predeliction for meteorological talk may arise from England's being an island nation. Avers that 'water is one the most popular subjects in this age of enquiry', recalling that 'the first treatises of the Useful Knowledge Society' were on hydrostatics and hydraulics. Observes that the taste for water is carried into financial speculations, although the 'Thames Tunnel is too amphibious an affair to be included in the number'. (184) Refers the reader to a recent paper on the nervous system in the Edinburgh Review (i.e. Conolly 1828), in evidence that 'much of our predeliction for hanging and drowning is to be attributed to this "insular situation"'. Observes: 'Every man and woman of us is indeed a self pluviometer, or rain-gauge; or, in plain terms, our nerves are like so many musical strings, affected by every change of the atmosphere'. Reflects on the metaphorical difficulty 'of keeping above water'. Reports, from 'a grave, philosophical work', that some river-dwelling children in China 'have a hollow ball of some light material attached constantly to their necks' as lifesavers. Observes that, 'As the great secret in swimming is to keep the chest as full of air as possible, perhaps the great art of living is to keep the head a vacuum, a state "adapted to the meanest capacity"'. Had 'kind Nature supplied us with an air-bladder at the neck' the Humane Society need not have been troubled. (185) Speculates that a coachman waiting in the rain, 'whose inside porosity is well indicated by his bundle of coats, as Dr. Kitchener says, is labouring under "the unwholesome effervescence of the hot and rebellious liquors which have been taken to revive the flagging spirits," and like a sponge, absorbs liquids, owing to the pressure of the surrounding air'. Describes the misery of wet weather in the country, giving an instance of having been 'overtaken by such weather in a pedestrian tour through the Isle of Wight, when just then about to leave Niton for a geological excursion to the Needles'. (186)

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]