Every-Day Book
vol II date    /    index  




Hoary, and dim, and bare, and shivering,
Like a poor almsman comes the aged Year,
With kind "God save you all, good gentlefolks!"
Heap on fresh fuel, make a blazing fire,
Bring out the cup of kindness, spread the board,
And gladden Winter with our cheerfulness!
Wassail!—To you, and yours, and all!—All health!

December 7.

St. Ambrose, A. D. 397. St. Fara, Abbess, A. D. 655.


The natural commencement of the winter season, according to Mr. How ard's "Tables," is on the 7th of December. This quarter of the year comprehends eighty-nine days, except in leap-year, when it has ninety days. Winter exhibits as large a proportion of the cold, as summer did of the heat. In spring the cold gradually goes off, to be replaced in the middle of the season by warmth; the respective proportions being like those which obtain in autumn, while their positions are reversed.

"The mean temperature of the season in the country is 37.76 degrees. The medium temperature of the twenty-four hours, descends from about 40 to 34 1/2 degrees, and returns again to the former point.

"The mean height of the barometer is 29.802 inches, being .021 inches above that of autumn. The range of the column is greatest in this season; and in the course of twenty winters it visits nearly the two extremities of the scale of three inches. The mean winter range is however 2.25 inches.

The predominating winds at the beginning of winter are the south-west: in the middle these give place to northerly winds, after which the southerly winds prevail again to the close: they are at this season often boisterous at night.

"The mean evaporation, taken in situations which give more than the natural quantity from the surface of the earth, (being 30.467 inches on the year,) is 3.587 inches. This is a third less than the proportion indicated by the mean temperature; showing the dampness of the air at this season.

"De Luc's hygrometer averages about 78 degrees.

"The average rain is 5.868 inches. The rain is greatest at the commencement, and it diminishes in rapid proportion to the end. In this there appears a salutary provision of divine intelligence: for had it increased, or even continued as heavy as in the autumnal months, the water instead of answering the purpose of irrigation, for which it is evidently designed, would have descended from the saturated surface of the higher ground in perpetual floods, and wasted for the season the plains and valleys.

"Notwithstanding the sensible indications of moisture, which in the intervals of our short frosts attend this season, the actual quantity of vapour in the atmosphere is now, probably, at its lowest proportion, or rather it is so at the commencement of the season; after which it gradually increases with the temperature and evaporation."*[1]


This is the eldest of the seasons: he
   Moves not like spring with gradual step, nor
   From bud to beauty, but with all his snows
Comes down at once in hoar antiquity.
No rains nor loud proclaiming tempests flee
   Before him, nor unto his time belong
   The suns of summer, nor the charms of song,
That with May's gentle smiles so well agree.
But he, made perfect in his birth-day cloud,
   Starts into sudden life with scarce a sound,
   And with a tender footstep prints the ground,
      As tho' to cheat man's ear: yet while he stays
      He seems as 'twere to prompt our merriest days,
And bid the dance and joke be long and loud.

Literary P. Book.


Hairy Achania. Achania pilosa.
Dedicated to St. Ambrose.

Notes [all notes are Hone's unless otherwise indicated]:

1. Howard's Climate of London. [return]