Boekgegevens
Titel: First English reading book: Engelsch leesboek voor instituten, gymnasiën en hoogere burgerscholen: met Nederlandsche woordenlijst
Auteur: Herrig, Ludwig
Uitgave: Arnhem: J. Voltelen, 1869 *
Auteursrechten: Zie auteursrechten
Citeerinstructie: Bijzondere Collecties van de Universiteit van Amsterdam, UBM: IWO 513 H 21
URL: https://schoolmuseum.uba.uva.nl/bookid/LCSM_204683
Onderwerp: Taal- en letterkunde naar afzonderlijke talen: Engelse taalkunde
Trefwoord: Leesvaardigheid, Engels, Leermiddelen (vorm)
* jaar van uitgave niet op de gebruikelijke wijze verkregen, mogelijk betreft het een schatting
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•126
When the shades of death are cast,
When the throb of life is past.
Then the secrets of the skies
To our knowledge shall arise.
108. THE WIND AND RAIN.
Vapour rises from water, and from every
moist body, under the influence of heat.
The greater the heat, the more the vapour;
but even in winter, from the surface of an
ice-field, vapour rises. The greater the
heat, the greater the expansion of the va-
pour. It is the nature of material things
to expand under heat, and to conti-act un-
der cold; so water does, except in the act
of freezing, when, for a beneficent purpose,
it is constituted an exception to the rule.
Vapour rises freely from lakes, rivers, and
moist land; but most abundantly, of course,
it rises from the sea, and nowhere more
abundantly than where the sun is hottest.
So it rises in the zone of variable winds
and calms, abundant, very much expanded,
therefore imperceptible.
There comes a breath of colder air on
the ascending current; its temperature falls.
It had contained as much vapour as it would
hold in its warm state; when cooled it will
not hold so much; the excess, therefore,
must part company, and be condensed
again: clouds rapidly foim, and as the con-
densation goes on in this region with im-
mense rapidity, down comes the discarded
vapour in the original stale of water, out
of which it had been raised. Sudden pre-
cipitation, and the violent rubbing against
each other, of two air-currents unequally
warmed, develop electricity; and then we
have thunder and lightning.
Rain, being elicited by heat from water,
will, of course, abound most where the sun
is hottest. The average yearly fall of rain
between the tropics is ninety-five inches, but
in the temperate zone only thirty-five. The
greatest rain-fall, however, is precipitated
in the shortest time; tropical clouds hke to
get it over and have done with it. Ninety-
five inches fall in eighty days on the equa-
tor, while at St. Petersburg the yearly rain-
fall is but seventeen inches, spread over
one hundred and sixty-nine days. Again, a
tropical wet day is not continuously wet.
The moi-ning is clear; clouds form about
ten o'clock, the rain begins at twelve, and
pours till about half-past four; by sunset
the clouds are gone, and the night is in-
variably fine. That is a tropical day dur-
ing the rainy season.
What does the 'rainy season' mean? —
At a point twenty-three and a half degrees
north of the equator, at the tropic of Can-
cer, the vertical sun appears to stop when
it is midsummer with us. As it moves
southward, our summer wanes; it crosses
the equator, and appears to travel on until
it has reached twenty-three and a half de-
grees on the other side of the line, — the
tropic of Capricorn; then six months have
passed; it is midwinter with us, and mid-
summer with people in the southern hemi-
sphere. The sun turns back (and the word
tropic means the place of turning), re-
traces its course over the equator, and at
the expiration of a twelvemonth is at our
tropic again, bringing us summer.
Now, the rainy season is produced be-
tween the tropics by the powerful action of
the sun, wherever it is nearly vertical, in
sucking up vast quantities of vapour, which
become condensed in the upper colder re-
gions of the atmosphere, and dash to earth
again as rain. The rainy season, therefore,
follows the sun. When the sun is at or
near the tropic of Cancer, both before and
after turning, all places near that tropic
have their rainy season; when the sun makes
a larger angle with their zenith, it has
taken the rainy season with it to another
place. It is here obvious that a country
between the tropics, and far from each, is
passed over by the sun, in its apparent
course, at two periods in the same year,
with a decided interval between them.
Such a country must have, therefore, and
does have, two rainy and two dry seasons.
The ti'ade-winds, blowing equably, do not
deposit much of their vapour while still
flowing over the Atlantic. These winds —
so called from being favourable to commerce
— blow constantly, one in a north-east and
the other in a south-east direction, within
about twenty-eight degrees on each side of
the equator. Out at sea it seldom rains
within the trade-winds; but when they strike
the east coast of America rain falls; and
the rain-fall on that coast, within the limits
of the trade-winds, is notoriously excessive.
The chain of the W^est India Islands stands
ready to take (in the due season) a full
dose; the rain-fall at St. Domingo is one
hundred and fifty inches. But the winds,
having traversed the breadth of the conti-
nent, deposit their last clouds on the west-
ern flanks of the Andes, and there are por-
tions, accordingly, ofthe western coast, on
which no- season will expend a drop of rain.
Thus in Peru it rains once, perhaps, in
a man's lifetime; and an old man may tell
how once, when he was quite a boy, it
thundered. The cold Antarctic current,