Last week we grumbled and chattered about the heat, because the thermometer touched 100, and this week we are inclined to do the reverse, because the same marvelous little instrument has marked 40 degrees less.
Within 24 hours, between Sunday and Monday, the change was 40 degrees, an inconsiderable matter when so simply recorded, but a very serious matter when seriously considered. London physicians, and men of science, tell us that when the thermometer falls 10 degrees in that city it kills 300 people! We think there is little difference in the localities as to the effects, but in this city we have not weighed the matter very nicely. We realize when the thermometer goes up to 100 that some 40 or 50 deaths are announced as proceeding from sunstroke, to say nothing of all those unannounced, but we do not calculate for sudden cooling off.
Let the thermometer fall, as it did the past week, 40 degrees in 24 hours, and we will venture to say, in spite of our acclimatization and familiarity with sudden changes, as many deaths will occur from it in this city as in London. Understand us; we do not mean to say that the next week’s bill of mortality will make the increase, but that the blow will have been struck, and those who are in low health, or who have been suffering, will receive the billet that will speed them to the other world.
With the advent of really hot weather comes all the little excitements that naturally accompany it. Mosquitoes, for instance, those wretched little creatures on whom man has pronounced the decided verdict that he can see into the wisdom of all things else that the Almighty has created, but he cannot see into the mosquitoes. We think the city is partially exempt from the wretched pests, but there are localities about us which just about this time we should be glad to inhabit, localities where the trees are green and waving, where the waters ripple and dance over the clean gravelly bottom, and where nature seems to have set a bounteous repast before her hungry devotees, and all is spoiled by — mosquitoes.
The idea is too terrible to contemplate, and we must drop it—and go into something else.
Source: Frank Leslies Weekly – July 16, 1864
Image Details: ‘A place where the thermometer continually overleaps all laws of decorum.’ – Art Young, 1892.