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Midsummer Day
by [?]

There are great and good people who know all about solstices and zeniths, and they can tell you just why it is that 24th June is so much hotter and longer than 24th December–why it is so in England, I should say. For I believe (and they will correct me if I am wrong) that at the equator the days and nights are always of equal length. This must make calling almost an impossibility, for if one cannot say to one’s hostess, “How quickly the days are lengthening (or drawing in),” one might as well remain at home. “How stationary the days are remaining” might pass on a first visit, but the old inhabitants would not like it rubbed into them. They feel, I am sure, that however saddening a Midsummer Day may be, an unchanging year is much more intolerable. One can imagine the superiority of a resident who lived a couple of miles off the equator, and took her visitors proudly to the end of the garden where the seasons were most mutable. There would be no bearing with her.

In these circumstances I refuse to be depressed. I console myself with the thought that if 25th June is the beginning of winter, at least there is a next summer to which I may look forward. Next summer anything may happen. I suppose a scientist would be considerably surprised if the sun refused to get up one morning, or, having got up, declined to go to bed again. It would not surprise ME. The amazing thing is that Nature goes on doing the same things in the same way year after year; any sudden little irrelevance on her part would be quite understandable. When the wise men tell us so confidently that there will be an eclipse of the sun in 1921, invisible at Greenwich, do they have no qualms of doubt as the day draws near? Do they glance up from their whitebait at the appointed hour, just in case it IS visible after all? Or if they have journeyed to Pernambuco, or wherever the best view is to be obtained, do they wonder … perhaps … and tell each other the night before that, of course, they were coming to Pernambuco anyhow, to see an aunt?

Perhaps they don’t. But for myself I am not so certain, and I have hopes that, certainly next year, possibly even this year, the days will go on lengthening after midsummer is over.