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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/104

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regions or localities, we find the numbers exceedingly variable, and some of them surprising. Clermont receives 630 millimetres, and the mean of the fall in Europe is about the same. About one metre falls on the western coast of Iceland, two metres in Norway, 2.80 metres in Scotland, 4.60 metres at Vera Cruz, 5.20 metres at Buitenzorg, in the Dutch East Indies, 7.10 metres at Maranhão, Brazil, and 12.50 metres at Cherrapunji, in British India. On the other hand, it rarely rains in some regions of the globe north and south of the equator; as in the center of the Sahara and of Arabia, the plateau of eastern Persia and Beluchistan, the desert of Kalahari, and the desert of Atacama. The plains or pampas of the eastern slopes of the Andes, in about 23° south latitude, are likewise subject to extreme droughts, in one of which, lasting three years, three million head of cattle perished.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from Ciel et Terre.



THERE is a very striking resemblance between dreams and waking perceptions. We see in dreams objects, persons, and events identical with those of the waking state. The belief in their reality is as complete as in that of what we see when awake; the emotions are as deep and vivid. Pleasures have a delicious savor, and pains are even more intense than those of the reality—as, for instance, those of nightmare, and the distresses to which we give ourselves up in full. In all cases these dream troubles seem as real as those of life, and are taken by us quite as seriously; and the existence of everything we see and feel is as evident as in life.

Still we oppose the dream to the reality. The waking world is our true, our only world; the world of the dream seems to us purely interior and chimerical. The incoherence and absurdity of our dreams surprise and amuse us, and we are amazed to find that we have been able to believe, while asleep, in such foolish things. In short, dreaming is synonymous to us with illusion, phantasmagoria, and falsehood. The clearest of the prevailing theories about dreams rest upon the postulate that waking perceptions are the true ones, and the visions of the dream are false. They have answers to the three questions we are used to ask concerning dreams—Where do they come from? why are they incoherent? and why do we take their visions for realities? They explain dreams as former sensations reviving within us under different combinations, and as therefore simply confused reflexes of the reality. Dreams may, however, some-