‘to rain pitchforks (with their points downwards)’: meaning and origin

Sometimes appended to the phrase to rain cats and dogs, to rain pitchforks (with their points downwards) means to rain very heavily.—Synonym: to rain stair rods.
—Cf. also the jocular phrase
to rain cats and dogs and to hail cabs.

The earliest occurrences of the phrase to rain pitchforks (with their points downwards) that I have found are as follows, in chronological order:

1-: From the caption to the following etching by the British artist, caricaturist and illustrator George Cruikshank (1792-1878), published in London by George Humphrey on Thursday 27th April 1820:

Very unpleasant weather, or the old saying verified “Raining cats, dogs, & pitchforks”!!!

[Image: © The Trustees of the British Museum, released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) Licence.]

Note: It was perhaps to George Cruikshank’s etching that ‘L. W. Wy—’ referred in the following from On the Art of carrying an Umbrella, published in The Literary Magnet of the Belles Lettres, Science, and the Fine Arts (London, 1824):

Walking at a brisk rate, having my umbrella under my arm, its point backwards, and inclining some few degrees upwards; my eye having caught a caricature in a window representing a storm of “cats, dogs, and pitchforks,” I suddenly stopped, jabbed the ferule of my weapon into the mouth of a person behind, and sent him backwards on the pavement with a vengeance.

2-: From Tea-party-talk, in Sisyphi Opus: Or, Touches at the Times. A Satire (Philadelphia: Published by J. Maxwell and Moses Thomas, 1820), by the U.S. author Robert Waln (1794-1824)—as quoted in The Literary Gazette: Or, Journal of Criticism, Science, and the Arts (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) of Saturday 20th January 1821:

“O! you are here at last, sir;—does it snow?”
“No, madam, rain; confound such devilish weather,
It seems though heaven and earth would come together:”
“Lord! sir; how vulgar! you had better say
Pitchforks points downwards:”

3-: From The Twenty-Ninth of May: Rare Doings at the Restoration (London: Printed for Knight and Lacey, 1825), by ‘Ephraim Hardcastle’, i.e., the British author, illustrator and painter William Henry Pyne (1769-1843):

Looking up as he turned the corner of White-friars, he observed rather loudly, “what a beautiful star-light, I hope we shall have a fine morrow.”
“God send it may rain cats, dogs, and pitchforks, prongs downwards!” boisterously exclaimed a passing stranger.

4-: From the review of Lisbon in the Years 1821, 1822, and 1823, by the English poet and travel-writer Marianne Baillie (1788?-1831), published in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland) of April 1825—in order to mock Marianne Baillie’s descriptions of Lisbon, the reviewer introduces a man, whom he calls Sir Morgan O’Doherty, as giving his own descriptions:

Sir Morgan—“Rainy season set in this morning at half past 11;—in Lisbon it ‘never rains but it pours.’ Caught in the shower two miles from home—streets deluged in five minutes. […] Took a calash within a hundred yards of my door; and the spalpeen says he shall charge for half a day!—no matter—it rains pitch-forks—he shall manœuvre up and down in front of my window, till his half-day has expired—I think he’ll expire first—before I pay him a farthing.”

5-: From The Horn of the Green Mountains (Manchester, Vermont, USA) of Tuesday 9th November 1830:

The Haverhill (N. H.) Post, speaking of a late storm, says that “the wind blew and the rain fell in torrents till near forty two o’clock.” It probably rained pitchforks by that time. Dangerous being safe. Mortal eye hath not looked upon such another storm since the great flood.

6-: From On Dog Days, published in The New Comic Annual, for 1831 (London: Hurst, Chance, and Co.)—St. Swithin’s Day (the 15th of July) is regarded as a day that, should it rain or be fair, will be followed by forty consecutive days of like weather:

The dog days, however, like all other things, have changed, and more fortunately for the cause of humanity, and the peace of mind of both dogs and men, the dog days of 1830 would have been more appropriately called the cat and dog days, for, with all due submission to the reign of St. Swithin, we have been literally pelted with cats, dogs, and pitchforks.

7-: From The Age (London, England) of Sunday 6th May 1832:

Enormous Dinner of the Sons of the Clergy.—The seventh anniversary dinner was put out of sight by the illustrious members of this elevated society, and the rising generation of curates thereunto belonging—all, as may be supposed, being sootably attired—at the Eyre Arms, St. John’s Wood, on the “merry 1st of May,” whither they were conveyed—as the President stated, “in consequence of the inauspicious dampness of the atmospheric air,” for it “rained pitchforks” throughout the day—in carry vans.

8-: From Pleasures of Travelling, published in The Boston Morning Post (Boston, Massachusetts, USA) of Monday 26th August 1833:

Seventh. Breaking down in the stage—having a horse knocked up or getting the blind staggers half a dozen miles from a tavern, raining pitchforks all the time—swearing at the driver, his horse, his master, and consigning the whole concern to kingdom come—finally, being obliged to put up with the whole matter, and having the consolation that you have sworn a great deal to no purpose, and got into a passion for nothing.

9-: From Nemo omnibus &c., or a striking likeness, published in The National Gazette and Literary Register (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) of Monday 12th June 1837:

M. Boncuir: The Hirondelle just then passed by; well, said I, there is an omnibus quite apropos. So I mounted, paid my six sous, and was duly installed. […] I perceived that we had stopped on the Place de la Bourse. So I said to the conducteur, says I, “I say, my good fellow, do you pull up here for good, I thought we went as far [as] La Villette?” “No, Sir,” says he, “not a bit on’t.” I’m bit, then, that’s all, thinks I to myself; nemo omnibus, etc. However, down we got, and saving your presence, it was raining pitchforks at the time.

10-: From Hill and valley, or Hours in England and Wales (Edinburgh: William Whyte and Co., 1838), by the Scottish novelist Catherine Sinclair (1800-1864):

Never certainly did tourists wade through so inexorable a deluge, though we generally followed the gentleman’s example, who boasted that no weather detained him at home, “unless it rained pitchforks.”

11-: From The Daily Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana, USA) of Sunday 3rd June 1838:

Dont [sic] forget that to-night is the last night, and no mistake, of the performances at the Camp Street Theatre. Fred. Hill has assured us, upon his honor as a gentleman, that he had no hand in bringing about the late disagreeable rains. With this assurance, and with the knowledge that the little favorite Miss De Bar, the pretty Mrs. Plumer, Old CoweIl, the old joker, Plumer and Fred. himself are to appear, what can prevent a full attendance? Nothing, unless it rains pitchforks.

12-: From The Waterloo Day in Hyde Park, a letter to the Editor, by ‘A Court Fool of the Last Creation’, published in The Weekly Chronicle (London, England) of Sunday 24th June 1838:

For my own part I confess I have been among the dupes of this day. I saw the park thronged, and a great proportion of elegantly dressed women suffering under the double infliction of a wanton disappointment and a drenching rain (which, by the bye, commenced about eleven o’clock, when the review would have been nearly if not quite over). If, however, the good folks of London are of my mind, they will stay at home and join me in very sincerely praying, that upon the arrival of “The real Simon Pure” (on the Monday after next, for which day I see this morning’s Herald now announces the show) it may rain rats, cats, and dogs, with a sufficient sprinkling of pitchforks, points downward, for the express gratification and exclusive benefit of the court and the officials, who have to-day made fools of better folks than themselves.

13-: From Scraps from the Writing Desk of the late Mr. Peter Chisel.—By an Executor, published in The Sporting Magazine; or, Monthly Calendar of the Transactions of the Turf, the Chase, and every other Diversion interesting to the Man of Pleasure, Enterprize & Spirit (London, England) of July 1838:

The thunderstorm which had been predicted sent forth its angry distant growl, and the increased darkness and large rain-drops made us on the alert to reach the cottage, into which we had scarcely entered when Adams averred (and for anything that I know believed, so strong is the force of habit), that it rained cats and dogs, and pitchforks with the prongs downwards.

14-: From the Portland Transcript (Portland, Oregon, USA) of Saturday 10th November 1838:

The Tremont Theatre was crowded on Monday evening, although it rained pitchforks, to hear Miss Shiroff sing. The Transcript says she more than realized public expectation.

15-: From As a Medicine. Founded on Fact, published in The Temperance Tales. Vol. VI (Boston: Published by Whipple & Damrell, 1839), by the U.S. author Lucius Manlius Sargent (1786-1867):

“Well, now, hear what I say, Greely,” cried the landlord; “don’t you darken my doors agin; if ’twan’t a raining pitchforks, eenamost, I’d turn ye out now, right off.”

16-: From The Sunbury Gazette, and Miners’ Register (Sunbury, Pennsylvania, USA) of Saturday 29th June 1839:

From the Christian Advocate.

An awful Providence. On the 29th of April, at a small village in this county, viz: Ellisville, a man named J. P. S. was killed suddenly. He was a profane swearer. He was in one of the stores, talking about moving his family to another house in the village, that day, though the rain poured down in torrents on the earth. A friend said, “Surely you will not take your family out in such a rain.” He swore by the “Lord Jesus Christ that if it rained pitch-forks with the prongs downwards, and if it rained hell-fire he would go;” so saying he sprang from the door, walked about ten steps, and was struck in the mouth by lightning—his head awfully mangled—and his lips still quivering with oaths, burned and swelled till it was distressing to see him. Nothing else was injured—the blasphemer only was killed.
N. G. Berrylan.
Lewistown, May 13.

17-: From Accessions of Strength to the Ministry, published in The Morning Herald (London, England) of Monday 2nd September 1839:

In the commons, if five, or peradventure two, good men and true could keep you on your legs, whither can you now look for them at a pinch? And in the lords, nothing short of the extraordinary feat of making it “rain pitchforks” can redeem you!

18-: From a correspondence from New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, published in the Vicksburg Daily Whig (Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA) of Friday 14th February 1840:

Yesterday the rain came down from the flood gates above without intermission during the whole day. Cats and dogs, pitchforks, cataracts, and little niggers, fell from the skies about the streets in such a manner as would have astonished old Noah.

19-: From the Vermont Watchman & State Journal (Montpelier, Vermont, USA) of Monday 30th March 1840:

Several incidents occurred, in connexion with the late Whig Convention at this place which are worth relating as illustrative of the pervading feeling in this section of the State. We give the following, as one among many that were told us:—
An old hardy soldier, one of the few veterans of the Revolutionary war, yet left upon the stage, rode more than fifty miles to attend the Convention, and was present during the whole time of its session. On the evening before he left home, he requested his daughter to make preparations for his journey.
She remonstrated against his undertaking the trip, urging the condition of the roads, and the heavy rains which had already fallen, and which would probably continue. But the spirit of ’76 was in the old man’s heart, and he was determined not to be foiled by ordinary difficulties. ‘My daughter!’ said he, ‘if it rains pitch-forks and brick-bats, I stay; but if it rains nothing but water, I go!!’—Knoxville Times.

20-: From The Madisonian (Washington, District of Columbia, USA) of Saturday 4th April 1840:

Correspondence of the Madisonian.

Springfield, Mass., March 31, 1840.
Dear Sir:—It is done and no mistake. Yesterday was a great one. It rained pitchforks and Whigs—and night found us with 170 good Whig majority! Glory enough.
We promise one hundred more for Old Tip next fall.
N. B. Springfield gave Morton a majority last fall.

21-: From The Daily Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana, USA) of Wednesday 30th September 1840:

“Rage on, ye elements!
Ye cataracts and hurricanes spout!”

O cats and dogs, little niggers, pitchforks and tenpenny nails, how it did rain last night! O floods and falls and overflows, what a soaking poor old New Orleans got at 7 o’clock, P. M. yesterday! The streets will not want sprinkling again for six years to come! Tell the washerwomen to crow! That chap that told old Noah to go to thunder with his broadhorn, would have cried peccavi if he had been out last night. We don’t see much use in telling about it, for if it keeps on long after this paragraph is written, every body will undoubtedly be drowned before morning.

22-: From On the Beauties of Nature, published in Short Patent Sermons (New York: Published by Lawrence Labree, 1841), by ‘Dow, Jr.’, i.e., the U.S. humorist Elbridge Gerry Paige (1816-1859):

Sometimes the rough gale strips the young buds and blossoms from their parent stems, and strews them upon the water, making it look as though a shower of fairy wreaths had fallen from the sky, as my text says. This, my friends, is metaphorical language, the same as when we say it rains pitchforks, hails pumpkins, or snows bed-blankets.

23-: From The Daily Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana, USA) of Wednesday 6th January 1841:

The fire early yesterday morning was in a building opposite the St. Louis Exchange. The rain was pouring down cats, dogs and pitchforks, and no damage of any consequence was done.

24-: From the account of horse races at Newmarket, published in The Era (London, England) of Sunday 3rd October 1841:

Having received a thorough saturation from the elements, we naturally looked with great “nonchalance” at the lowering state of the weather; a cloudy, cheerless prospect it was, and though it did not precisely rain pitchforks, yet at intervals the “let it come down” was issued and attended to by the clerk of the weather in a “concatenation accordingly.”

25-: From the account of a court case, published in The Morning Chronicle (London, England) of Monday 21st March 1842:

In another letter, dated October, 1840, the defendant told the plaintiff that he found his father in a pretty good humour […] and that he had talked […] with his father till 12 o’clock at night. The letter concluded by stating that, “unless it blew great guns and rained pitchforks,” he would see the plaintiff on the following Sunday.

26-: From Adam Brown, the Merchant (London: Henry Colburn, 1843), by the British poet and novelist Horace Smith (1779-1849):

“Ah! if this had happened in London now—only got to bawl out ‘coach,’ and a dozen hacks run over you in a minute, splashing all your friends with kennel water. No such luxuries or comforts in the country—must trudge afoot if it rains pitchforks and red-hot pokers—chance of being knocked down by the bludgeon of a rustic highwayman—if not, ten to one you tumble into a ditch, where you pass the night, with a dead dog or a litter of kittens for your pillow.”

27-: From Local Intelligence, published in The Adelaide Observer (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia) of Saturday 1st July 1843:

Let us take a peep into the fashionable circles of our little community […]. Turning to our note book we find the first memorandum we made under the head of “fashionable movements” was on the 29th of May, (the Royal Oak day of our schoolboy recollections), when Captain Butler had a crowded quadrille party at his house. The evening terminated pleasantly enough in-doors, but without it rained cats, dogs, and pitchforks, and as there was no coachstand from which the ladies could “call a coach” or order one to “be called” many of them had to tramp home in their satin slippers and silk stockings, whilst others waited until they could be conveyed thither by twos and threes in the carriages of their more fortunate fellow-visitors.

28-: From The Newbernian (New Bern, North Carolina, USA) of Saturday 5th August 1843:


We have heard says the North American, of its raining pitchforks, and bull’s-heads horns downward, blood, little fish, and various other curiosities, but until we read the Charleston Mercury, of Tuesday last, we had no knowledge of the fact that the clouds would occasionally drop alligators. The history of the phenomenon is thus given in that journal. The explanation must be left to Mr. Espy or Mr. Redfield, or to the Academy of Natural Sciences, or to some wag in Charleston who understands both fun and philosophy:
“The thunder storm of Sunday night—the winding up of one of the most oppressive days ever inflicted on mortal man—was really terrific. The whole firmament glowed thunder and shot lightning. It was blinding to look out, and at frequent intervals the thunderbolts burst overhead with a power that shook the solidest structures—then rolled with angry growlings along the wings of the storm. St. Paul’s Church was struck, but not seriously injured. Beyond this, we have heard of no casualty, unless we may account as such the raining down of an alligator about two feet long, at the corner of Wentworth and Anson streets.—We have not been lucky enough to find anyone who saw him come down—but the important fact that he was there, is incontestable—and as he could’nt have got there any other way, it was decided unanimously that he rained down. Besides the beast had a look of wonder and bewilderment about him, that showed plainly enough he must have gone through a remarkable experience. By the last accounts he was doing as well as an alligator could be expected to do after sailing through the air in such bad weather.”

29-: From the account of the Metairie Jockey Club races, published in The Daily Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana, USA) of Thursday 14th March 1844:

The time of the heat was 1:50—most extraordinary, in our opinion, as it had rained all the morning.
The heat was scarcely over before it began, to use a common expression, “raining pitchforks” and “pouring cats and dogs,” so that before they started in the second heat, the course was one sheet of water.

30-: From Twenty Years of Professional Life, an unsigned story published in Lloyd’s Companion to the Penny Sunday Times and Peoples’ Police Gazette (London, England) of Sunday 11th August 1844:

With what anxiety did I await the coming of this day; and Fate, as if envious of the treat I had promised myself, had so ordained it, that it was one of the bitterest days of the season; it rained, certainly not cats and dogs, nor pitchforks points downwards, but I may safely say that heaven and earth had a desire to claim nearer acquaintance.

31-: From The Mysteries of Paris (London: Chapman and Hall, 1845), an unsigned translation of Les Mystères de Paris (1842-43), by the French author Eugène Sue (Marie-Joseph Sue – 1804-1857):

“On reaching the end of the street I found it was raining pitchforks, points downwards—a complete deluge.”

The original passage is as follows in Les Mystères de Paris (Paris: Charles Gosselin, 1843)—the French phrase il tombe des hallebardes (literally it is falling halberds) means it is raining very heavily:

« Arrivé au bout de la rue, je commence à m’apercevoir qu’il tombait par trop de hallebardes…, une pluie de déluge ! »

32-: From Heidelberg and the Way Thither (London: Dyer and Co., 1845), by ‘Nil’, i.e., Henry John Whitling:

Did you ever know any one “accustomed always to carry an umbrella,” for once—just for once—on a sunshiny morning, go out without it, and as if on that very account, find himself, ere he reached home, obliged to pass through a long and heavy shower, which, one good turn deserving another, did all it could to pass through him? That was aggravation!
—Or, the case of another, who, abhorring an umbrella as “always in his way,” ventured even on a showery morning without it. The rain which seems to have waited for him, comes down; cats, dogs, and pitchforks, at length drive him to call and borrow one from an old spinsterian relative, who, to oblige him produces a thick, antique, green cotton specimen, about two yards in diameter, with a large brass ring, instead of a ferule at one end, and a handle like a kitchen poker, only twice as heavy, at the other; he thanks her, and looks out of window for relief, fully determined to risk a good deal to avoid such porterage. But the leaden clouds afford him no hope; business presses; so he takes it and away he goes, and by the time he has discharged his first appointment, the weather brightens, and he hugs closely to him for the remainder of a long walk through mud and sunshine an appendage that might, and no doubt did, convey the first hint to the manufacturers of gig umbrellas! That is an aggravation in a still worse form!

33-: From Outpourings, by ‘D. Canter’, published in Bentley’s Miscellany (London, England) in 1845:

The whole party sat down to “champagne and chicken.”
On a sudden rap-rap-rap—ring-ring-ring.
“His lordship!” said Mrs. C——, starting up.
“The devil it is!” exclaimed P——.
“Run! run!” cried the lady, bundling the plates and dishes under the sofa.
In an instant the trio were in Jack’s balcony. It rained pitchforks. There was no verandah.
“D—n it, we ’re shut out!” whispered P——, trying the windows.

34-: From Outpourings, by ‘D. Canter’, published in Bentley’s Miscellany (London, England) in 1846:

“There! there ’s a spot fell upon my nose as big as a barleycorn! Oh, won’t it rain pitchforks presently, my boy, that ’s all! You ’ll be as wet as a sop in the pan if in five minutes you don’t take a coach, I can tell you?”

35-: From the postscript to Another Epistle from Joe Muggins’s Dog, published in The Era (London, England) of Sunday 24th January 1847:

P.S.—I forgot to tell you, when I was at the Dolphin on Monday, Sam was adonising, previously to going to a hop at Epsom. A tidy distance to go to sport a toe, you’ll say; but he don’t mind, bless you. He had made up his mind, as usual, and go he would, if it had rained pitchforks and tom-cats, and he had to walk all the way in his pumps.

36-: From The Liberator (Boston, Massachusetts, USA) of Friday 12th March 1847:

On Sunday night, while it was raining pitchforks, a ‘volunteer’ of company K, on board the Smyrna, slipped into the boat, cast it loose, and was pulling for the shore when discovered. Eleven musket balls were sent after him, but fortunately none hit him. He landed and was pursued to Lowell, where he was secreted and lost to the Massachusetts Regiment of Vollunteers [sic].

37-: From Life of Silas Wright, in Political History of the State of New-York, from Jan. 1, 1841, to Jan. 1, 1847 (Syracuse: Published by Hall & Dickson, 1848), by the U.S. politician and author Jabez Delano Hammond (1778-1855):

It was in the month of October, and the weather quite cold. There was a tremendous dark heavy cloud hanging over the field. The order was given, ‘Prepare for the standing review!’ The regiment was immediately put in order, and as the general and his staff approached the right of the regiment, and had uncovered their heads, the wind commenced blowing a ‘hurricane,’ and the rain and hail fell in torrents. At this moment every company but one in the whole line fled to their tents. But the general and one of his staff, (the brigade inspector,) moved slowly down the line with uncovered heads, until they arrived in front of the only company left in the whole line,—which, by-the-by, was his old Rifle Company: he reined up his horse, while the rain and hail were pelting his naked head, and addressed them thus:—‘That’s right, boys! That’s the kind of soldiers I like. I knew I should have one company to review if it rained pitchforks, unless they came tines downwards.’

38-: From Shots from an Old Six-Pounder. No. VIII, by ‘Portfire’, published in Colburn’s United Service Magazine and Naval and Military Journal (London, England) of July 1848:

We turn into the road to Neuilly, and on reaching the villa formerly occupied by the celebrated Madame Racamier [sic], our division wheels to the right, defiles in rear of the village of Clichy, and encamps among the wet corn, for it rains pitchforks.

39-: From Excerpts from a “Visitors’ Book”, published in The Kendal Mercury, and Northern Advertiser (Kendal, Westmorland, England) of Saturday 8th June 1850:

There is unexceptionable philosophy in what follows, which is averred to have been written when it was raining “cats, dogs and pitchforks:”—
“For every evil under the sun
There is a remedy,—or none;
If there is one, try to find it,
If there isn’t, never mind it.”

40-: From a letter from the Editor, published in The Daily British Whig (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) of Friday 14th June 1850:

The weather, which up to this time had been most delightful, underwent a melancholy change. It began to rain cats and dogs, and pitchforks with their sharp ends downwards!

41-: From The Stroll of Fuz in Search of Sporting News, published in Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) of Saturday 22nd June 1850:

Rain coming down cats, dogs, and pitchforks; nice neighbourhood, devil a cab to be seen. Hold hard; just one tooled by Civil Stephy and pulled up at the Rose of Australia.

42-: From Quacks from the West. By Birds of Passage (London: Whittaker and Co., 1851):

We scarcely could believe our eyes,
Cats, dogs, and pitchforks from the skies,
The livelong day came pouring down,
And inundated all the town.

43-: From The Lady Killer (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co., 1851), by Rebecca Hicks:

Miss Whisk was overheard one day remarking to her mirror in confidence, as she stood complacently teaching those soap curls the right twist, that she intended to take that young man through before he could say Jack Robinson. I trembled for the fate of the Seminary’s nephew; I knew the relentless Whisk in all her moods and tenses. I knew if she said she would do a thing she would do it, though it rained pitchforks and weeding-hoes, to use her own highly poetical expression; and, therefore, I began to regard Mr. Barron as a doomed man.

44-: From New York Correspondence, dated Wednesday 29th January 1851, published in The Portsmouth Inquirer (Portsmouth, Ohio, USA) of Monday 10th February 1851:

Last night “it rained pitchforks,” as the boys say.

45-: From Omnibus Etiquette, by ‘Quidam’, published in The Carpet-Bag: A Literary Journal (Boston, Massachusetts, USA) of 12th July 1851:

Ex gratia: a biped, clad in what is ordinarily acknowledged to be “male attire,” ascends timidly the nether steps of the ladder constituting an appendication of the monster called Omnibus. He looks sneakingly into the profundity of the inwards. Nobody manifests a particle of sympathy for him, although it rains pitchforks, and he is umbrellaless.

46-: From Chapter VII of Havn’t-time and Don’t-be-in-a-hurry, published in The Lancaster Ledger (Lancaster, South Carolina, USA) of Wednesday 21st April 1852:

As Mr. Don’t-be-in-a-hurry would’nt hear to starting on Monday, the other reluctantly consented to wait for his good company until Wednesday. This, however, was not done with the best grace in the world.
“I’ll go on Wednesday, mind,” said the latter, “even if it rains pitchforks.”

47-: From The Maidstone Journal, Kentish Advertiser, and South Eastern Intelligencer (Maidstone, Kent, England) of Tuesday 3rd August 1852:


Shower of Frogs.—A few days since, as it is stated on the authority of two old ladies, a dense shower of tadpoles fell near this city on the road to Dover, much to the alarm of the ancient feminies, who expected pitchforks point [sic] downwards to follow! A Canterbury contemporary appears astonished at the relation, but he forgets that during the Parliamentary recess, when news of an interesting character is worth any money, showers of the kind are of periodical recurrence, in common with sheep with two heads, gigantic gooseberries, hailstones as big as eggs, &c., all of which we perceive are now making their appearance in various parts of the country. They belong, like mad dogs, to the season.

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