It was a custom among the English Freemasons of the middle of the eighteenth century, when conversing together on Freemasonry, to announce the appearance of a profane by the warning expression It rains. The custom was adopted by the German and French Freemasons, with the equivalent expression, Es regnet and II pluie. Baron Tschoudy, who condemns the usage, says that the latter refined upon it by designating the approach of a female by II neige, the French for It snows. Doctor Oliver says (Revelations of a Square, page 142) that the phrase It rains, to indicate that a Cowan is present and the proceedings must be suspended, is derived from the ancient punishment of an eavesdropper, which was to place him under the eaves of a house in rainy weather, and to retain him there till the droppings of water ran in at the collar of his coat and out at his shoes.
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