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HAVE you ever known much of the Azores ? inquired the Don of Frank.
“I have read very little about them,” he replied. “I know they lie about 800 miles from Cape St. Vincent, and are supposed to have been discovered and settled by the Portuguese. I have seen volcanic specimens from these islands in the mineralogical cabinet of Yale College, in Connecticut, and that is all the information that I have about them."
“ It was of their volcanic origin that I was about to speak,” continued the Don. if not all of them, must have been formed by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. I wish the American consul had not been absent from Fayal, during your stay, as he would have accompanied
us on a little trip that I have projected for the
I am going to take you, if it is agreeable, over to St. George. With a fair wind we can go over in about five hours. There was a tremendous eruption on that island in 1808, and its present condition affords much that is interest
Accordingly, the next morning, the Don and Donna, with their young guests, embarked in a small vessel for St. George. The sky was beautifully clear and serene, but the Don said they were subject to violent winds in that region, and could never be sure of the continuance of such delightful weather, even during a single day.
“ You know,” said he, “they say that no serpents of any kind (through the influence of St. Patrick) can live in Ireland. It is true that our fertile islands give birth to no poisonous reptiles, and it is generally believed that if they were brought here, they would soon expire."
" I shall always think of Fayal as a little paradise,” remarked Frank.
Notwithstanding the one noxious animal that you have found here, -Mr. Mudge,” said the Donna.
“He is of foreign growth,” replied Frank," and
it is a wonder how he can thrive among beings so different.”
By this time they had arrived at St. George. After a ride of four miles, they came to the foot of the crater; its elevation is about 3,500 feet.
They mounted up its rough sides, and had, besides the view of the crater, a fine prospect of the sea, dotted with the other islands belonging to the Azores.
“ The American consul, who was resident at Fayal at the time of this eruption," said the Don,
gave the best account of it that I have seen, in a letter to a friend of mine, who then resided at St. Michael's, one of the largest of the Azores. It was as follows:
666 On Sunday, the 1st of May, at one, P. M., walking in the balcony of my house at St. Antonio, I heard noises like the report of heavy cannon at a distance, and concluded there was some sea-engagement in the vicinity of the island. But soon after, casting my eyes towards the island of St. George, ten leagues distant, I perceived a dense volume of smoke rising to an immense height; it was soon judged that a volcano had burst out about the centre of that island, and this was rendered certain when night came on, - the fire exhibiting an awful appearance.
46. Being desirous of viewing this wonderful exertion of nature, I embarked, on the 3d of May, accompanied by the British consul and ten other gentlemen, for St. George's, and arrived at Vellas, the principal town, at eleven, A. M.
6. We found the poor inhabitants perfectly panicstruck and wholly given up to religious ceremonies and devotion; and learned that the fire had broken out in a ditch, in the midst of fertile pastures, three leagues southeast of Vellas, and had immediately formed a crater, in size about twentyfour acres.
It threw out small cinders and pumice-stones. The fire of this large crater had nearly subsided, but on the evening preceding our arrival another small crater had opened, one league north of the large one.
After taking some refreshment, we visited the second crater, the sulphurous smoke of which, driven southerly, rendered an attempt to approach the large one impracticable.
6. When we came within a mile of the crater, we found the earth rent in every direction, and, as we approached nearer, some of the chasms were six feet wide ; by leaping over some of these chasms, and making windings to avoid the larger ones, we at length arrived within two hundred
yards of the spot, and saw it distinctly, in the middle of a pasture.
6. The mouth of it was only about fifty yards in circumference; the fire seemed struggling for vent; the force with which the pale blue flame issued forth resembled a powerful-steam-engine, multiplied a hundred-fold. The noise was deafening; the earth where we stood had a tremulous motion; the whole island seemed convulsed; horrid bellowings were occasionally heard from the bowels of the earth, and earthquakes were frequent.
". After remaining here about ten minutes, we returned to town. The inhabitants had mostly quitted their houses, and remained in the open air, or under tents.
666 On the same day, (the 4th of May,) we returned to Fayal, and on the 5th and the succeeding days, from twelve to fifteen small volcanoes broke out in the very fields we had traversed on the 3d, from the chasms before described, and threw out a quantity of lava, which travelled on slowly towards Vellas. The fire of those small craters subsided, and the lava ceased running, about the 11th of May, on which day the large volcano, that had lain dormant for nine days,