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Greco, is a village at the foot of Vesuvius. Its present inhabitants have the foundations of their houses on the roofs of those of their forefathers', and their own roofs may hereafter become the foundations of their children's or grandchildren's dwellings; but they live there, preferring it to all other places, and the district below Vesuvius is the most thickly populated part of all Italy. You may go from Naples to Pompeii, a distance of thirteen miles, and never once get away from houses.
At the end of April 1872, there was a great eruption. It had been expected for some time, for pillars of fire had been seen rising from the cone, loud explosions had been heard, and shocks of earthquakes felt; but when it got worse, and the fire rose higher, and the explosions hardly ever ceased, and streams of lava rushed out and made their way down the mountain, every one was in terror, and the people living under Vesuvius, who saw the lava coming in their direction, did their best to escape to Naples, or elsewhere. All night and all day, they hurried away, carrying their little children, or helping their poor old fathers and mothers who were too infirm, and too much terrified, to help themselves, driving their cows or goats with them, or dragging their beds, or some favourite piece of furniture. Some of these unfortunate people never got away, for they were either overtaken by the lava, or shut in by two different streams of it and burnt, or scalded to death by the boiling water thrown up from the crater. Imagine a deep, fiery stream
rushing down the sides of the mountain, burning and burying all it touched, and poisoning and heating the air on all sides, so that neither man, nor beast, nor tree could live, and you will know what these poor creatures had to fear.
One night, before the eruption got to the worst, a party of gentlemen went half way up the mountain, to a place which they believed safe, the better to see the splendid sight. They were standing watching the red stream of lava flowing north, (the very same stream from which the country people were trying to escape), when they were alarmed by the sound of a rumbling noise which sent them flying, and soon after they heard a sound as of many waters rushing down with great violence. Another crater had opened, and the lava, tumbling headlong down the steepest part of the mountain, threatened to sweep everything and every one before it. This new stream came down like a moving wall of living fire, scorching even those who were at a considerable distance, and lighting up the sky with a dark-red glow. In a short time after, the whole mountain seemed to be on fire, those black spots which marked the divisions between the principal mouths had given way, and one huge mass of flame rose up to the heavens, casting its light on the streams of liquid fire which were rushing downwards. There was a general cry of “Fly-fly!" on all sides, and all who could escape did so; but alas! there were many who could not. During the whole of this night Vesuvius shook violently, and the thunder rolled. So it continued throughout the 26th, and so on the 27th, and night and day the mountain roared just as if a fierce battle was going on, or as if you had a cage of lions shut up in the room with you. At more than twenty miles' distance that savage and ceaseless roar shook the windows, while in Naples the ground trembled beneath the feet. By night, during this time, Vesuvius looked a mass of fire, reflected both in sea and sky; by day it was almost more frightful, for it could not be seen at all! It was shut out from sight by thick smoke, while the sky looked black with fog, and showers of cinders and ashes fell on all sides for miles and miles around.
The people in Naples were all feeling their way about, terrified at the complete darkness, the frequent earthquakes, and the noise of the explosions. Their eyes were blinded, and their throats choked with dust. It was the same if they stayed in their houses, nothing would keep the fine dust out. They found it in their beds, in their plates, in their eyes, and in their mouths. Two or three villages, and Massa, a town of nine thousand inhabitants, were almost entirely destroyed by the great stream which rushed down on them from the north-west side of the cone.
55.-BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S PRECEPTS.
dul-ness de-ceit tol-er-ate
1. Temperance. Eat not to dulness; drink not to elevation.
2. Silence.—Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
3. Order.—Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
4. Resolution.—Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
5. Frugality.—Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; that is, waste nothing.
6. Industry.—Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary action.
7. Sincerity.-Use no deceit; think innocently and justly; and if you speak, speak accordingly.
8. Justice.- Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9. Moderation.-Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. Cleanliness.-Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
11. Tranquillity.—Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
56.--NATURE AND HEAVEN.
praise-d man-sion shield
cha-ri-ot gar-lands O-cean
I praised the earth, in beauty seen,