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Page 254 - In the pauses of the showers, you heard the rumbling of the earth beneath, and the groaning waves of the tortured sea ; or, lower still, and audible but to the watch of intensest fear, the grinding and hissing murmur of the escaping gases through the chasms of the distant mountain. Sometimes the cloud appeared to break from its solid mass, and, by the lightning, to assume quaint and vast mimicries of human or of monster shapes, striding across the gloom, hurtling one upon the other, and vanishing...
Page 255 - Wild — haggard — ghastly with supernatural fears, these groups encountered each other, but without the leisure to speak, to consult, to advise ; for the showers fell now frequently, though not continuously, extinguishing the lights, which showed to each band the deathlike faces of the other, and hurrying all to seek refuge beneath the nearest shelter. The whole elements of civilisation were broken up.
Page 255 - ... nor could chariot or litter be kept steady, even on the most level ground. Sometimes the huger stones, striking against each other as they fell, broke into countless fragments, emitting sparks of fire, which caught whatever was combustible within their reach ; and along the plains beyond the city the darkness was now terribly relieved ; for several houses, and even vineyards, had been set on flames ; and at various intervals the fires rose suddenly and fiercely- against the solid gloom.
Page 259 - ... rolling on, over air, sea, and earth. Another — and another — and another shower of ashes, far more profuse than before, scattered fresh desolation along the streets. Darkness once more wrapped them as a veil ; and Glaucus, his bold heart at last quelled and despairing, sank beneath the cover of an arch, and, clasping lone to his heart — a bride on that couch of ruin — resigned himself to die.
Page 249 - Then there arose on high the universal shrieks of women ; the men stared at each other, but were dumb. At that moment they felt the earth shake beneath their feet ; the walls of the...
Page 258 - ... the nether part of the mountain was still dark and shrouded, save in three places, adown which flowed, serpentine and irregular,* rivers of the molten lava.
Page 265 - Nearly seventeen centuries had rolled away -when the City of Pompeii was disinterred from its silent tomb, ' all vivid with undimmed hues ; its walls fresh as if painted yesterday, — not a hue faded on the rich mosaic of its floors, — in its forum the half-finished columns as left by the workman's hand...
Page 254 - THE cloud, which had scattered so deep a murkiness over the day, had now settled into a solid and impenetrable mass. It resembled less even the thickest gloom of a night in the open air than the close and blind darkness of some narrow room.* But in proportion as the blackness gathered, did the lightnings around Vesuvius increase in their vivid and scorching glare. Nor was their horrible beauty confined to the usual hues of fire; no rainbow ever rivalled their varying and prodigal dyes.
Page 255 - In some places, immense fragments of rock, hurled upon the house roofs, bore down along the streets masses of confused ruin, which yet more and more, with every hour, obstructed the way ; and, as the day advanced, the motion of the earth was more sensibly felt — the footing seemed to slide...