forth dense clouds of white smoke. The black summit of the crater appeared floating in the clear blue sky. But the heat of the sun shortly warmed the mist, and it floated away like a curtain.

Distant view of Vesuvius

A grand panorama then lay before us. Naples looked bright and magnificent under the sunlight. The sea was so smooth that the buildings and towers and convents and spires were reflected in the water. On our left lay the Bay of Baiae, with its castles and temples and baths, dating from the days of the Roman Republic. To the right lay Castellamare, Sorrento, and the island of Capri. But the most prominent object was Vesuvius in front, with its expanding cloud of white smoke over the landscape. On landing, I took up my quarters at the Hotel Victoria. I sallied forth to take my first hasty view of the Chiaia, the streets, and the principal buildings. But, in accordance with my motto of "Duty first, pleasure second," I proceeded to attend to the business respecting which I had visited Naples. That, however, was soon disposed of. In a few days I was able to attend to pleasure. I made my way to the Museo Borbonico, now called the National Museum. I found it a rich mine of precious treasures, consisting of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman antiquities of every description. Not the least interesting part of the Museum is the collection of marbles, pictures, and articles of daily use, dug from the ruins of the buried city of Pompeii. Every spare hour that I could command was occupied in visiting and revisiting this wonderful Museum.

Herculaneum and Pompeii were also visited, but, more than all, the crater of Vesuvius. During my visit the mountain was in its normal state. I mounted the volcanic ashes with which it is strewn, and got to the top. There I could look down into the pit from which the clouds of steam are vomited forth. I went down to the very edge of the crater, stood close to its mouth, and watched the intermittent up-rushing of the blasts of vapour and sulphureous gases. To keep clear of these I stood to the windward side, and was thus out of harm's way.

What struck me most was the wonderfully brilliant colours of the rugged lava rocks forming the precipitous cliffs of the interior walls of the crater. These brilliant colours were the result of the sublimation and condensation on their surfaces of the combinations of sulphur and chloride of iron, quite as bright as if they had been painted with bright red, chrome, and all the most brilliant tints. Columns of all manner of chemical vapours ascended from the clefts and deep cracks, at the bottom of which I clearly saw the bright hot lava.

I rolled as big a mass of cool lava as I could to the edge of the crater and heaved it down; but I heard no sound. Doubtless the depth was vast, or it might probably have fallen into the molten lava, and thus made no noise. On leaving this horrible pit edge, I tied the card of the Bridgewater Foundry to a bit of lava and threw it in, as token of respectful civility to Vulcan, the head of our craft.

I had considerably more difficulty in clambering up to the top edge of the crater than I had in coming down. Once or twice, indeed, I was half choked by the swirls of sulphureous and muriatic acid vapour that environed me before I could reach the upper edge. I sat down in a nook, though it was a very hot one, and made a sketch or two of the appearance of the crater. But I feel that it is quite beyond my power either by pen or pencil, to convey an idea of the weird unearthly aspect which the funnel-shaped crater of Vesuvius presented at that time. An eruption of unusual violence had occurred shortly before I saw it. Great rounded blocks of lava had been thrown high into the air again and again, and had fallen back into the terrible focus of volcanic violence. Vast portions of the rugged and precipitous sides of the crater had fallen in, and were left in a state of the wildest confusion. When I visited the place the eruption had comparatively subsided. The throat of the crater was a rugged opening of more than forty feet diameter, leading down to -- Where? Echo answers, "Where?" And yet there is no doubt but that the great mass of materials which lay around me as I made my sketches, had been shot up from inconceivable depths beneath the solid crust of the earth. There still remains an enormous mass of molten materials that has been shut up beneath that crust since the surface of the globe assumed its present condition. The mineral matter that formed the globe had converged towards its centre of gravity, and the arrestment

  By PanEris using Melati.

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