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close up to the bench, and putting him outside to catch the first kick, drew up against the stern of the bungo and went to sleep.
At half past seven we weighed anchor, or hauled up a large stone, and started with oars. My boatmen were peculiar in their way of wearing pantaloons. First they pulled them off, folded them about a foot wide and two feet long, and then suspended them over the belts of their machetes like little aprons. At nine o'clock we reached the mouth of the river. Here we hoisted sail, and while the wind was fair did very well. The sun was scorching, and under the awning the heat was insufferable. Following the coast, at eleven o'clock we were opposite the Volcano of Coseguina, a long, dark mountain range, with another ridge running below it, and then an extensive plain covered with lava to the sea. The wind headed us, and in order to weather the point of headland from which we could lay our course, the boatmen got into the water to tow the bungo. I followed them, and with a broad-brimmed straw hat to protect me from the sun, I found the water was delightful. During this time one of the men brought sand from the shore to break the roundness of the bottom of the boat, and give the mules a foothold. Unable to weather the point, at half past one we came to anchor, and very soon every man on board was asleep.
I woke with the pilot's legs resting on my shoulder. It was rather an undignified position, but no one saw it. Before me was the Volcano of Coseguina, with its field of lava and its desolate shore, and not a living being was in sight except my sleeping boatmen. Five years before, on the shores of the Mediterranean, and at the foot of Mount Etna, I read in a newspaper an account of the eruption of this volcano. Little did I then ever
EFFECTS O* AN ERUPTION. 37
expect to see it; the most awful in the history of volcanic eruptions, the noise of which startled the people of Guatimala four hundred miles off; and at Kingston, Jamaica, eight hundred miles distant, was supposed to be signal guns of distress from some vessel at sea. The face of nature was changed; the cone of the volcano was gone; a mountain and field of lava ran down to the sea; a forest old as creation had entirely disappeared, and two islands were formed in the sea; shoals were discovered, in one of which a large tree was fixed upside down; one river was completely choked up, and another formed, running in an opposite direction; seven men in the employ of my bun go-proprietor ran down to the water, pushed off in a bungo, and were never heard of more; wild beasts, howling, left their caves in the mountains, and ounces, leopards, and snakes fled for shelter to the abodes of men.
This eruption took place on the 20th of January, 1835. Mr. Savage was on that day on the side of the Volcano of San Miguel, distant one hundred and twenty miles, looking for cattle. At eight o'clock he saw a dense cloud rising in the south in a pyramidal form, and heard a noise which sounded like the roaring of the sea. Very soon the thick clouds were lighted up by vivid flashes, rose-coloured and forked, shooting and disappearing, which he supposed to be some electrical phenomenon. These appearances increased so fast that his men became frightened, and said it was a ruina, and tha». the end of the world was nigh. Very soon he himself was satisfied that it was the eruption of a volcano; and as Coseguina was at that time a quiet mountain, not suspected to contain subterraneous fires, he supposed it to proceed from the Volcano of Tigris. He returned to the town of San Miguel, and in riding three blocks felt three severe shocks of earthquake. The inhabitants were distracted with terror. Birds flew wildly through the streets, and, blinded by the dust, fell dead on the ground. At four o'clock it was so dark that, as Mr. S. says, he held up his hand before his eyes, and could not see it. Nobody moved without a candle, which gave a dim and misty light, extending only a few feet. At this time the church war full, and could not contain half who wished to enter The figure of the Virgin was brought out into the plaza and borne through the streets, followed by the inhabitants, with candles and torches, in penitential proces sion, crying upon the Lord to pardon their sins. Bells tolled, and during the procession there was anothei earthquake, so violent and long that it threw to thi ground many people walking in the procession. Tht darkness continued till eleven o'clock the next day when the sun was partially visible, but dim and hazy, and without any brightness. The dust on the ground was four inches thick; the branches of trees broke with its weight, and people were so disfigured by it that they could not be recognised.
At this time Mr. S. set out for his hacienda at Zonzonate. He slept at the first village, and at two or three o'clock in the morning was roused by a report like the breaking of most terrific thunder or the firing of thousands of cannon. This was the report which startled the people of Guatimala, when the commandant sallied out, supposing that the quartel was attacked, and which was heard at Kingston in Jamaica. It was accompanied by an earthquake so violent that it almost threw Mr. S. out of his hammock.*
* This may at first appear no great feat for an earthquake, but no stronger proof can be cited of the violence with which the shock affects the region ill which it occurs
LA UNION. 39
Toward evening my men all woke; the wind was fair, but they took things quietly, and after supper hoisted sail. About twelve o'clock, by an amicable arrangement, I stretched myself on the pilot's bench under the tiller, and when I woke we had passed the Volcano of Tigris, and were in an archipelago of islands more beautiful than the islands of Greece. The wind died away, and the boatmen, after playing for a little while with the oars, again let fall the big stone and went to sleep. Outside the awning the heat of the sun was withering, under it the closeness was suffocating, and my poor mules had had no water since their embarcation. In the confusion of getting away I had forgotten it till the moment of departure, and then there was no vessel in which to carry it. After giving them a short nap I roused the men, and with the promise of a reward induced them to take to their oars. Fortunately, before they got tired we had a breeze, and at about four o'clock in the afternoon the big stone was dropped in the harbour of La Union, in front of the town. One ship was lying at anchor, a whaler from Chili, which had put in in distress and been condemned.
The commandant was Don Manuel Romero, one of Morazan's veterans, who was anxious to retire altogether from public life, but remained in office because, in his present straits, he could be useful to his benefactor and friend. He had heard of me, and his attentions reminded me of, what I sometimes forgot, but which others very rarely did, my official character; he invited me to his house while I remained in La Union, but gave me intelligence which made me more anxious than ever to hurry on. General Morazan had left the port but a few days before, having accompanied his family thither on their way to Chili. On his return to San Salvador he intended to march directly agains" Guatimala. By forced marches I might overtake him, and go up under the escort of his army, trusting to chance to avoid being on the spot in case of a battle, or from my acquaintance with Carrera get passed across the lines. Fortunately, the captain of the condemned ship wished to go to San Salvador, and agreed to accompany me the next day. There were two strangers in the place, Captain R. of Honduras, and Don Pedro, a mulatto, both of whom were particularly civil to me. In the evening my proposed travelling companion and I called upon them, and very soon a game of cards was proposed. The doors were closed, wine placed on the table, and monte begun with doubloons. Captain R. and Don Pedro tried hard to make me join them; and when I rose to leave, Captain R., as if he thought there could be but one reason for my resisting, took me aside, and said that if I wanted money he was my friend, while Don Pedro declared that he was not rich, but that he had a big heart; that he was happy of my acquaintance; he had had the honour to know a consul once before at Panama, and I might count upon him for anything I wanted. Gambling is one of the great vices of the country, and that into which strangers are most apt to fall. The captain had fallen in with a set at San Miguel, and these two had come down to the port expressly to fleece him. During the night he detected them cheating; and telling them that he had learned in Chili to use a knife as well as they could, laid his cane over the shoulders of him who had had the honour to know a consul once before, and broke up the party. There is an oldfashioned feeling of respect for a man who wears a sword, but that feeling wears off in Central America.