The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire eBook

Charles W. Morris
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 432 pages of information about The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire.
were fed by great magazines of oil.  Not a few, especially among the peasantry dwelling in the country, were suddenly engulfed in fissures.  Many who were only half buried in the ruins, and who might have been saved had there been help at hand, were left to die a lingering death from cold and hunger.  Four Augustine monks at Terranuova perished thus miserably.  Having taken refuge in a vaulted sacristy, they were entombed in it alive by the masses of rubbish, and lingered for four days, during which their cries for help could be heard, till death put an end to their sufferings.

Of still more thrilling interest was the case of the Marchioness Spastara.  Having fainted at the moment of the first great shock, she was lifted by her husband, who, bearing her in his arms, hurried with her to the harbor.  Here, on recovering her senses, she observed that her infant boy had been left behind.  Taking advantage of a moment when her husband was too much occupied to notice her, she darted off and, running back to the house, which was still standing, she snatched her babe from its cradle.  Rushing with him in her arms towards the staircase, she found the stair had fallen—­cutting off all further progress in that direction.  She fled from room to room, pursued by the falling materials, and at length reached a balcony as her last refuge.  Holding up her infant, she implored the few passers-by for help; but they all, intent on securing their own safety, turned a deaf ear to her cries.  Meanwhile the mansion had caught fire, and before long the balcony, with the devoted lady still grasping her darling, was hurled into the devouring flames.


The Charleston and Other Earthquakes of the United States.

The twin continents of America have rivalled the record of the Old World in their experience of earthquakes since their discovery in 1492.  The first of these made note of was in Venezuela in 1530, but they have been numerous and often disastrous since.  Among them was the great shock at Lima in 1746, by which 18,000 were killed, and those at Guatemala in 1773, with 33,000, and at Riobamba in 1797, with 41,000 victims.  It will, however, doubtless prove of more interest to our readers if we pass over these ruinous disasters and confine ourselves to the less destructive earthquakes which have taken place within our own country.

The United States, large a section of North America as it occupies, is fortunate in being in a great measure destitute of volcanic phenomena, while destructive earthquakes have been very rare in its history.  This, it is true, does not apply to the United States as it is, but as it was.  It has annexed the volcano and the earthquake with its new accessions of territory.  Alaska has its volcanoes, the Philippines are subject to both forms of convulsion, and in Hawaii we possess the most spectacular volcano of the earth, while the earthquake is its common attendant.  But in the older United States the volcano contents itself with an occasional puff of smoke, and eruptive phenomena are confined to the minor form of the geyser.

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The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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