Immense Bubbles Have Risen From The
Confused Masses, And Bursting, Have Yawned Apart.
streams of more recent lava have cleft straight furrows through the
older congealed surface.
Massive flows have fallen in, exposing
caverned depths of jagged outlines. Earthquakes have riven the
mountain, splitting its sides and opening deep crevasses, which must
be leapt or circumvented. Horrid streams of a-a have to be
cautiously skirted, which after rushing remorselessly over the
kindlier lava have heaped rugged pinnacles of brown scoriae into
impassable walls. Winding round the bases of tossed up, fissured
hummocks of pahoehoe, leaping from one broken hummock to another,
clambering up acclivities so steep that the pack-horse rolled
backwards once, and my cat-like mule fell twice, moving cautiously
over crusts which rang hollow to the tread; stepping over deep
cracks, which, perhaps, led down to the burning fathomless sea,
traversing hilly lakes ruptured by earthquakes, and split in cooling
into a thousand fissures, painfully toiling up the sides of mounds
of scoriae frothed with pumice-stone, and again for miles
surmounting rolling surfaces of billowy ropy lava - so passed the
long day, under the tropic sun, and the deep blue sky.
Towards afternoon, clouds heaped themselves in brilliant snowy
masses, all radiance and beauty to us, all fog and gloom below,
girdling the whole mountain, and interposing their glittering screen
between us and the dark timber belt, the black smoking shores of
Kau, and the blue shimmer of the Pacific. From that time, for
twenty-four hours, the lower world, and "works and ways of busy men"
were entirely shut out, and we were alone with this trackless and
inanimate region of horror.
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