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ness into which their sudden birth was converted had something in it doubly terrible and doubly impressing on the impotence of human hopes, the lesson of despair.


Frequently, by the momentary light of these torches, parties of fugitives encountered each other, some hurrying toward the sea, others flying from the sea back to the for the ocean had retreated rapidly from the shore an utter darkness lay over it, and upon its groaning and tossing waves the storm of cinders and rock fell without the protection which the streets and roofs afforded to the land.

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 death-like faces of the other, and hurrying all to seek refuge beneath the nearest shelter. The whole elements of civilization were broken up. Ever and anon, by the flickering lights, you saw the thief hastening by the most solemn authorities. of the law, laden with, and fearfully chuckling over, the produce of his sudden gains. If, in the darkness, wife was separated from husband, or parent from child, vain was the hope of reunion. Each hurried blindly and confusedly on. Nothing in all the various and complicated

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machinery of social life was left save the primal law of self-preservation!

Suddenly the place became lighted with an intense and lurid glow. Bright and gigantic through the darkness the mountain shone-a pile of fire! Its summit seemed riven in two; or rather, above its surface there seemed to rise two monster shapes, each confronting each, as demons contending for a world. These were of one deep blood-red hue of fire, which lighted up the whole atmosphere far and wide; but, below, 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. Darkly red through the profound gloom of their banks, they flowed slowly on, as toward the devoted city. Over the broadest there seemed to spring a cragged and stupendous arch, from which gushed the sources of the sudden Phlegethon. And through the stilled air was heard the rattling of the fragments of rock, hurling one upon another as they were borne down the fiery cataracts - darkening, for one instant, the spot where they fell, and suffused the next, in the burnished hues of the flood along which they floated!

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Another and another and another shower of ashes far more profuse than before, scattered fresh desolation along the streets.

Who in that hour spared one thought to his neighbor? Perhaps in scenes of universal horror, nothing is more horrid than the unnatural selfishness they engender.


Meekly, softly, beautifully dawned at last the light over the trembling deep! — the winds were sinking into rest the foam died from the glowing azure of that delicious sea. Around the east, thin mists caught gradually the rosy hues that heralded the morning; Light was about to resume her reign. Yet, still, dark and massive in the distance, lay the broken fragments of the destroying cloud, from which red streaks, burning dimlier and more dim, betrayed the yet rolling fires of the mountain of the "Scorched Fields." The white walls and gleaming columns that had adorned the lovely coasts were no more. Sullen and dull were the shores so lately crested by the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii.

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murkiness: darkness. - prodigal: excessive. - lurid: gloomy.— chasms: deep breaks in the earth or rocks. mimicries: laughable imitations. hurtling: meeting with violence. - combustible: liable to burn. porticoes: covered places to walk in. - forum: a public place in Rome and other cities where cases were tried before judges. -impotence: feebleness. -supernatural: exceeding the powers of nature. — complicated: made difficult. primal: first. riven: split. nether: lower. — molten lava: melted rock thrown out by a volcano. Phlegethon: according to mythology, one of the principal

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rivers of Hades, in the channel of which fire flowed instead of water. cataracts: heavy floods like large waterfalls. - suffused : covered with something fluid. - heralded: foretold.

The Blessed Virgin.

After Our Lord Jesus Christ, no one has ever exercised so salutary and so dominant an influence as the Blessed Virgin on society, on the family, and on the individual. The Mother of Jesus exercises throughout the Christian commonwealth that hallowing influence which a good mother wields over the Christian family.

What temple or chapel, how rude soever it may be, is not adorned with a painting or a statue of the Madonna? What house is not embellished with an image of Mary? What Catholic child is a stranger to her familiar face?

The priest and the layman, the scholar and the illiterate, the prince and the peasant, the mother and the maid, acknowledge her benign sway.

And if Christianity is so fruitful in comparison with paganism, in conjugal fidelity, in female purity, and in the respect paid to womanhood, these blessings are in no small measure due to the force of Mary's all-pervading influence and example. Ever since the Son of God chose

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