Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/111

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MEXICO.

violence to injure the massive structure of the city; and the alluvial and elastic soil upon which it is based is much in its flavour.

Nevertheless, many of the churches show how much repeated shocks have injured them; and though the appalling inclination from the perpendicular, noticeable in many towers and facades, is rather attributable to the badness of the foundations, yet during these days there was enough to make a brave man pause for an instant before passing under certain churches—such as the Profesa for instance, which looks as if it would fall upon the slightest provocation.

Most of these shocks were very trivial, and scarcely perceptible. The first I have noticed was by far the most serious, and considerably damaged several of the churches and the aqueducts. It began with the usual lateral swing from east to west, and then suddenly took the perpendicular movement, which is always the most dreaded. We found ultimately that it was experienced about the same time at Guadalaxara; and very severely at Vera Cruz, and at Acapulco, having thus upheaved and agitated the whole continent, with its enormous pile of mountains, from sea to sea—a fact which may give you an idea of the great depth at which the seat of this tremendous power must be situated.

There is, however, a caprice in the effects produced which it is difficult to explain. The same earthquake which I have thus noticed as so sensibly felt at Mexico, was not observable at Guadaloupe, within a mile of the city; while at Tacuba it was yet more severe. It was felt neither at Real del Monte, nor at Regla, while a hacienda situated between those two places was shaken to its foundation. It was rumoured that the hot baths situated on the Peñon, an isolated mass of lava between the city and the lake, had increased in heat since the commencement of the shocks; and further, that Popocatepetl had shown slight signs of combustion; but the most careful observation and attention could detect nothing of the kind from the terraces of the city. Morn-