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The Daily Volcano Quote: the lava-leaping ladies of Vesuvius 18 March 2009

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The last eruption of Vesuvius was very gallant. The ladies formed parties by hundreds for Torre dell Annunciata, directly opposite the mouth from which the lava flowed. There they walked composedly to the foot of the mountain, stood on the border of the fiery current, wantonly jumped over its narrow arms backward and forward, and actually placed themselves before the stream, and waited its coming: all this was unattended with danger; as it rolled on very slowly, or rather drove its great scaly waves deliberately over one another, till they lost their equilibrium by being piled up, and rushed down again like a cataract — which afforded full time for escaping in safety.

Augustus von Kotzebue, Travels Through Italy, in the Years 1804 and 1805 (4 vols., London: Richard Phillips, 1806), vol. II, pp. 13-14.

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