Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 2.djvu/312

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Mr. Bennet on the Island of Teneriffe.

that lay on the right of our ascent, and which traverse that part of the island, running from east to west from their point of departure at the Canales to where they end in an abrupt headland on the coast, with their forests and villages and vinyards, the port with the shipping in the roads, the towns of Orotava with their spires glittering as the morning sun burst upon them, afforded a chearful contrast to the streams of lava, the mounds of ash and pumice, and the sulphurated rock on which we had taken our seat. The sensation of extreme height was in fact one of the most extraordinary I ever felt, and though I did not find the pain in my chest arising from the rarity of the atmosphere, near so acute as on the mountains of Switzerland, yet there was a keenness in the air independent of the cold that created no small uneasiness in the lungs. The respiration became short and quick, and repeated halts were found necessary. The idea also of extreme height was to me more determinate and precise than on the mountains of Switzerland; and though the immediate objects of vision were not so numerous, yet as the ascent is more rapid, the declivity sharper, and there is here no mountain like Mont Blanc towering above you, the 12,000 feet above the level of the sea appeared considerably more than a similar elevation above the lake of Geneva. We remained at the summit about three-quarters of an hour, our ascent had cost us a labour of four hours, as we left the Estancia at ten minutes before three and reached the top of the peak before seven; many indeed of our halts were needless, and M. Escolar told me that he had twice ascended to the summit in somewhat less than three hours. Our thermometer which was graduated to the scale of Fahrenheit was during our ascent as follows: at Orotava at eight in the morning, 74°; at six in the evening at La Estancia, 50°; at one in the following morning 42°; at La Cueva at half-past