17th May 1835

In the morning it rained lightly for about five hours; the first time this season; with this the farmers would break the ground, with a second plant their corn; & if a third shower fell, would in the spring reap a good harvest. It was curious to witness the effect of this trifling amount of moisture; the ground apparently was scarcely damp 12 hours afterwards, yet on the 27th an interval of 10 days, all the hills were tinged green in patches, the grass being sparingly scattered in hair-like fibres a full inch long. — Before this every part was as destitute of Vegetation as a turnpike road. In the evening I dined with Mr Edwards, during dinner there was a smart shock of an Earthquake. I heard the forecoming rumble, but from the screams of the ladies, the running of servants & the rush of several of the gentlemen to the doorway I could not distinguish the motion. Some of the women afterwards were crying with fear & one person said he should not be able to sleep all night or if he did, it would only be to dream of falling houses. — The father of this gentleman had lost all his property at Talcuhuana, & he himself only just escaped from a falling roof at Valparaiso in 1822; a curious coincidence happened; he with a party were playing at cards when a German remarked he never would sit in a room in these countries with the door shut, as he had with difficulty escaped in the Copiapò earthquake, accordingly it was opened. No sooner was this done than the famous shock commenced, & the whole party effected their escape by this coincidence. The danger in an Earthquake is not the time lost in opening a door, but the chance of its being jammed by the movement of the walls. — It is impossible to be much surprised at the fear which Natives & old Residents experience. — I think the excess of panic may be partly owing to a want of habit in governing fear; the usual restraint, shame, being here absent. — Indeed the natives do not like to see a person indifferent. I heard of two Englishmen who, sleeping in the open air near to some houses during a smart shock, knowing there was no danger did not rise — the natives cried out indignantly "Look at those hereticks, they will not even get out of their beds".

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