125 years ago today, the French Riviera and adjacent Italian Coast were struck by an earthquake which claimed more than 2,000 lives and created panic amongst most of the wealthy holiday-makers in Cannes and Nice. Most but not all.
This was the record of the event made by the great Sir Richard Burton:
“A little before 6 a.m., on the finest of mornings, with the smoothest of seas, the still sleeping world was aroused by a rumbling and shaking as of a thousand express trains hissing and rolling along, and in a few minutes followed a shock, making the hotel reel and wave.
“The duration was about one minute. My wife said to me, ‘Why, what sort of express train have they got on to-day?’ It broke on to us, upheaving and making the earth undulate, and as it came I said, ‘By Jove! that is a good earthquake.’
“She called out, ‘All the people are rushing out into the garden undressed; shall we go too?’ I said, ‘No, my girl; you and I have been in too many earthquakes to show the white feather at our age.’ ‘All right,’ she answered; and I turned round and went to sleep again.”
From The Romance of Isabel Lady Burton, Vol II, which can be read in full here.