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Caesar's Column by Ignatius Donnelly

Part 5 out of 6

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Jansen,' and yet you appeared in public by the name of 'Christina
Carlson.' Now I refuse to marry you until this thing is explained;
for I may be arrested and charged with bigamy for marrying two women
at once! I am willing to wed 'Christina Jansen'--but what am I to do
with 'Christina Carlson'? I could be "happy with either were t'other
dear charmer away.'"

Christina laughed and blushed and said:

"If you do not behave yourself you shall not have either of the
Christinas. But I will tell you, my dear friend, how that happened.
You must know that in our Sweden, especially in the northern part of
it, where father and mother came from, we are a very primitive
people--far 'behind the age,' you will say. And there we have no
family names, like Brown or Jones or Smith; but each man is simply
the son of his father, and he takes his father's first name. Thus if
'Peter' has a son and he is christened 'Ole,' then he is 'Ole
Peterson,' or Ole the son of Peter; and if his son is called 'John,'
then he is 'John Oleson.' I think, from what I have read in the books
you gave me, Frank, that the same practice prevailed, centuries ago,
in England, and that is how all those English names, such as Johnson,
Jackson, Williamson, etc., came about. But the females of the family,
in Sweden, are called 'daughters' or 'dotters;' and hence, by the
custom of my race, I am 'Christina Carl's Dotter.' And when Mr.
Bingham asked me my name to print on his play bills, that is what I
answered him; but he said 'Christina Carl's Dotter' was no name at
all. It would never do; and so he called me 'Christina Carlson.'
There you have the explanation of the whole matter."

"I declare," said Frank, "this thing grows worse and worse! Why,
there are three of you. I shall have to wed not only 'Christina
Jansen,' and 'Christina Carlson,' but 'Christina Carl's Dotter.' Why,
that would be not only bigamy, but _trigamy!_"

And then Estella came to the rescue, and said that she felt sure that
Max would be glad to have her even if there were a dozen of her.

And Frank, who had become riotous, said to me:

"You see, old fellow, you are about to marry a girl with a pedigree,
and I another without one."

"No," said Christina, "I deny that charge; with us the very name we
bear declares the pedigree. I am 'Christina Carl's Dotter,' and
'Carl' was the son of 'John,' who was the son of 'Frederick,' who was
the son of 'Christian;' and so on for a hundred generations. I have a
long pedigree; and I am very proud of it; and, what is more, they
were all good, honest, virtuous people." And she heightened up a bit.
And then Frank kissed her before us all, and she boxed his ears, and
then dinner was announced.

And what a pleasant dinner it was: the vegetables, crisp and fresh,
were from their own garden; and the butter and milk and cream and
schmearkase from their own dairy; and the fruit from their own trees;
and the mother told us that the pudding was of Christina's own
making; and thereupon Frank ate more of it than was good for him; and
everything was so neat and bright, and everybody so happy; and Frank
vowed that there never was before such luscious, golden butter; and
Mrs. Jansen told us that that was the way they made it in Sweden, and
she proceeded to explain the whole process. The only unhappy person
at the table, it seemed to me, was poor Carl, and he had a wretched
premonition that he was certainly going to drop some of the food on
that brand-new broadcloth suit of his. I feel confident that when we
took our departure he hurried to take off that overwhelming grandeur,
with very much the feeling with which the dying saint shuffles off
the mortal coil, and soars to heaven.

But then, in the midst of it all, there came across me the dreadful
thought of what was to burst upon the world in a few days; and I
could have groaned aloud in anguish of spirit. I felt we were like
silly sheep gamboling on the edge of the volcano. But why not? We had
not brought the world to this pass. Why should we not enjoy the
sunshine, and that glorious light, brighter than all sunshine--the
love of woman? For God alone, who made woman--the true woman--knows
the infinite capacities for good which he has inclosed within her
soul. And I don't believe one bit of that orthodox story. I think Eve
ate the apple to obtain knowledge, and Adam devoured the core because
he was hungry.

And these thoughts, of course, were suggested by my looking at
Estella. She and Christina were in a profound conference; the two
shades of golden hair mingling curiously as they whispered to each
other, and blushed and laughed. And then Estella came over to me, and
smiled and blushed again, and whispered: "Christina is delighted with
the plan."

And then I said to Max, in a dignified, solemn way:

'My dear Max, or Frank, or Arthur, or whatever thy name may be--and
'if thou hast no other name to call thee by I will call thee
devil'--I have observed, with great regret, that thou art very much
afraid of standing up to-morrow and encountering in wedlock's
ceremony the battery of bright eyes of the three Christinas. Now I
realize that a friend should not only 'bear a friend's infirmities,'
but that he should stand by him in the hour of danger; and so
to-morrow, 'when fear comes down upon you like a house,' Estella and
I have concluded to stand with you, in the imminent deadly breach,
and share your fate; and if, when you get through, there are any of
the Christinas left, I will--with Estella's permission--even marry
them myself 'For I am determined that such good material shall not go
to waste.'

There was a general rejoicing, and Max embraced me; and then he
hugged Christina; and then I took advantage of the excuse--I was very
happy in finding such excuses--to do likewise by my stately beauty;
and then there was handshaking by the old folks all around, and
kisses from the little folks.

Not long afterward there was much whispering and laughing between
Christina and Estella; they were in the garden; they seemed to be
reading some paper, which they held between them. And then that
scamp, Max, crept quietly behind them, and, reaching over, snatched
the paper out of their hands. And then Estella looked disturbed, and
glanced at me and blushed; and Max began to dance and laugh, and
cried out, "Ho! ho! we have a poet in the family!" And then I
realized that some verses, which I had given Estella the day before,
had fallen into the hands of that mocker. I would not give much for a
man who does not grow poetical when he is making love. It is to man
what song is to the bird. But to have one's weaknesses exposed--that
is another matter! And so I ran after Max; but in vain. He climbed
into a tree, and then began to recite my love poetry:

"Listen to this," he cried; "here are fourteen verses; each one
begins and ends with the word _'thee.'_ Here's a sample:

"'All thought, all fear, all grief, all earth, all air,
Forgot shall be;
Knit unto each, to each kith, kind and kin,--
Life, like these rhyming verses, shall begin
And end in--_thee!_'

"And here," he cried, "is another long poem. Phœbus! what a
name--_'Artesian Waters!'_

Here Christina, Estella and I pelted the rogue with apples.

"I know why they are called 'Artesian Waters,'" he cried; "it is
because it took a great _bore_ to produce them. Hal ha! But listen to

"'There is a depth at which perpetual springs
Fresh water, in all lands:
The which once reached, the buried torrent flings
Its treasures o'er the sands.'

"Ouch!" he cried, "that one hit me on the nose: I mean the apple, not
the verse.

"'One knows not how, beneath the dark, deep crust,
The clear flood there has come:
One knows not why, amid eternal dust,
Slumbers that sea of foam.'

"Plain enough," he cried, dodging the apples; "the attraction of
gravitation did the business for it.

"'Dark-buried, sepulchred, entombed and deep,
Away from mortal ken,
It lies, till, summoned from its silent sleep,
It leaps to light again.'

"Very good," he said, "and now here comes the application, the moral
of the poem.

"'So shall we find no intellect so dull,
No soul so cold to move,
No heart of self or sinfulness so full,
But still hath power to love.'

"Of course," he said; "he knows how it is himself; the poet fills the
bill exactly.

'It lives immortal, universal all,
The tenant of each breast;
Locked in the silence of unbroken thrall,
And deep and pulseless rest;
Till, at a touch, with burst of power and pride,
Its swollen torrents roll,
Dash all the trappings of the mind aside,
And ride above the soul.'

"Hurrah!" he cried, "that's splendid! But here's some more: _'To

But I could stand no more, and so began to climb the tree. It was an
apple-tree, and not a very big one at that, and Max was forced to
retreat out upon a limb, and then drop to the ground. But the young
ladies were too quick for him; they pounced upon him as he fell; and
very soon my precious verses were hidden in Estella's bosom, whence,
in a burst of confidence and pride, they had been taken to exhibit to

"Yes," said Estella, "it was nothing but mean jealousy, because he
could not write such beautiful poetry to Christina." "Exactly," said
Christina, "and I think I will refuse to marry him until he produces
some verses equally fine."

"Before I would write such poetry as that," said Max, "I would go and
hang myself."

"No man ought to be allowed to marry," said Estella, "until he has
written a poem."

"If you drive Max to that," I said, "other people will hang
themselves rather than hear his verses."

And thus, with laugh and jest and badinage, the glorious hours passed

It was growing late; but we could not go until we had seen the cows
milked, for that was a great event in the household; and "Bossy"
especially was a wonderful cow. Never before in the world had there
been such a cow as "Bossy." The children had tied some ribbons to her
horns, and little Ole was astride of her broad back, his chubby legs
pointing directly to the horizon, and the rest of the juveniles
danced around her; while the gentle and patient animal stood chewing
her cud, with a profound look upon her peaceful face, much like that
of a chief-justice considering "the rule in Shelley's case," or some
other equally solemn and momentous subject.

And I could not help but think how kindly we should feel toward these
good, serviceable ministers to man; for I remembered how many
millions of our race had been nurtured through childhood and maturity
upon their generous largess. I could see, in my imagination, the
great bovine procession, lowing and moving, with their bleating
calves trotting by their side, stretching away backward, farther and
farther, through all the historic period; through all the conquests
and bloody earth-staining battles, and all the sin and suffering of
the race; and far beyond, even into the dim, pre-historic age, when
the Aryan ancestors of all the European nations dwelt together under
the same tents, and the blond-haired maidens took their name of
"daughters" (the very word we now use) from their function of
milkmaidens. And it seemed to me that we should love a creature so
intimately blended with the history of our race, and which had done
so much, indirectly, to give us the foundation on which to build

But we must away; and Carl, glad to do something in scenes in which
he was not much fitted to shine, drove us to the station in his open
spring wagon; Estella, once more the elderly, spectacled maiden, by
my side; and the sunny little Christina beside Max's mother--going to
the station to see us off; while that gentleman, on the front seat,
talked learnedly with Carl about the pedigree of the famous horse
"Lightning," which had just trotted its mile in less than two minutes.

And I thought, as I looked at Carl, how little it takes to make a
happy household; and what a beautiful thing the human race is under
favorable circumstances; and what a wicked and cruel and utterly
abominable thing is the man who could oppress it, and drive it into
the filth of sin and shame.

I will not trouble you, my dear brother, by giving you a detailed
account of the double marriage the next day. The same person married
us both--a Scandinavian preacher, a friend of the Jansen family. I
was not very particular who tied the knot and signed the bill of sale
of Estella, provided I was sure the title was good. But I do think
that the union of man and wife should be something more than a mere
civil contract. Marriage is not a partnership to sell dry
goods--(sometimes, it is true, it is principally an obligation to buy
them)--or to practice medicine or law together; it is, or should be,
an intimate blending of two souls, and natures, and lives; and where
the marriage is happy and perfect there is, undoubtedly, a
growing-together, not only of spirit and character, but even in the
physical appearance of man and wife. Now as these two souls came--we
concede--out of heaven, it seems to me that the ceremony which thus
destroys their individuality, and blends them into one, should have
some touch and color of heaven in it also.

It was a very happy day.

As I look upon it now it seems to me like one of those bright, wide
rays of glorious light which we have sometimes seen bursting through
a rift in the clouds, from the setting sun, and illuminating, for a
brief space of time, the black, perturbed and convulsed sky. One of
our poets has compared it to--

"A dead soldier's sword athwart his pall."

But it faded away, and the storm came down, at last, heavy and dark
and deadly.



A few days after our joint wedding Max came running in one day, and

"It is to be to-morrow."

He gave each of us a red cross to sew upon our clothes. He was very
much excited, and hurried out again.

I had said to him, the morning of our marriage, that I desired to
return home before the outbreak came, for I was now responsible for
Estella's life and safety; and I feared that all communication of one
part of the world with another would be cut off by the threatened
revolution. He had begged me to remain. He said that at the interview
with General Quincy it had been made a condition of the contract that
each of the executive committee--Csar, the vice-president and
himself--should have one of the flying air-ships placed at his
disposal, after the outbreak, well manned and equipped with bombs and
arms of all kinds. These "Demons" were to be subject to their order
at any time, and to be guarded by the troops at their magazine in one
of the suburbs until called for.

The committee had several reasons for making this arrangement: the
outbreak might fail and they would have to fly; or the outbreak might
succeed, but become ungovernable, and they would have to escape from
the tempest they had themselves invoked. Max had always had a dream
that after the Plutocracy was overthrown the insurgents would
reconstruct a purer and better state of society; but of late my
conversations with him, and his own observations, had begun to shake
his faith in this particular.

He said to me that if I remained he would guarantee the safety of
myself and wife, and after I had seen the outbreak he would send me
home in his air-ship; and moreover, if he became satisfied that the
revolution had passed beyond the control of himself and friends, he
would, after rescuing his father from the prison where he was
confined, accompany me with his whole family, and we would settle
down together in my distant mountain home. He had, accordingly,
turned all his large estate into gold and silver, which he had
brought to the house; and I had likewise filled one large room full
of a great library of books, which I had purchased to take with
me--literature, science, art, encyclopedias, histories, philosophies,
in fact all the treasures of the world's genius--together with type,
printing presses, telescopes, phonographs, photographic instruments,
electrical apparatus, eclesions, phemasticons, and all the other
great inventions which the last hundred years have given us. For, I
said to myself, if civilization utterly perishes in the rest of the
world, there, in the mountains of Africa, shut out from attack by
rocks and ice-topped mountains, and the cordon of tropical barbarians
yet surrounding us, we will wait until exhausted and prostrate
mankind is ready to listen to us and will help us reconstruct society
upon a wise and just basis.

In the afternoon Max returned, bringing with him Carl Jansen and all
his family. A dozen men also came, bearing great boxes. They were old
and trusted servants of his father's family; and the boxes contained
magazine rifles and pistols and fixed ammunition, together with
hand-grenades. These were taken out, and we were all armed. Even the
women had pistols, and knives strapped to their girdles. The men went
out and again returned, bearing quantities of food, sufficient to
last us during a siege, and also during our flight to my home. Water
was also collected in kegs and barrels, for the supply might be cut
of. Then Max came, and under his orders, as soon as night fell, the
lower windows, the cellar openings and the front door were covered
with sheathings of thick oak plank, of three thicknesses, strongly
nailed; then the second story windows were similarly protected,
loopholes being first bored, through which our rifles could be
thrust, if necessary. Then the upper windows were also covered in the
same way. The back door was left free for ingress and egress through
the yard and back street, but powerful bars were arranged across it,
and the oak plank left ready to board it up when required. The
hand-grenades--there were a pile of them--were carried up to the flat
roof. Then one of the men went out and painted red crosses on the
doors and windows.

We ate our supper in silence. A feeling of awe was upon all of us.
Every one was told to pack up his goods and valuables and be ready
for instant flight when the word was given; and to each one were
assigned the articles he or she was to carry.

About ten o'clock Max returned and told us all to come up to the
roof. The house stood, as I have already said, upon a corner; it was
in the older part of the city, and not far from where the first great
battle would be fought. Max whispered to me that the blow would be
struck at six o'clock in Europe and at twelve o'clock at night in
America. The fighting therefore had already begun in the Old World.
He further explained to me something of the plan of battle. The
Brotherhood at twelve would barricade a group of streets in which
were the Sub-Treasury of the United States, and all the principal
banks, to wit: Cedar, Pine, Wall, Nassau, William, Pearl and Water
Streets. Two hundred thousand men would be assembled to guard these
barricades. They would then burst open the great moneyed institutions
and blow up the safes with giant powder and Hecla powder. At daybreak
one of Quincy's air-ships would come and receive fifty millions of
the spoils in gold, as their share of the plunder, and the price of
their support. As soon as this was delivered, and carried to their
armory, the whole fleet of air-vessels would come up and attack the
troops of the Oligarchy. If, however, General Quincy should violate
his agreement, and betray them, they had provided a large number of
great cannon, mounted on high wheels, so that they could be fired
vertically, and these were to be loaded with bombs of the most
powerful explosives known to science, and so constructed with
fulminating caps that, if they struck the air-ship at any point, they
would explode and either destroy it or so disarrange its machinery as
to render it useless. Thus they were provided, he thought, for every

At eleven he came to me and whispered that if anything happened to
him he depended on me to take his wife and mother and his father, if
possible, with me to Africa. I grasped his hand and assured him of my
devotion. He then embraced Christina and his mother and left them,
weeping bitterly, in each other's arms.

There was a parapet around the roof. I went to the corner of it, and,
leaning over, looked down into the street. Estella came and stood
beside me. She was very calm and quiet. The magnetic lights yet
burned, and the streets below me were almost as bright as day. There
were comparatively few persons moving about. Here and there a
carriage, or a man on horseback, dashed furiously past, at full
speed; and I thought to myself, "The Oligarchy have heard of the
tremendous outbreak in Europe, and are making preparations for
another here." It was a still, clear night; and the great solemn
stars moved over the face of heaven unconscious or indifferent as to
what was going forward on this clouded little orb.

I thought it must be nearly twelve. I drew out my watch to look at
the time. It lacked one minute of that hour. Another instant, and the
whole city was wrapped in profound darkness. Some of the workmen
about the Magnetic Works were members of the Brotherhood, and, in
pursuance of their orders, they had cut the connections of the works
and blotted out the light.



I looked down into the dark street. I could see nothing; but
immediately a confused buzz and murmur, of motion everywhere, arose
from the depths below me. As it grew louder and clearer I could hear
the march of thousands of feet, moving rapidly; and then a number of
wagons, heavily loaded, creaked and groaned over the pavements. I
surmised that these wagons were loaded with stones, and were to be
used in the construction of the barricades. There was no music, no
shouting, not even the sound of voices; but tramp, tramp, tramp, in
endless multitude, the heavy feet went by; and now and then, where
the light yet streamed out of the window of some house, I could see
the glitter of the steel barrels of rifles; and here and there I
caught a glimpse of men on horseback, officers apparently, but
dressed in the rough garb of workmen. Along the line of the houses
near me, I could see, at opened, lighted windows, an array of pale
faces, looking out with astonishment and terror at this dark and
silent procession, which seemed to have arisen out of the earth, and
was so vast that one might dream that the trumpet of the archangel
had been blown, and all the dead of a thousand battle-fields had
risen up for one last grand review. And not alone past our doors, but
through all the streets near us, the same mighty, voiceless
procession moved on; all converging to the quarter where the
treasures of the great city lay, heaped up in safe and vault.

And then, several blocks away, but within the clear range of my
vision, a light appeared in the street--it blazed--it rose higher and
higher. I could see shadowy figures moving around it, heaping boxes,
barrels and other combustibles upon the flame. It was a bonfire,
kindled to light the work of building a barricade at that point.
Across the street a line of wagons had been placed; the tail of each
one touching the front of another, the horses having been withdrawn.
And then hundreds of busy figures were to be seen at work, tearing up
the pavements of the street and heaping the materials under the
wagons; and then shovels flew, and the earth rose over it all; a deep
ditch being excavated quite across the street, on the side near me.
Then men, lit by the red light, looked, at the distance, like hordes
of busy black insects. Behind them swarmed, as far as I could see,
thousands upon thousands of dark forms, mere masses, touched here and
there by the light of the bonfire, gleaming on glittering steel. They
were the men within the barricades. There was a confused noise in
other quarters, which I supposed was caused by the erection of a
number of similar barricades elsewhere. Then the tramp of the
marching masses past our doors ceased; and for a time the silence was

So far not a soldier or policeman had been visible. The Oligarchy
were evidently carrying out the plan of the Prince of Cabano. They
were permitting the insurgents to construct their "rat-trap" without
interruption. Only a few stragglers were upon the street, drawn there
doubtless by curiosity; and still the pale faces were at the windows;
and some even talked from window to window, and wondered what it all

Suddenly there was a terrific explosion that shook the house. I could
see a shower of stones and brick and timbers and dust, rising like a
smoke, seamed with fire, high in the air, within the lines of the
barricades. Then came another, even louder; then another, and
another, and another, until it sounded like a bombardment. Then these
ceased, and after a little time came the sounds of smaller
explosions, muffled as if under ground or within walls.

"They are blowing open the banks," I whispered to Estella.

Then all was quiet for a space. In a little while the bombardment
began again, as if in another part of the territory inclosed in the

And still there was not a soldier to be seen in the deserted streets
near me.

And again came other explosions.

At last I saw the red light beginning to touch the clouds along the
eastern horizon with its crimson brush. The fateful day was dawning.

And then, in a little while, far away to the north, soft and dull at
first, but swelling gradually into greater volume, a mighty sound
arose; and through it I could hear bursts of splendid melody, rising
and falling and fluttering, like pennons, above the tumult; and I
recognized the notes of that grand old Scotch air, "The Campbells are

It was the defenders of society advancing with the swinging step of
assured triumph.

Oh, it was a splendid sight! In all the bravery of banners, and
uniforms, and shining decorations, and amidst the majestic and
inspiriting outpouring of music, they swept along, the thousands
moving as one. How they did contrast with that gloomy, dark, ragged,
sullen multitude who had preceded them. And with them came, rattling
along, multitudes of those dreadful machine guns--those cataracts of
fire and death--drawn by prancing, well-fed, shining horses. And the
lips of the gunners were set for carnage; for they had received
orders _to take no prisoners!_ The world was to be taught a lesson
to-day--a bloody and an awful lesson. Ah! little did they think how
it would be taught!

In the gray light of the breaking day they came--an endless
multitude. And all the windows were white with waving handkerchiefs,
and the air stormy with huzzas and cries of "God bless you." And at
the head of every column, on exuberant steeds, that seemed as if they
would leap out of their very skins with the mere delight of living,
rode handsome officers, smiling and bowing to the ladies at the
windows;--for was it not simply holiday work to slay the
_canaille_--the insolent _canaille_--the unreasonable dogs--who
demanded some share in the world's delights--who were not willing to
toil and die that others might live and be happy? And the very music
had a revengeful, triumphant ring and sting to it, as if every
instrument cried out: "Ah, we will give it to them!"

But it was splendid! It was the very efflorescence of the art of
war--the culmination of the evolution of destruction--the perfect
flower of ten thousand years of battle and blood.

But I heard one officer cry out to another, as they passed below me:

"What's the matter with the Demons? Why are they not here?"

"I can't say," replied the one spoken to; "but they will be here in
good time."

The grand and mighty stream of men poured on. They halted close to
the high barricade. It was a formidable structure at least fifteen
feet high and many feet in thickness. The gray of dawn had turned
into red, and a pale, clear light spread over all nature. I heard
some sparrows, just awakened, twittering and conversing in a tall
tree near me. They, too, wondered, doubtless, what it all meant, and
talked it over in their own language.

The troops deployed right and left, and soon the insurgent mass was
closely surrounded in every direction and every outlet closed. The
"rat-trap" was set. Where were the rat-killers? I could see many a
neck craned, and many a face lifted up, looking toward the west, for
their terrible allies of the air. But they came not.

There was a dead pause. It was the stillness before the thunder.



Some of the troops advanced toward the barricade. Instantly the long
line of its top bristled with fire; the fire was returned; the rattle
was continuous and terrible, mingled with the rapid, grinding noise
of the machine guns. The sound spread in every direction. The
barricades were all attacked.

Suddenly the noise began to decrease. It was as if some noble orator
had begun to speak in the midst of a tumultuous assembly. Those
nearest him catch his utterances first, and become quiet; the wave of
silence spreads like a great ripple in the water; until at last the
whole audience is as hushed as death. So something--some
extraordinary thing--had arrested the battle; down, down, dropped the
tumult; and at last there were only a few scattering shots to be
heard, here and there; and then these, too, ceased.

I could see the soldiers looking to the west. I swept the sky with my
glass. Yes, something portentous had indeed happened! Instead of the
whole dark flight of thousands of airships for which the soldiers had
been looking, there came, athwart the sky, like a great black bird, a
single Demon.

As it approached it seemed to be signaling some one. Little flags of
different colors were run up and taken down. I turned and looked to
the barricaded district. And there on the top of a very high
building, in its midst, I could see a group of men. They, too, were
raising and lowering little flags. Nearer and nearer swept the great
bird; every eye and many a field-glass in all that great throng were
fastened upon it, with awe-struck interest--the insurgents rejoicing;
the soldiers perplexed. Nearer and nearer it comes.

Now it pauses right over the tall building; it begins to descend,
like a sea-gull about to settle in the waves. Now it is but a short
distance above the roof. I could see against the bright sky the
gossamer traces of a rope ladder, falling down from the ship to the
roof. The men below take hold of it and steady it. A man descends.
Something about him glitters in the rising sun. He is probably an
officer. He reaches the roof. They bow and shake hands. I can see him
wave his hand to those above him. A line of men descend; they
disappear in the building; they reappear; they mount the ladder;
again and again they come and go.

"They are removing the treasure," I explain to our party, gathering
around me.

Then the officer shakes hands again with the men on the roof; they
bow to each other; he reascends the ladder; the air-ship rises in the
air, higher and higher, like an eagle regaining its element; and away
it sails, back into the west.

An age of bribery terminates in one colossal crime of corruption!

I can see the officers gathering in groups and taking counsel
together. They are alarmed. Then they write. They must tell the
Oligarchy of this singular scene, and their suspicions, and put them
on their guard. There is danger in the air. In a moment orderlies
dash down the street in headlong race, bearing dispatches. In a
little while they come back, hurrying, agitated. I took to the north.
I can see a black line across the street. It is a high barricade. It
has been quietly constructed while the fight raged. And beyond, far
as my eyes can penetrate, there are dark masses of armed men.

The orderlies report--there is movement--agitation. I can see the
imperious motions of an officer. I can read the signs. He is saying,
"Back--back--for your lives! Break out through the side streets!"
They rush away; they divide; into every street they turn. Alas! in a
few minutes, like wounded birds, they come trailing back. There is no
outlet. Every street is blockaded, barricaded, and filled with huge
masses of men. _The rat-trap has another rat-trap outside of it!_

The Oligarchy will wait long for those dispatches. They will never
read them this side of eternity. The pear has ripened. The inevitable
has come. The world is about to shake off its masters.

There is dead silence. Why should the military renew the fight in the
midst of the awful doubt that rests upon their souls?

Ah! we will soon know the best or worst; for, far away to the west,
dark, portentous as a thundercloud--spread out like the wings of
mighty armies--moving like a Fate over the bright sky, comes on the
vast array of the Demons.

"Will they be faithful to their bargain?" I ask myself; "or will old
loyalty and faith to their masters rise up in their hearts?"

No, no, it is a rotten age. Corruption sticks faster than love.

On they come! Thousands of them. They swoop, they circle; they pause
above the insurgents. The soldiers rejoice! Ah, no! No bombs fall, a
meteor of death. They separate; they move north, south, east, west;
they are above the streets packed full of the troops of the

May God have mercy on them now! The sight will haunt me to my dying
day. I can see, like a great black rain of gigantic drops, the lines
of the falling bombs against the clear blue sky.

And, oh, my God! what a scene below, in those close-packed streets,
among those gaily dressed multitudes! The dreadful astonishment! The
crash--the bang--the explosions; the uproar, the confusion; and, most
horrible of all, the inevitable, invisible death by the poison.

The line of the barricade is alive with fire. With my glass I can
almost see the dynamite bullets exploding in the soldiers, tearing
them to pieces, like internal volcanoes.

An awful terror is upon them. They surge backward and forward; then
they rush headlong down the streets. The farther barricades open upon
them a hail of death; and the dark shadows above--so well named
Demons--slide slowly after them; and drop, drop, drop, the deadly
missiles fall again among them.

Back they surge. The poison is growing thicker. They scream for
mercy; they throw away their guns; they are panic-stricken. They
break open the doors of houses and hide themselves. But even here the
devilish plan of Prince Cabano is followed out to the very letter.
The triumphant mob pour in through the back yards; and they bayonet
the soldiers under beds, or in closets, or in cellars; or toss them,
alive and shrieking, from windows or roofs, down into the deadly gulf

And still the bombs drop and crash, and drop and crash; and the
barricades are furnaces of living fire. The dead lie in heaps and
layers in the invisible, pernicious poison.

But, lo! the fire slackens; the bombs cease to fall; only now and
then a victim flies out of the houses, cast into death. There is
nothing left to shoot at. The grand army of the Plutocracy is
annihilated; it is not.

"The Demons" moved slowly off. They had earned their money. The
Mamelukes of the Air had turned the tables upon the Sultan. They
retired to their armory, doubtless to divide the fifty millions
equitably between them.

The mob stood still for a few minutes. They could scarcely realize
that they were at last masters of the city. But quickly a full sense
of all that their tremendous victory signified dawned upon them. The
city lay prostrate, chained, waiting to be seized upon.



And then all avenues were open. And like a huge flood, long damned
up, turbulent, turbid, muddy, loaded with wrecks and debris, the
gigantic mass broke loose, full of foam and terror, and flowed in
every direction. A foul and brutal and ravenous multitude it was,
dark with dust and sweat, armed with the weapons of civilization, but
possessing only the instincts of wild beasts.

At first they were under the control of some species of discipline
and moved toward the houses of the condemned, of whom printed
catalogues had been furnished the officers. The shouts, the yells,
the delight were appalling.

Now and then some poor wretch, whose sole offense was that he was
well-dressed, would take fright and start to run, and then, like
hounds after a rabbit, they would follow in full cry; and when he was
caught a hundred men would struggle to strike him, and he would
disappear in a vortex of arms, clubs and bayonets, literally torn to

A sullen roar filled the air as this human cyclone moved onward,
leaving only wrecks behind it. Now it pauses at a house. The captain
consults his catalogue. "This is it," he cries; and doors and windows
give way before the thunderous mob; and then the scenes are terrible.
Men are flung headlong, alive, out of the windows to the ravenous
wretches below; now a dead body comes whirling down; then the
terrified inhabitants fly to the roofs, and are pursued from house to
house and butchered in sight of the delighted spectators. But when
the condemned man--the head of the house--is at last found, hidden
perhaps in some coal-hole or cellar, and is brought up, black with
dust, and wild with terror, his clothes half torn from his back; and
he is thrust forth, out of door or window, into the claws of the wild
beasts, the very heavens ring with acclamations of delight; and happy
is the man who can reach over his fellows and know that he has struck
the victim.

Then up and away for another vengeance. Before them is solitude;
shops and stores and residences are closed and barricaded; in the
distance teams are seen flying and men scurrying to shelter; and
through crevices in shutters the horrified people peer at the mob, as
at an invasion of barbarians.

Behind them are dust, confusion, dead bodies, hammered and beaten out
of all semblance of humanity; and, worse than all, the criminal
classes--that wretched and inexplicable residuum, who have no
grievance against the world except their own existence--the base, the
cowardly, the cruel, the sneaking, the inhuman, the horrible! These
flock like jackals in the track of the lions. They rob the dead
bodies; they break into houses; they kill if they are resisted; they
fill their pockets. Their joy is unbounded. Elysium has descended
upon earth for them this day. Pickpockets, sneak-thieves,
confidence-men, burglars, robbers, assassins, the refuse and
outpouring of grog-shops and brothels, all are here. And women,
too--or creatures that pass for such--having the bodies of women and
the habits of ruffians;--harpies--all claws and teeth and
greed--bold--desperate--shameless--incapable of good. They, too, are
here. They dart hither and thither; they swarm--they dance--they
howl--they chatter--they quarrel and battle, like carrion-vultures,
over the spoils.

Civilization is gone, and all the devils are loose! No more courts,
nor judges, nor constables, nor prisons! That which it took the world
ten thousand years to create has gone in an hour.

And still the thunderous cyclones move on through a hundred streets.
Occasionally a house is fired; but this is not part of the programme,
for they have decided to keep all these fine residences for
themselves! They will be rich. They will do no more work. The rich
man's daughters shall be their handmaidens; they will wear his purple
and fine linen.

But now and then the flames rise up--perhaps a thief kindles the
blaze--and it burns and burns; for who would leave the glorious work
to put it out? It burns until the streets stop it and the block is
consumed. Fortunately, or unfortunately, there is no wind to breed a
general conflagration. The storms to-day are all on earth; and the
powers of the air are looking down with hushed breath, horrified at
the exceeding wickedness of the little crawlers on the planet we call

They do not, as a rule, steal. Revenge--revenge--is all their
thought. And why should they steal? Is it not all their own? Now and
then a too audacious thief is caught and stuck full of bayonets; or
he is flung out of a window, and dies at the hands of the mob the
death of the honest man for whom he is mistaken; and thus, by a
horrible travesty of fate, he perishes for that which he never was
nor could be.

Think of the disgust of a thief who finds himself being murdered for
an honest man, an aristocrat, and can get no one to believe his
asseverations that he is simply and truly a thief--and nothing more!
It is enough to make Death grin!

The rude and begrimed insurgents are raised by their terrible
purposes to a certain dignity. They are the avengers of time--the
God-sent--the righters of the world's wrongs--the punishers of the
ineffably wicked. They do not mean to destroy the world; they will
reform it--redeem it. They will make it a world where there shall be
neither toil nor oppression. But, poor fellows! their arms are more
potent for evil than their brains for good. They are omnipotent to
destroy; they are powerless to create.

But still the work of ruin and slaughter goes on. The mighty city,
with its ten million inhabitants, lies prostrate, chained, helpless,
at the mercy of the enraged _canaille_. The dogs have become lions.

The people cannot comprehend it. They look around for their
defenders--the police, the soldiery. "Where are they? Will not this
dreadful nightmare pass away?" No; no; never--never. This is the
culmination--this is the climax--"the century's aloe flowers to-day."
These are "the grapes of wrath" which God has stored up for the day
of his vengeance; and now he is trampling them out, and this is the
red juice--look you!--that flows so thick and fast in the very

You were blind, you were callous, you were indifferent to the sorrows
of your kind. The cry of the poor did not touch you, and every
pitiful appeal wrung from human souls, every groan and sob and shriek
of men and women, and the little starving children--starving in body
and starving in brain--rose up and gathered like a great cloud around
the throne of God; and now, at last, in the fullness of time, it has
burst and comes down upon your wretched heads, a storm of
thunderbolts and blood.

You had money, you had power, you had leisure, you had intelligence,
you possessed the earth; all things were possible unto you. Did you
say to one another: "These poor souls are our brethren. For them
Christ died on Calvary. What can we do to make their lives bright and
happy?" No; no; you cried out, "'On with the dance!' Let them go down
into the bottomless pit!"

And you smiled and said to one another, in the words of the first
murderer, when he lied to God: "Am I my brother's keeper?" Nay, you
said further to one another, "There is no God!" For you thought, if
there was one, surely He would not permit the injustice manifest in
the world. But, lo! He is here. Did you think to escape him? Did you
think the great Father of Cause and Effect--the All-knowing, the
universe-building God,--would pass you by?

As you sowed, so must you reap. Evil has but one child--Death! For
hundreds of years you have nursed and nurtured Evil. Do you complain
if her monstrous progeny is here now, with sword and torch? What else
did you expect? Did you think she would breed angels?

Your ancestors, more than two centuries ago, established and
permitted Slavery. What was the cry of the bondman to them? What the
sobs of the mother torn from her child--the wife from her husband--on
the auction block? Who among them cared for the lacerated bodies, the
shameful and hopeless lives? They were merry; they sang and they
danced; and they said, "Gods sleeps."

But a day came when there was a corpse at every fireside. And not the
corpse of the black stranger--the African--the slave;--but the
corpses of fair, bright-faced men; their cultured, their manly, their
noble, their best-loved. And, North and South, they sat, rocking
themselves to and fro, in the midst of the shards and ashes of
desolation, crying aloud for the lives that would come back to bless
them never, nevermore.

God wipes out injustice with suffering; wrong with blood; sin with
death. You can no more get beyond the reach of His hand than you can
escape from the planet.



But it was when the mob reached the wealthier parts of the city that
the horrors of the devastation really began. Here almost every grand
house was the abode of one of the condemned. True, many of them had
fled. But the cunning cripple--the vice-president--had provided for
this too. At the railroad stations, at the bridges and ferries, even
on the yachts of the princes, men were stationed who would recognize
and seize them; and if they even escaped the dangers of the suburbs,
and reached the country, there they found armed bands of desperate
peasants, ranging about, slaying every one who did not bear on his
face and person the traces of the same wretchedness which they
themselves had so long endured. Nearly every rich man had, in his own
household and among his own servants, some bitter foe, who hated him,
and who had waited for this terrible day and followed him to the

The Prince of Cabano, through his innumerable spies, had early
received word of the turn affairs had taken. He had hurriedly filled
a large satchel with diamonds and other jewels of great value, and,
slinging it over his shoulders, and arming himself with sword, knife
and pistols, he had called Frederika to him (he had really some
little love for his handsome concubine), and loading her pockets and
his own with gold pieces, and taking her by the hand, he had fled in
great terror to the river side. His fine yacht lay off in the stream.
He called and shouted until he was hoarse, but no one replied from
the vessel. He looked around. The wharves were deserted; the few
boats visible were chained and padlocked to their iron rings. The
master of many servants was helpless. He shouted, screamed, tore his
hair, stamped and swore viciously. The man who had coolly doomed ten
million human beings to death was horribly afraid he would have to
die himself. He ran back, still clinging to Frederika, to hide in the
thick shrubbery of his own garden; there, perhaps, he might find a
faithful servant who would get him a boat and take him off to the
yacht in safety.

But then, like the advancing thunder of a hurricane, when it champs
the earth and tears the trees to pieces with its teeth, came on the
awful mob.

Now it is at his gates. He buries himself and companion in a thick
grove of cedars, and they crouch to the very ground. Oh, how humble
is the lord of millions! How all the endowments of the world fall off
from a man in his last extremity! He shivers, he trembles--yea, he
prays! Through his bloodshot eyes he catches some glimpses of a
God--of a merciful God who loves _all_ his creatures. Even Frederika,
though she has neither love nor respect for him, pities him, as the
bloated mass lies shivering beside her. Can this be the same lordly
gentleman, every hair of whose mustache bespoke empire and dominion,
who a few days since plotted the abasement of mankind?

But, hark! the awful tumult. The crashing of glass, the breaking of
furniture, the beating in of doors with axes; the _canaille_ have
taken possession of the palace. They are looking for him everywhere.
They find him not.

Out into the grounds and garden; here, there, everywhere, they turn
and wind and quarter, like bloodhounds that have lost the scent.

And then the Prince hears, quite near him, the piping voice of a
little ragged boy--a bare-footed urchin--saying: "They came back from
the river; they went in here.---(He is one of the cripple's spies,
set upon him to watch him.)---This way, this way!" And the next
instant, like a charge of wild cattle, the mob bursts through the
cedars, led by a gigantic and ferocious figure, black with dust and
mantled with blood--the blood of others.

The Prince rose from his lair as the yell of the pursuers told he was
discovered; he turned as if to run; his trembling legs failed him;
his eyes glared wildly; he tried to draw a weapon, but his hand shook
so it was in vain. The next instant there was a crack of a pistol in
the hands of one of the mob. The ball struck the Prince in the back
of the neck, even in the same spot where, a century before, the
avenging bullet smote the assassin of the good President Lincoln.
With a terrible shriek he fell down, and moaned in the most exquisite
torture. His suffering was so great that, coward as he was, he cried
out: "Kill me! kill me!" A workman, stirred by a human sentiment,
stepped forward and pointed his pistol, but the cripple struck the
weapon up.

"No, no," he said; "let him suffer for a few hours something of the
misery he and his have inflicted on mankind during centuries. A
thousand years of torture would not balance the account. The wound is
mortal--his body is now paralyzed--only the sense of pain remains.
The damned in hell do not suffer more. Come away."

But Csar had seen a prize worth pursuing. Frederika had risen, and
when the Prince was shot she fled. Csar pursued her, crashing
through the shrubbery like an enraged mammoth; and soon the cripple
laughed one of his dreadful laughs--for he saw the giant returning,
dragging the fair girl after him, by the hair of her head, as we have
seen, in the pictures, ogres hauling off captured children to

And still the Prince lay upon his back; and still he shrieked and
moaned and screamed in agony, and begged for death.

An hour passed, and there was dead silence save for his cries; the
mob had swept off to new scenes of slaughter.

The Prince heard the crackling of a stick, and then a stealthy step.
A thief, hunting for plunder, was approaching. The Prince, by great
effort, hushed his outcries.

"Come here," said he, as the pale, mean face peered at him curiously
through the shrubbery. "Come nearer."

The thief stood close to him.

"Would you kill a man for a hundred thousand dollars?" asked the

The thief grinned, and nodded his head; it signified that he would
commit murder for the hundred thousandth part of that sum.

"I am mortally wounded and in dreadful pain," growled the Prince, the
suppressed sobs interrupting his speech. "If I tell you where you can
find a hundred thousand dollars, will you drive my knife through my

"Yes," said the thief.

"Then take the knife," he said.

The thief did so, eying {sic} it rapaciously--for it was
diamond-studded and gold-mounted.

"But," said the Prince--villain himself and anticipating all villainy
in others,--"if I tell you where the money is you will run away to
seek it, and leave me here to die a slow and agonizing death."

"No," said the thief; "I promise you on my honor."

A thief's honor!

"I tell you what you must do," said the Prince, after thinking a
moment. "Kneel down and lean over me; put your arms around me; I
cannot hold you with my hands, for they are paralyzed; but put the
lapel of your coat between my teeth. I will then tell you where the
treasure is; but I will hold on to you by my teeth until you kill me.
You will have to slay me to escape from me.

The thief did as he was directed; his arms were around the Prince;
the lapel of his coat was between the Prince's teeth; and then
through his shut teeth, tight clenched on the coat, the Prince

"It is in the satchel beneath me."

Without a word the thief raised his right hand and drove the knife
sidewise clear through the Prince's heart.

The last of the accumulations of generations of wrong and robbery and
extortion and cruelty had sufficed to purchase their heritor a
miserable death,--in the embrace of a thief!



About two o'clock that day Maximilian returned home. He was covered
with dust and powder-smoke, but there was no blood upon him. I did
not see him return; but when I entered the drawing-room I started
back. There was a stranger present. I could not long doubt as to who
he was. He was locked in the arms of Max's mother. He was a pitiful
sight. A tall, gaunt man; his short hair and stubby beard white as
snow. He was prematurely aged--his back was stooped--his pallid
complexion reminded one of plants grown in cellars; he had a
dejected, timorous look, like one who had long been at the mercy of
brutal masters; his hands were seamed and calloused with hard work;
he was without a coat, and his nether garments had curious,
tiger-like stripes upon them. He was sobbing like a child in the arms
of his wife. He seemed very weak in body and mind. Maximilian gave
him a chair, and his mother sat down by him, weeping bitterly, and
holding the poor calloused hands in her own, and patting them gently,
while she murmured words of comfort and rejoicing. The poor man
looked bewildered, as if he could not quite collect his faculties;
and occasionally he would glance anxiously at the door, as if he
expected that, at any moment, his brutal masters would enter and take
him back to his tasks.

"Gabriel," said Maximilian,--and his face was flushed and
working,--"this is--or was--my father."

I took the poor hand in my own and kissed it, and spoke encouragingly
to him. And this, I thought, was once a wealthy, handsome, portly,
learned gentleman; a scholar and a philanthropist; and his only crime
was that he loved his fellow-men! And upon how many such men have the
prison doors of the world closed--never to open again?

They took him away to the bath; they fed him; they put upon him the
clothes of a gentleman. He smiled in a childish way, and smoothed the
fine cloth with his hands; and then he seemed to realize, for the
first time, that he was, indeed, no longer a prisoner--that his
jailers had gone out of his life forever.

"I must go now," said Maximilian, hurriedly; "I will be back this
evening. I have a duty to perform."

He returned at nightfall. There was a terrible light in his eyes.

"I have avenged my father," he said to me, in a hoarse whisper. "Come
this way."

He took me into the library, for he would not have the women hear the
dreadful story. I shut the door. He said:

"I had made all the necessary arrangements to prevent the escape of
the Count and his accomplices. I knew that he would fly, at the first
alarm, to his yacht, which lies out in the harbor. He had ruined my
father by bribery; so I brought his own instrument to bear upon him,
and bribed, with a large sum, his confidential friend, who was in
command of his vessel, to deliver him up to me. As I had anticipated,
the cunning wretch fled to the yacht; they took him on board. Then
they made him prisoner. He was shackled and chained to the mast. He
begged for his life and liberty. He had brought a fortune with him in
gold and jewels. He offered the whole of it to his _friend_, as a
bribe, for he surmised what was coming. The faithful officer replied,
as I had instructed him, that the Count could not offer that
treasure, for he himself had already appropriated it to his own
purposes. The miscreant had always had a lively sense of the power of
money for evil; he saw it now in a new light--for he was penniless.
After taking my father from the prison and bringing him home, I
arranged as to the other prisoners and then went to the yacht. I
introduced myself to the Count. I told him that I had deceived his
spies--that I had led a double life; that I had joined the
Brotherhood and had become one of its leading spirits, with but two
objects:--to punish him and his villainous associates and to rescue
my father. That, as they had destroyed my father for money, the same
instruments should now destroy him, through fear. That they were all
prisoners, and should die together a fearful death; but if they had a
hundred lives they could not atone for the suffering they had caused
one good and great-hearted man. They had compelled him, for years, to
work in the society of the basest of his species--at work too hard
for even a young and strong man; they had separated him from his
family; they had starved his mind and heart and body; they had beaten
and scourged him for the slightest offenses. He had suffered a
thousand deaths. It would be no equivalent to simply kill them. They
should die in prolonged agony. And as he--the Count--had always gone
upon the principle that it was right to work upon the weaknesses of
others to accomplish his purposes, I should imitate him. I should not
touch him myself.

"I then ordered the captain and his men to put him in the boat and
carry him ashore.

"He begged and pleaded and abased himself; he entreated and shrieked;
but he addressed hearts as hard as his own.

"On the river-bank were a body of my men. In the midst of them they
had the other prisoners--the corrupt judge, eight of the
jurymen--four had died since the trial--and the four lying witnesses.
They were all shackled together. A notary public was present, and
they signed and acknowledged their confessions, that they had been
bribed to swear against my father and convict him; and they even
acknowledged, in their terror, the precise sums which they had
received for their dreadful acts.

"'Spare me! spare me!' shrieked the Count, groveling on the ground;
'only part of that money came from me. I was but the instrument of
the government. I was commanded to do as I did.'

"'The others have already gone to their account,' I replied, 'every
man of them. You will overtake them in a little while.'

"I ordered the prisoners to chain him to a stout post which stood in
the middle of one of the wharves. They were unshackled and did so
with alacrity; my men standing around ready to shoot them down if
they attempted to fly. The Count writhed and shrieked for help, but
in a little while he was securely fastened to the post. There was a
ship loaded with lumber lying beside the next wharf. I ordered them
to bring the lumber; they quickly piled it up in great walls around
him, within about ten feet of him; and then more and more was heaped
around these walls. The Count began to realize the death that awaited
him, and his screams were appalling. But I said to him:

"'O Count, be calm. This is not as bad as a sentence of twenty years
in the penitentiary for an honest and innocent man. And, remember, my
dear Count, how you have enjoyed yourself all these years, while my
poor father has been toiling in prison in a striped suit. Think of
the roast beef you have eaten and the wine you have consumed! And,
moreover, the death you are about to die, my dear Count, was once
fashionable and popular in the world; and many a good and holy man
went up to heaven from just such a death-bed as you shall have-a
death-bed of fire and ashes. And see, my good Count, how willingly
these honest men, whom you hired, with your damnable money, to
destroy my father--see how willingly they work to prepare your
funeral pile! What a supple and pliant thing, O Count, is human
baseness. It has but one defect--it may be turned upon ourselves! And
then, O my dear Count, it shocks us and hurts our feelings. But say
your prayers, Count, say your prayers. Call upon God, for He is the
only one likely to listen to you now.'

"'Here,' I said to the judge, 'put a match to the pile.'

"The miserable wretch, trembling and hoping to save his own life by
his superserviceable zeal, got down upon his knees, and lighted a
match, and puffed and blew to make the fire catch. At last it started
briskly, and in a few minutes the Count was screaming in the center
of a roaring furnace.

"I gave a preconcerted signal to my men. In the twinkling of an eye
each of the prisoners was manacled hand and foot, shrieking and
roaring for mercy.

"'It was a splendid joke, gentlemen,' I said to them, 'that you
played on my father. To send that good man to prison, and to go home
with the price of his honor and his liberty jingling in your pockets.
It was a capital joke; and you will now feel the finest point of the
witticism. In with them!'

"And high above the walls of fire they were thrown, and the briber
and the bribed--the villain and his instruments--all perished howling

I listened, awestruck, to the terrible story. There was a light in
Max's eyes which showed that long brooding over the wrongs of his
father and the sight of his emaciated and wretched form had "worked
like madness in his brain," until he was, as I had feared, a
monomaniac, with but one idea--revenge.

"Max, dear Max." I said, "for Heaven's sake never let Christina or
your mother hear that dreadful story. It was a madman's act! Never
think of it again. You have wiped out the crime in blood; there let
it end. And leave these awful scenes, or you will become a maniac."

He did not answer me for a time, but looked down thoughtfully; and
then he glanced at me, furtively, and said:

"Is not revenge right? Is it not simply justice?"

"Perhaps so, in some sense," I replied; "and if you had killed those
base wretches with your own hand the world could not have much blamed
you. Remember, however, 'Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I
will repay.' But to send them out of life by such dreadful tortures!
It is too terrible."

"But death," he said, "is nothing; it is the mere end of
life--perhaps of consciousness; and that is no atonement for years of
suffering, every day of which was full of more agony than death
itself can wring from the human heart."

"I will not argue with you, Max," I replied, "for you are wrong, and
I love you; but do you not see, when a heart, the kindest in the
world, could conceive and execute such a terrible revenge, that the
condition of the mind is abnormal? But let us change the gloomy
subject. The dreadful time has put 'tricks of desperation' in your
brain. And it is not the least of the crimes of the Oligarchy that it
could thus pervert honest and gentle natures, and turn them into
savages. And that is what it has done with millions. It has fought
against goodness, and developed wickedness."



"What other news have you?" I asked.

"The strangest you ever heard," replied Max.

"What is it?"

"Csar," said Max, "has fallen upon a scheme of the most frenzied and
extraordinary kind."

"Are the members of the Executive Committee all going crazy
together?" I asked.

"Surely," replied Max, "the terrible events we are passing through
would be our excuse if we did. But you shall hear. After I had
avenged my father I proceeded to find Csar. I heard from members of
the Brotherhood, whom I met on the streets, that he was at Prince
Cabano's palace. I hurried there, as it was necessary I should confer
with him on some matters. A crowd had reassembled around the
building, which had become in some sort a headquarters; and, in fact,
Csar has confiscated it to his own uses, and intends to keep it as
his home hereafter. I found him in the council-chamber. You never saw
such a sight. He was so black with dust and blood that he looked like
a negro. He was hatless, and his mat of hair rose like a wild beast's
mane. He had been drinking; his eyes were wild and rolling; the great
sword he held in his right hand was caked with blood to the hilt. He
was in a fearful state of excitement, and roared when he spoke. A
king-devil, come fresh out of hell, could scarcely have looked more
terrible. Behind him in one corner, crouching and crying together,
were a bevy of young and handsome women. The Sultan had been
collecting his harem. When he caught sight of me he rushed forward
and seized my hand, and shouted out:

"'Hurrah, old fellow! This is better than raising potatoes on the
Saskatchewan, or hiding among the niggers in Louis--hic--iana. Down
with the Oligarchy. To hell with them. Hurrah! This is my palace. I
am a king! Look-a-there,' he said, with a roll and a leer, pointing
over his shoulder at the shrinking and terrified women; 'ain't they
beauties,--hic--all mine--every one of 'em.'

"Here one of his principal officers came up, and the following
dialogue occurred:

"'I came, General, to ask you what we are to do with the dead.'

"'Kill 'em,' roared Csar, 'kill 'em, d--n 'em.'

"'But, General, they are dead already,' replied the officer who was a
steady fellow and perfectly sober.

"Well, what's the matter with 'em, then?' replied Csar. 'Come, come,
Bill, if they're dead, that's the end of them. Take a drink,' and he
turned, unsteadily, toward the council-table, on which stood several
bottles and demijohns.

"'But some of us have talked it over,' said the officer. 'A number of
the streets are impassable already with the dead. There must be a
quarter of a million of soldiers and citizens lying about, and the
number is being added to every minute. The weather is warm, and they
will soon breed a pestilence that will revenge them on their slayers.
Those killed by the poison are beginning to smell already. We
couldn't take any action without your authority, and so I came to ask
you for your orders.'

"'Burn 'em up,' said Csar.

"'We can't,' said the man; 'we would have to burn up the city to
destroy them in that way; there are too many of them; and it would be
an immense task to bury them.'

"'Heap 'em all up in one big pile,' said Csar.

"'That wouldn't do--the smell they would make in decaying would be
unbearable, to say nothing of the sickness they would create.'

"Csar was standing unsteadily, looking at us with lackluster eyes.
Suddenly an idea seemed to dawn in his monstrous head--an idea as
monstrous and uncouth as the head itself. His eyes lighted up.

"'I have it!' he shouted. 'By G-d, I have it! Make a pyramid of them,
and pour cement over them, and let it stand forever as a monument of
this day's glorious work! Hoorrah!"

"'That's a pretty good idea,' said the officer, and the others
present, courtier-like--for King Csar already has his
courtiers--applauded the idea vociferously.

"'We'll have a monument that shall last while the earth stands,'
cried Csar. 'And, hold on, Bill,' he continued, 'you shall build
it;--and--I say--we won't make a pyramid of it--it shall be a
column--_Csar's Column_--by G-d. It shall reach to the skies! And if
there aren't enough dead to build it of, why, we'll kill some more;
we've got plenty to kill. Old Thingumbob, who used to live here--in
my palace--said he would kill ten million of us to-day. But he
didn't. Not much! Max's friend--that d---d long-legged fellow, from
Africa--he dished him, for he told old Quincy all about it. And now
I've got old Thingumbob's best girl in the corner yonder. Oh, it's
jolly. But build the column, Bill--build it high and strong. I
remember--hic--how they used to build houses on the Saskatchewan,
when I was grubbing for potatoes there. They had a board frame the
length of a wall, and three or four feet high. They would throw in
stones, bowlders, pebbles, dirt, anything, and, when it was full,
they would pour cement over it all; and when it hardened--hic--which
it did in a few minutes, they lifted up the frame and made another
course. I say, Bill, that's the way you must build Csar's column.
And get Charley Carpenter to help you; he's an engineer. And, hold
on, Bill, put a lot of dynamite--Jim has just told me they had found
tons of it--put a lot of dynamite--hic--in the middle of it, and if
they try to tear down my monument, it will blow them to the d---l.
And, I say, Max, that long-legged, preaching son-of-thunder--that
friend of yours--he must write an inscription for it. Do you hear?
He's the man to do it. Something fine. By G-d, we will build a
monument that will beat the pyramids of all the other Caesars.
Csar's Column! Hoorrah!'

"And the great brute fairly jumped and danced with delight over his
extraordinary conception.

"Bill hurried out. They have sixty thousand prisoners--men who had
not been among the condemned--but merchants, professional men, etc.
They were debating, when I came up, whether they would kill them, but
I suggested that they be set to work on the construction of Csar's
Column, and if they worked well, that their lives be spared. This was
agreed to. They are now building the monument on Union Square.
Thousands of wagons are at work bringing in the dead. Other wagons
are hauling cement, sand, etc. Bill and his friend Carpenter are at
work. They have constructed great wooden boxes, about forty feet from
front to rear, about four feet high and fifty feet long. The dead are
to be laid in rows--the feet of the one row of men near the center of
the monument, and the feet of the next row touching the heads of the
first, and so on. In the middle of the column there is to be a
cavity, about five feet square, running from the top to the bottom of
the monument, in which the dynamite is to be placed; while wires will
lead out from it among the bodies, so arranged, with fulminating
charges, that any attempt to destroy the monument or remove the
bodies will inevitably result in a dreadful explosion. But we will go
up after dinner and look at the work," he said, "for they are to
labor night and day until it is finished. The members of the
Brotherhood have entered with great spirit into the idea of such a
monument, as a symbol and memorial of their own glory and triumph."

"I remember," said I, "reading somewhere that, some centuries ago, an
army of white men invaded one of the Barbary states. They were
defeated by the natives, and were every one slain. The Moors took
their bodies and piled them up in a great monument, and there the
white bones and grinning skulls remain to this day, a pyramid of
skeletons; a ghastly warning to others who might think to make a like
attempt at invasion of the country. Csar must have read of that
terrible trophy of victory."

"Perhaps so," said Maximilian; "but the idea may have been original
with him; for there is no telling what such a monstrous brain as his,
fired by whisky and battle, might or might not produce."

At dinner poor Mr. Phillips was looking somewhat better. He had a
great many questions to ask his son about the insurrection.

"Arthur," he said, "if the bad man and his accomplices, who so
cruelly used me, should be made prisoners, I beg you, as a favor to
me, not to punish them. Leave them to God and their own consciences."

"I shall," said Max, quietly.

Mrs. Phillips heartily approved of this sentiment. I looked down at
my plate, but before my eyes there came a dreadful picture of that
fortress of flame, with the chained man in the midst, and high above
it I could see, swung through the air by powerful arms, manacled
figures, who descended, shrieking, into the vortex of fire.

After many injunctions to his guards, to look well after the house,
Max and I, well armed and wearing our red crosses, and accompanied by
two of our most trusted men, sallied forth through the back gate.

What a scene! Chaos; had come. There were no cars or carriages.
Thieves and murderers were around us; scenes of rapine and death on
every hand. We moved together in a body; our magazine rifles ready
for instant use.

Our red crosses protected us from the members of the Brotherhood; and
the thieves gave our guns a wide berth. At a street crossing we
encountered a wagon-load of dead bodies; they were being hauled to
the monument. The driver, one of the Brotherhood, recognized Max, and
invited us to seats beside him. Familiarity makes death as natural as
life. We accepted his offer--one of our men sitting on the tailboard
of the wagon; and in this gory chariot we rode slowly through
Broadway, deserted now by everything but crime. The shops had all
been broken open; dead bodies lay here and there; and occasionally a
burned block lifted its black arms appealingly to heaven. As we drew
near to Union Square a wonderful sight--such as the world had never
before beheld--expanded before us. Great blazing bonfires lighted the
work; hundreds of thousands had gathered to behold the ghastly
structure, the report of which had already spread everywhere. These
men nearly all belonged to the Brotherhood, or were members of the
lower orders, who felt that they had nothing to fear from
insurrection. There were many women among them, and not a few
thieves, who, drawn by curiosity, for awhile forgot their
opportunities and their instincts. Within the great outer circle of
dark and passionate and exultant faces, there was another assemblage
of a very different appearance. These were the prisoners at work upon
the monument. Many of them were gray-haired; some were bloody from
wounds upon their heads or bodies; they were all pale and terrified;
not a few were in rags, or half naked, their clothes having been
literally torn from their backs. They were dejected, and yet moved
with alacrity, in fear of the whips or clubs in the hands of their
masters, who passed among them, filling the air with oaths. Max
pointed out to me prominent merchants, lawyers and clergymen. They
were all dazed-looking, like men after a terrific earthquake, who had
lost confidence in the stability of everything. It was Anarchy
personified:--the men of intellect were doing the work; the men of
muscle were giving the orders. The under-rail had come on top. It
reminded me of Swift's story of the country where the men were
servants to the horses.

The wagons rolled up, half a dozen at a time, and dumped their
dreadful burdens on the stones, with no more respect or ceremony than
if they had been cord-wood. Then the poor trembling prisoners seized
them by the head and feet, and carried them to other prisoners, who
stood inside the boxes, and who arranged them like double lines from
a central point:--it was the many-rayed sun of death that had set
upon civilization. Then, when the box was full and closely packed,
they poured the liquid cement, which had been mixed close at hand,
over them. It hardened at once, and the dead were entombed forever.
Then the box was lifted and the work of sepulture went on.

While I stood watching the scene I heard a thrilling, ear-piercing
shriek--a dreadful cry! A young man, who was helping to carry a
corpse, let go his hold and fell down on the pavement. I went over to
him. He was writhing and moaning. He had observed something familiar
about the form he was bearing--it was the body of a woman. He had
peered through the disheveled hair at the poor, agonized,
blood-stained features, and recognized--_his wife!_

One of the guards raised his whip to strike him, and shouted:

"Here! Get up! None of this humbugging."

"I caught the ruffian's arm. The poor wretch was embracing the dead
body, and moaning pitiful expressions of love and tenderness into the
ears that would never hear him more. The ruffian threatened me. But
the mob was moved to mercy, and took my part; and even permitted the
poor creature to carry off his dead in his arms, out into the outer
darkness. God only knows where he could have borne it.

I grew sick at heart. The whole scene was awful.

I advanced toward the column. It was already several feet high, and
ladders were being made, up which the dead might be borne. Coffee and
bread and meat were served out to the workers.

I noticed a sneaking, ruffianly fellow, going about among the
prisoners, peering into every face. Not far from me a ragged,
hatless, gray-haired man, of over seventy, was helping another,
equally old, to bear a heavy body to the ladders. The ruffian looked
first into the face of the man at the feet of the corpse; then he
came to the man at the head. He uttered an exclamation of delight.

"Ha! you old scoundrel," he cried, drawing his pistol. "So I've found
you. You're the man that turned my sick wife out of your house,
because she couldn't pay the rent. I've got you now."

The old man fell on his knees, and held up his hands, and begged for
mercy. I heard an explosion--a red spot suddenly appeared on his
forehead, and he fell forward, over the corpse he had been

"Come! move lively!" cried one of the guards, snapping his whip;
"carry them both to the workmen."

I grew dizzy. Maximilian came up.

"How pale you are," he said.

"Take me away!" I exclaimed, "or I shall faint."

We rode back in another chariot of revolution--a death-cart.



It was a dreadful night. Crowds of farmers from the surrounding
country kept pouring into the city. They were no longer the honest
yeomanry who had filled, in the old time, the armies of Washington,
and Jackson, and Grant, and Sherman, with brave patriotic soldiers;
but their brutalized descendants--fierce serfs--cruel and
bloodthirsty peasants. Every man who owned anything was their enemy
and their victim. They invaded the houses of friend and foe alike,
and murdered men, women and children. Plunder! plunder! They had no
other thought.

One of our men came to me at midnight, and said:

"Do you hear those shrieks?"

"Yes," I replied.

"They are murdering the family next door."

These were pleasant, kindly people, who had never harmed any one. But
this maelstrm swallows good and bad alike.

Another came running to me, and cried:

"They are attacking the house!"

"Where?" I asked.

"At the front door."

"Throw over a hand-grenade," I said.

There was a loud crash, and a scurrying of flying feet. The cowardly
miscreants had fled. They were murderers, not warriors.

All night long the awful Bedlam raged. The dark streets swarmed.
Three times we had to have recourse to the hand-grenades. Fires
sprang up all over the city, licking the darkness with their hideous
tongues of flame, and revealing by their crimson glare the awful
sights of that unparalleled time. The dread came upon me: What if
some wretch should fire a house in our block? How should we choose
between the conflagration and those terrible streets? Would it not be
better to be ashes and cinders, than to fall into the hands of that
demoniacal mob?

No one slept. Max sat apart and thought. Was he considering--too
late!--whether it was right to have helped produce this terrible
catastrophe? Early in the morning, accompanied by three of his men,
he went out.

We ate breakfast in silence. It seemed to me we had no right to eat
in the midst of so much death and destruction.

There was an alarm, and the firing of guns above us. Some miscreants
had tried to reach the roof of our house from the adjoining
buildings. We rushed up. A lively fusillade followed. Our magazine
rifles and hand-grenades were too much for them; some fell dead and
the rest beat a hasty retreat. They were peasants, searching for

After awhile there came a loud rapping at the front door. I leaned
over the parapet and asked who was there. A Tough-looking man replied:

"I have a letter for you."

Fearing some trick, to break into the house, I lowered a long cord
and told him to tie the letter to it. He did so. I pulled up a large
sheet of dirty wrapping-paper. There were some lines scrawled upon
it, in lead-pencil, in the large hand of a schoolboy--almost
undecipherable. With some study I made out these words:

MISTER GABRIEL, MAX'S FRIEND: Csar wants that thing to put
on the front of the column.


It took me a few minutes to understand it. At last I realized that
Csar's officer--Bill--had sent for the inscription for the monument,
about which Csar had spoken to Max.

I called down to the messenger to wait, and that I would give it to

I sat down, and, after some thought, wrote, on the back of the
wrapping-paper, these words:


It is composed of the bodies of a quarter of a million of
human beings, who were once the rulers, or the instruments
of the rulers, of this mighty, but, alas! this ruined city.

They were dominated by leaders who were altogether evil.

They corrupted the courts, the juries, the newspapers, the
legislatures, the congresses, the ballot-boxes and the
hearts and souls of the people.

They formed gigantic combinations to plunder the poor; to
make the miserable more miserable; to take from those who
had least and give it to those who had most.

They used the machinery of free government to effect
oppression; they made liberty a mockery, and its traditions
a jest; they drove justice from the land and installed
cruelty, ignorance, despair and vice in its place.

Their hearts were harder than the nether mill-stone; they
degraded humanity and outraged God.

At length indignation stirred in the vasty courts of
heaven; and overburdened human nature rose in universal
revolt on earth.

By the very instruments which their own wickedness had
created they perished; and here they lie, sepulchred in
stone, and heaped around explosives as destructive as their
own lives. We execrate their vices, while we weep for their
misfortunes. They were the culmination of centuries of
misgovernment; and they paid an awful penalty for the sins
of generations of short-sighted

and selfish ancestors, as well as for their own cruelty and

Let this monument, O man! stand forever.

Should civilization ever revive on earth, let the human
race come hither and look upon this towering shaft, and
learn to restrain selfishness and live righteously. From
this ghastly pile let it derive the great lesson, that no
earthly government can endure which is not built on mercy,
justice, truth and love.

I tied the paper to the cord and lowered it down to the waiting

At noon Max returned. His clothes were torn, his face pale, his eyes
wild-looking, and around his head he wore a white bandage, stained
with his own blood. Christina screamed and his mother fainted.

"What is the matter, Max?" I asked.

"It is all in vain," he replied despairingly; "I thought I would be
able to create order out of chaos and reconstruct society. But that
dream is past."

"What has happened?" I asked.

"I went this morning to Prince Cabano's palace to get Csar to help
me. He had held high carnival all night and was beastly drunk, in
bed. Then I went out to counsel with the mob. But another calamity
had happened. Last night the vice-president--the Jew--fled, in one of
the Demons, carrying away one hundred million dollars that had been
left in his charge."

"Where did he go?" I asked.

"No one knows. He took several of his trusted followers, of his own
nation, with him. It is rumored that he has gone to Judea; that he
proposes to make himself king in Jerusalem, and, with his vast
wealth, re-establish the glories of Solomon, and revive the ancient
splendors of the Jewish race, in the midst of the ruins of the world."

"What effect has his flight had on the mob?" I asked.

"A terrible effect. They are wild with suspicions and full of rumors.
They gathered, in a vast concourse, around the Cabano palace, to
prevent Csar leaving them, like the cripple. They believe that he,
too, has another hundred millions hidden in the cellars of the
palace. They clamored for him to appear. The tumult of the mob was

"I rose to address them from the steps of the palace. I told them
they need not fear that Csar would leave them--he was dead drunk,
asleep in bed. If they feared treachery, let them appoint a committee
to search the palace for treasure. But--I went on--there was a great
danger before them which they had not thought of. They must establish
some kind of government that they would all obey. If they did not
they would soon be starving. I explained to them that this vast city,
of ten million inhabitants, had been fed by thousands of carloads of
food which were brought in, every day, from the outside world. Now
the cars had ceased to run, The mob had eaten up all the food in the
shops, and tomorrow they would begin to feel the pangs of starvation.
And I tried to make them understand what it meant for ten million
people to be starving together.

"They became very quiet. One man cried out:

"'What would you have us do?'

"'You must establish a provisional government. You must select one
man to whose orders you will all submit. Then you must appoint a
board of counselors to assist him. Then the men among you who are
engineers and conductors of trains of cars and of air-lines must
reassume their old places; and they must go forth into the country
and exchange the spoils you have gathered for cattle and flour and
vegetables, and all other things necessary for life.'

"'He wants to make himself a king,' growled one ruffian.

"'Yes,' said another, 'and set us all at work again.'

"'He's a d----d aristocrat, anyhow,' cried a third.

"But there were some who had sense enough to see that I was right,
and the mob at once divided into two clamorous factions. Words led to
blows. A number were killed. Three wretches rushed at me. I shot one
dead, and wounded another; the third gave me a flesh wound on the
head with a sword; my hat broke the force of the blow, or it would
have made an end of me. As he raised his weapon for a second stroke,
I shot him dead. My friends forced me through the door of the palace,
in front of which I had been standing; we double-locked it to keep
out the surging wild beasts; I fled through the back door, and
reached here.

"All hope is gone," he added sadly; "I can do nothing now but provide
for our own safety."



"Yes," I replied, "we cannot remain here another night. Think what
would be the effect if a fire broke out anywhere in this block!"

He looked at me in a startled way.

"True," he said; "we must fly. I would cheerfully give my life if its
sacrifice would arrest these horrors; but it would not."

Christina came and stood beside him. He wrote a letter to General
Quincy. He made three copies of it. Selecting three of his best men,
he gave each a copy, and told them to make their way together, well
armed, to the armory of the airships. It was a perilous journey, but
if either of them reached his destination, he was to deliver his copy
of the letter to the general. In it Max asked General Quincy to send
him one of the "Demons," as promised, that night at eight o'clock;
and he also requested, as a signal that the messengers had reached
him and that the air-ship would come, that he would send up a single
Demon, high in the air, at once on receiving the letter.

We went to the roof with our field-glasses. In two hours, we thought,
the messengers, walking rapidly, would reach the armory. Two hours
passed. Nothing was visible in the heavens in the direction of the
armory, although we swept the whole region with our glasses. What if
our messengers had all been slain? What if General Quincy refused to
do as he had agreed, for no promises were likely to bind a man in
such a dreadful period of anarchy? Two hours and a quarter--two hours
and a half passed, and no signal. We began to despair. Could we
survive another night of horrors? At last

Estella, who had been quietly looking to the west with her glass,
cried out:

"See! there is something rising in the air."

We looked. Yes, thank heaven! it was the signal. The Demon rose like
a great hawk to a considerable height, floated around for awhile in
space, and then slowly descended.

It would come!

All hands were set at work. A line was formed from the roof to the
rooms below; and everything of value that we desired to carry with us
was passed from hand to hand along the line and placed in heaps,
ready for removal. Even the women joined eagerly in the work. We did
not look for our messengers; they were to return to us in the

The afternoon was comparatively quiet. The mobs on the street seemed
to be looking for food rather than treasure. They were, however,
generally resting, worn out; they were sleeping--preparing for the
evening. With nightfall the saturnalia of death would begin again
with redoubled force.

We ate our dinner at six; and then Mr. Phillips suggested that we
should all join in family prayers. We might never have another
opportunity to do so, he said. He prayed long and earnestly to God to
save the world and protect his dear ones; and we all joined fervently
in his supplications to the throne of grace.

At half past seven, equipped for the journey, we were all upon the
roof, looking out in the direction of the west for the coming of the
Demon. A little before eight we saw it rise through the twilight
above the armory. Quincy, then, was true to his pledge. It came
rapidly toward us, high in the air; it circled around, and at last
began to descend just over our heads. It paused about ten feet above
the roof, and two ladders were let down. The ladies and Mr. Phillips
were first helped up to the deck of the vessel; and the men began to
carry up the boxes, bales, trunks, money, books and instruments we
had collected together.

Just at this moment a greater burst of tumult reached my ears. I went
to the parapet and looked down. Up the street, to the north, came a
vast concourse of people. It stretched far back for many blocks. My
first notion was that they were all drunk, their outcries were so
vociferous. They shouted, yelled and screamed. Some of them bore
torches, and at their head marched a ragged fellow with a long pole,
which he carried upright before him. At the top of it was a black
mass, which I could not make out in the twilight. At this instant
they caught sight of the Demon, and the uproar redoubled; they danced
like madmen, and I could hear Max's name shouted from a hundred lips.

"What does it mean?" I asked him.

"It means that they are after me. Hurry up, men," he continued,
"hurry up."

We all sprang to work; the women stood at the top and received the
smaller articles as a line of men passed them up.

Then came a thunderous voice from below:

"Open the door, or we will break it down."

Max replied by casting a bomb over the parapet. It exploded, killing
half a dozen men. But this mob was not to be intimidated like the
thieves. The bullets began to fly; fortunately the gathering darkness
protected us. The crowd grew blacker, and more dense and turbulent.
Then a number of stalwart fellows appeared, bearing a long beam,
which they proposed to use as a battering-ram, to burst open the
door, which had resisted all previous attacks.

"Bring down one of the death bombs," said Max to the men in the Demon.

Two stout fellows, belonging to the air-ship, carried down,
carefully, between them, a great black sphere of iron.

"Over with it!" cried Max.

There was a crash, an explosion; the insurgents caught a whiff of the
poisoned air; the men dropped the beam; there was a rush backward
amid cries of terror, and the street was clear for a considerable
space around the house.

"Hurry, men, hurry!" cried Max.

I peeped over the parapet. A number of the insurgents were rushing
into a house three doors distant. In a few moments they poured out
again, looking behind them as they ran.

"I fear they have fired that house," I said to Max.

"I expected as much," he replied, quietly.

"Hurry, men, hurry," he again cried.

The piles on the roof were diminishing rapidly. I turned to pass up
bundles of my precious books. Another sound broke on my ears; a
roaring noise that rapidly increased--it was the fire. The mob
cheered. Then bursts of smoke poured out of the windows of the doomed
house; then great arms and hands of flame reached out and snapped and
clutched at the darkness, as if they would drag down ancient Night
itself, with all its crown of stars, upon the palpitating breast of
the passionate conflagration. Then the roof smoked; then it seemed to
burst open, and vast volumes of flame and smoke and showers of sparks
spouted forth. The blaze brought the mob into fearful relief, but
fortunately it was between us and the great bulk of our enemies.

"My God," said Max, "it is Csar's head!"

I looked, and there, sure enough, upon the top of the long pole I had
before noticed, was the head of the redoubtable giant. It stood out
as if it had been painted in gory characters by the light of the
burning house upon that background of darkness. I could see the
glazed and dusty eyes; the protruding tongue; the great lower jaw
hanging down in hideous fashion; and from the thick, bull-like neck
were suspended huge gouts of dried and blackened blood.

"It is the first instinct of such mobs," said Max, quietly, to
suspect their leaders and slay them. They killed Csar, and then came
after me. When they saw the air-ship they were confirmed in their
suspicions; they believe that I am carrying away their treasure."

I could not turn my eyes from that ferocious head. It fascinated me.
It waved and reeled with the surging of the mob. It seemed to me to
be executing a hideous dance in mid-air, in the midst of that
terrible scene; it floated over it like a presiding demon. The
protruding tongue leered at the blazing house and the unspeakable
horrors of that assemblage, lit up, as it was, in all its awful
features, by the towering conflagration.

The crowd yelled and the fire roared. The next house was blazing now,
and the roof of the one nearest us was smoking. The mob, perceiving
that we did not move, concluded that the machinery of the air-ship
was broken, and screamed with joy as the flames approached us.

Up, up, went bundle and package and box; faster, and faster, and
faster. We were not to be intimidated by fire or mobs! The roof of
the house next us was now blazing, and we could hear the fire, like a
furnace, roaring within it.

The work is finished; every parcel is safe.

"Up, up, men!"

Max and I were the last to leave the roof; it had become insufferably
hot. We stood on the deck; the engineer touched the lever of the
electric engine; the great bird swayed for an instant, and then began
to rise, like a veritable Phoenix from its nest of flame, surrounded
by cataracts of sparks. As the mob saw us ascend, veiled dimly, at
first, by that screen of conflagration, they groaned with dismay and
disappointment. The bullets flew and hissed around us, but our
metallic sides laughed them to scorn. Up, up, straight and swift as
an arrow we rose. The mighty city lay unrolled below us, like a great
map, starred here and there with burning houses. Above the trees of
Union Square, my glass showed me a white line, lighted by the
bon-fires, where Csar's Column was towering to the skies, bearing
the epitaph of the world.

I said to Max:

"What will those millions do to-morrow?"

"Starve," he said.

"What will they do next week?"

"Devour each other," he replied.

There was silence for a time.

"Will not civil government rise again out of this ruin?" I asked.

"Not for a long time," he replied. "Ignorance, passion, suspicion,
brutality, criminality, will be the lions in the path. Men who have
such dreadful memories of labor can scarcely be forced back into it.
And who is to employ them? After about three-fourths of the human
family have died of hunger, or been killed, the remainder,
constituting, by the law of the survival of the fittest, the most
powerful and brutal, will find it necessary, for self-defense against
each other, to form squads or gangs. The greatest fighter in each of
these will become chief, as among all savages. Then the history of
the world will be slowly repeated. A bold ruffian will conquer a
number of the adjacent squads, and become a king. Gradually, and in
its rudest forms, labor will begin again; at first exercised
principally by slaves. Men will exchange liberty for protection.
After a century or two a kind of commerce may arise. Then will follow
other centuries of wars, between provinces or nations. A new
aristocracy will spring up. Culture will lift its head. A great
power, like Rome in the old world, may arise. Some vast superstition
may take possession of the world; and Alfred, Victoria and Washington
may be worshiped, as Saturn, Juno and Hercules were in the past; with
perhaps dreadful and bloody rites like those of the Carthaginians and
ancient Mexicans. And so, step by step, mankind will re-enact the
great human drama, which begins always with a tragedy, runs through a
comedy, and terminates in a catastrophe."

The city was disappearing--we were over the ocean--the cool salt
breeze was refreshing. We both looked back.

"Think," I said, "what is going on yonder."

Max shuddered. There was a sullen light in his eyes. He looked at his
father, who was on his knees praying.

"I would destroy the world," he said, "to save him from a living

He was justifying himself unto himself.

"Gabriel," he said, after a pause, "if this outbreak had not occurred
now, yet would it certainly have come to pass. It was but a question
of time. The breaking-strain on humanity was too great. The world
could not have gone on; neither could it have turned back. The crash
was inevitable. It may be God's way of wiping off the blackboard. It
may be that the ancient legends of the destruction of our race by
flood and fire are but dim remembrances of events like that which is
now happening."

"It may be so, Max," I replied; and we were silent.

Even the sea bore testimony to the ruin of man. The lighthouses no
longer held up their fingers of flame to warn the mariner from the
treacherous rocks. No air-ship, brilliant with many lights shining
like innumerable eyes, and heavy with passengers, streamed past us
with fierce swiftness, splitting the astonished and complaining air.
Here and there a sailing vessel, or a steamer, toiled laboriously
along, little dreaming that, at their journey's end, starving
creatures would swarm up their sides to kill and devour.

How still and peaceful was the night--the great, solemn, patient
night! How sweet and pure the air! How delightful the silence to ears
that had rung so lately with the clamors of that infuriated mob! How
pleasant the darkness to eyeballs seared so long by fire and flame
and sights of murder! Estella and Christina came and sat down near
us. Their faces showed the torture they had endured,--not so much
from fear as from the shock and agony with which goodness
contemplates terrific and triumphant evil.

I looked into the grand depths of the stars above us; at that endless

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