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.