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.
“THE OCEAN OVERPEERS ITS LIST”
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 pieces.
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.