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.
THE PRINCE GIVES HIS LAST BRIBE
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 death.
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.