“‘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 air-ship.