A Moment Come Ground-Shaking Thunder-Crashes Of Artillery, The Sky Is
Cobwebbed With The Crisscrossing Red Lines Streaming From Soaring Bomb-
Shells, And A Rain Of Iron Fragments Descends Upon The City; Descends
Upon The Empty Streets:
Streets which are not empty a moment later, but
mottled with dim figures of frantic women and children scurrying from
home and bed toward the cave dungeons - encouraged by the humorous grim
soldiery, who shout 'Rats, to your holes!' and laugh.
The cannon-thunder rages, shells scream and crash overhead, the iron
rain pours down, one hour, two hours, three, possibly six, then stops;
silence follows, but the streets are still empty; the silence continues;
by-and-bye a head projects from a cave here and there and yonder, and
reconnoitres, cautiously; the silence still continuing, bodies follow
heads, and jaded, half smothered creatures group themselves about,
stretch their cramped limbs, draw in deep draughts of the grateful fresh
air, gossip with the neighbors from the next cave; maybe straggle off
home presently, or take a lounge through the town, if the stillness
continues; and will scurry to the holes again, by-and-bye, when the war-
tempest breaks forth once more.
There being but three thousand of these cave-dwellers - merely the
population of a village - would they not come to know each other, after a
week or two, and familiarly; insomuch that the fortunate or unfortunate
experiences of one would be of interest to all?
Those are the materials furnished by history.
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