So rapidly did gifts pour in that within eight days after the disaster the following statement was made from Harrisburg: The Governor's fund for the relief of the survivors of the flood in the Conemaugh Valley and other portions of the State is assuming large proportions and the disposition to contribute appears to be on the increase.
"Reuben, come here." The young man obeyed the summons. His employer retreated into the further apartment, leaving the door ajar. "What's that young lady's name girl in dark brown, stranger here?" Mr. Earles asked sharply. The youth produced a crumpled-up card from his waistcoat pocket. A sense of impending disaster was upon him. Mr. Earles glanced at it, and his eyes flashed with anger.
It troubled and puzzled him, too, to think that he, who had always been so careful, should be father and grandfather to such as seemed born to disaster. He had nothing to say against Jo who could say anything against the boy, an amiable chap? but his position was deplorable, and this business of June's nearly as bad.
But how can I and how can you bear the remorse of the disaster that will fall upon Camilla Van Arsdale, your truest friend? What is there left to her, now that the man she loves is to be hounded out of public life by blackmailers? I have not told her. I have not been able to tell her. Perhaps he will write her, himself. How can she bear it! I am going away, leaving a companion in charge of her.
He expands more strength, poor man, in lifting up his child than he would in bursting a door open. If he kisses him, his beard pricks him; if he touches him, his big fingers cause him some disaster. He has the air of a bear threading a needle.
It was most extraordinary that three weeks passed before the people would believe the tidings of the disaster.
Think of a cannon-ball rushing through the air at a speed of a thousand feet per second; it is capable of wreaking disaster on anything which it meets, simply because its rapid motion is the vehicle by which the energy of the gunpowder is transferred from the gun to where the blow is to be struck.
Briefly, it was all a premeditated disaster brought about by some evil power which had a spite against the peasantry, who were foolish to give their sweat and their blood to such a thankless creature. "Madame Lepailleur brought her boy with her, a little fellow three years old, called Antonin," resumed Marianne, "and we fell to talking of children together. She quite surprised me.
All of us are certain, as soon as the authorities at Washington fully appreciate the conditions of the army, to be sent home. If we are kept here it will in all human probability mean an appalling disaster, for the surgeons here estimate that over half the army, if kept here during the sickly season, will die.
Two of my friends, who had escaped at the first onslaught, had got there before me. The news of the sad disaster had spread like a prairie fire. The whole population was excited by the outrage; for the young girls made captives had many friends and relations in the place. So also the men who had been murdered. The troops were summoned to arms.