You might have thought yourself in some woeful infirmary, hastily organised after some great catastrophe, some conflagration or earthquake which had thrown hundreds of wounded and penniless beings into the streets. Madame de Jonquiere made her way from one to the other end of the ward, ever and ever repeating, "Come, my children, don't excite yourselves; try to sleep a little."
I tried to telephone, but I was told that both telephone and wire connections between San Francisco and Belmont were broken. This was the first proof that the earthquake was more than local, and my fears were heightened. As I waited I was joined by other boys. All were curious to know what had happened in other places, but few were worried. Soon the entire school was gathered at the station.
A fire was kindled beneath the caldron; the steam of the boiling water ascended through the tubes; the house was shaken by the efforts of imprisoned air, and its trembling inhabitants might wonder that the city was unconscious of the earthquake which they had felt.
Hades, king of the realms below, was struck with fear; he sprang panic-stricken from his throne and cried aloud in terror lest Neptune, lord of the earthquake, should crack the ground over his head, and lay bare his mouldy mansions to the sight of mortals and immortals mansions so ghastly grim that even the gods shudder to think of them. Such was the uproar as the gods came together in battle.
In a few minutes, he re-appeared, took a second flag and descended. The French continued their cannonade, and the breach appeared almost practicable, when suddenly they were astounded by a terrific explosion, which shook the whole ground as with an earthquake.
You cannot read your Bibles without seeing how that great lesson was stamped into the very hearts of the Hebrew prophets; how they are continually speaking of the fire and the earthquake, and yet continually declaring that they too obey God and do God's will, and that the man who fears God need not fear them that God was their hope and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Just as he finished speaking a deep, portentous rumbling began and continued for several seconds. The distant mountain sides seemed to reverberate with it, and at the end the whole forest shook with heavy, jarring sounds. We both leaped out into the rain. "What is it, Ad?" I cried. "Earthquake," said Addison at last.
Things are the opposite of what he says with so much meticulous care. He would speak of "gay café life" in a place that looked as if an earthquake had hit it, and where the only people were some cripples and a few half-starved old folks. If he finds that sort of thing gay as he travels around, he is an easy man to please. It was so wherever I went. It isn't as if he were wrong at some one detail.
To his mind the great forces of Nature took the shape of mighty and benignant spirits, sent hitherward to be the servants of man in restoring to him his lost paradise; waiting only for his word of command to apply their giant energies to the task, but as yet struggling blindly and aimlessly, giving ever and anon gentle hints, in the way of earthquake, fire, and flood, that they are weary of idleness, and would fain be set at work.
It was at this time that the earth is said to have been opened in the forum by an earthquake, and that Curtius cast himself into it as a sacrifice; but, as we have read of the occurrence before we shall not stop to consider it again. The young hero was called Mettus Curtius in the former instance, but now the name given to him is Marcus Curtius.