The selectmen departed in silence but in anger, and those who saw Hutchinson on the streets next day affirmed that the portrait had stepped out of its canvas and stood at his side through the night.
Looking down into small cellars, I saw from ten to fifteen men and women living in places which two white men would not sleep in. The adjoining streets smelt most abominably. The street I went through must be one of the worst; and I was afterwards told that it was "dangerous" to pass through it.
The shades of evening were rapidly darkening over the empty streets; and in the sky, which was cloudless and transparently clear, the stars came gradually out one by one, until, "As water does a sponge, so their soft light Filled the void, hollow, universal air." Beautiful evening!
Impressed with these thoughts, we have turned away, through the nearly-deserted streets; and the sight of the few miserable creatures still hovering about them, has not tended to lessen the pain which such meditations awaken.
The same Gazette, which gave birth to this black influenza at court, spreads it still farther. The private gentlemen of the land undertake to mourn also. You see them accordingly in the streets, and in private parties, and at public places, in their mourning habits. Nor is this all.
One sees shopkeepers, but a short time back doing capital business, walking about idle in the streets, with their shops closed; armed policemen at every corner are necessary to prevent a savage rabble from committing outrages, and many people avoid going near the town at all. All this is the result of William O'Brien's speech in Tipperary and the subsequent action of the National League.
Everything threatened them with danger; their number, their well-known faces, even their precautions. In the populous streets there was danger, the police were permanently posted there; in the lonely streets there was danger, because the goings and comings were more noticed there.
The Babylonian cemetery adjoined the cities of the living, and was laid out in imitation of the latter. The tombs were built of crude bricks, and were separated from one another by streets, through which flowed streams of "living water." Gardens were planted by the side of some of the tombs, which resembled the houses of the living, and in front of which offerings were made to the dead.
This spontaneous courage of the burghers prevented the catastrophe, which was reserved for a sister city. Meantime, the indignation and horror excited by the mutiny were so universal that the Council of State could not withstand the pressure. Even the women and children demanded daily in the streets that the rebel soldiers should be declared outlaws.
Three hundred thousand of our women are hewers of wood and drawers of water, robbed of their divine right of love and motherhood. There are twenty thousand children and fifty thousand men and women homeless in our streets. I have seen more than five hundred of them fighting for the chance of sleeping on the bare planks of a dirty police lodging-house."