Description

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 THE GREAT CYCLONE

 

The Storm King and the Fire King combined in the attack on St. Louis. And right bravely did they fight. The air was filled with light and heavy debris, tributes to the might of the wind. In all directions the clang of the gongs of the fire engines and suddenly in the south there shot in the air a stream of flame that lit up the whole city. The Fire King had scored his first point in the assault. A big skylight came sailing past the observatory tower, circled around in the air, made a dive for Olive street and was stopped by the gutter along the building. Then down in the street could be seen the results of the attack of the invading hosts on the subtle agent of man, electricity. In every direction the long lines of telegraph poles were flashing pillars of blue flame. The wires were strings of fire and the insulators were blazing bunches of sizzling wires.

Buildings swayed and creaked in the powerful blast. The wind came down in the streets, picked up buggies and turned them over. It bounded to roofs, rolled up tin coverings like scrolls and deposited them in telegraph wires. It filled the air with flying bricks and timbers and made the ears horrified with the crash of falling signs and breaking windows and the shrieks of men and women. And all over the city fire engines hurried to and fro and flames broke out in such a multitude of places that the hearts of the brave firemen sank within them when they contemplated the possibilities of a general conflagration. But in this the allied forces of wind and fire worked at cross purposes. For the rain served to largely undo the work of the other elements.

It was 5:35 when the army of the air withdrew from the assault. Then the rain came down in torrents and drenched the throngs hurrying through the streets. It was a wonderful rain, a steady, pounding, penetrating rain that seemed to gather strength as it fell. Amid the horror and the wild rumors of countless fatalities the rain came down harder and stronger, gloomily sounding a knell.

 

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