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THE JOHNSTOWN FLOOD. 43

approaching doom! The water swiftly rises. A horseman thunders down the valley: “To the hills, for God's sake! To the hills, for your lives!” They stare at him as at a madman, and their hesitating feet linger in the valley of the shadow of death, and the shadow swiftly darkens and the everlasting hills veil their faces with rain and mist before the scene that greets them.
    This is what happened: --
    The heavy rainfall raised the lake until its water began to pour over the top of the dam. The dam itself—wretchedly built of mud and boulders—saturated through and through, began to leak copiously here and there. Each watery sapper and miner burrowed on, followers swiftly enlarging the murderous tunnels. The whole mass became honeycombed. And still the rain poured down, and still the South Fork and a hundred minor streams sent in their swelling floods, until with a roar like that of the opening gates of the Inferno belching forth the legions of the damned, the wall gave way, and with the rush of famished tiger into a sheepfold, the whirlwind of water swept down the valley on its errand of destruction—

"And like a horse unbroken,
When first he feels the rein,
The furious river struggled hard,
And tossed his tawny mane,


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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury and Diann Olsen