BOOK ONE: THE COMING OF THE MARTIANS
CHAPTER 16: THE EXODUS FROM LONDON
For the second time that day this girl proved her quality.
To force their way into the torrent of people, my brother
plunged into the traffic and held back a cab horse, while
she drove the pony across its head. A waggon locked wheels
for a moment and ripped a long splinter from the chaise.
In another moment they were caught and swept forward by
the stream. My brother, with the cabman's whip marks red
across his face and hands, scrambled into the chaise and
took the reins from her.
"Point the revolver at the man behind," he said, giving it
to her, "if he presses us too hard. No!--point it at his horse."
Then he began to look out for a chance of edging to the
right across the road. But once in the stream he seemed to
lose volition, to become a part of that dusty rout. They swept
through Chipping Barnet with the torrent; they were nearly
a mile beyond the centre of the town before they had fought
across to the opposite side of the way. It was din and confusion indescribable; but in and beyond the town the road
forks repeatedly, and this to some extent relieved the stress.
They struck eastward through Hadley, and there on either
side of the road, and at another place farther on they came
upon a great multitude of people drinking at the stream,
some fighting to come at the water. And farther on, from a
lull near East Barnet, they saw two trains running slowly
one after the other without signal or order--trains swarming
with people, with men even among the coals behind the
engines--going northward along the Great Northern Railway.
My brother supposes they must have filled outside London,
for at that time the furious terror of the people had rendered
the central termini impossible.
Near this place they halted for the rest of the afternoon,
for the violence of the day had already utterly exhausted all
three of them. They began to suffer the beginnings of hunger;
the night was cold, and none of them dared to sleep. And in
the evening many people came hurrying along the road nearby their stopping place, fleeing from unknown dangers before
them, and going in the direction from which my brother