Page:Pierre and Luce.djvu/105

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March was back again with a longer day and the first songs of birds. But along with the days increased the sinister flames of the war. The air was feverish with waiting for springtime—and waiting for the cataclysm. One heard the monstrous rumbling grow in intensity, the arms of millions of enemies clashing together, heaped up for the past months against the dyke of the trenches, and all ready to spill over like a tidal bore upon the Ile de France and the nave of La Cité. The shadow of frightful rumors preceded the plague; a fantastic report of poisoned gases, of deadly venom scattered through the air, which was about, so it was said, to descend on whole provinces and destroy everything like the asphyxiating overflow from Pelée Mountain. Finally the visits of bombing Gothas, coming oftener