"Our knock was answered by a priest, who, on seeing that we were English, at once allowed us to enter. The father then told us, in language that was not altogether priestly, when speaking of the vandals whose guns were still thundering outside, of how the Germans had bombarded the cathedral for two hours that morning, landing over fifty shells in its immediate neighbourhood, but, luckily, the range being very great, over eight kilometres, the solid stonework of the building had resisted the successive shocks of these six-inch howitzers, and how it was that ancient and priceless glass which had suffered the most.[31]

"'Monsieur, they respect nothing. 온라인카지노 We placed 125 of them inside and hoisted the red cross on the spire in order to protect the cathedral, and[Pg 169] yet they fire at it all the same, and have killed their own soldiers. Pray, monsieur, make these facts known all over Europe and America.'

"With these words he unlocked a wicket and conducted us toward the altar, close to which stands a small painted statue of Jeanne d'Arc. The east end of Notre Dame had up to this period suffered but little, and although some of the windows were damaged they were not lost beyond repair. The light still shone through in rays of dark blue and red, broken here and there by streaks of pure light.

"Then our guide conducted us to the great cold stone body of the cathedral, where the Gothic pillars rise in sombre majesty, relieved by no ornamentation[32] until they hold aloft the blue masterpieces of the unknown artist. Here one of the strangest of spectacles met the eye. The whole of this vast vault was covered with dust half an inch thick, with chipped-off masonry, pieces of lead piping from the shattered windows, and with countless fragments of varied coloured glass. In the centre lay an ancient candelabrum which had hung for centuries from the roof suspended by a steel chain. That morning a fragment of shell had cut the chain in half and dropped its ancient burden to the hard stone floor beneath, where it lay bent and crumpled.