Excerpt from The Lost City Drama of the Fire Fiend Or Chicago, as It Was and as It Is And Its Glorious Future : A Vivid and Truthful Picture of All of Interest Connected With the Destruction of Chicago and the Terrible Fires of the Great North-West
We undertake this task in the belief that an eye-witness of many of the scenes and incidents herein detailed and a person al acquaintance of most of the actors in and sufferers by the overwhelming calamity, is best prepared to give a reliable version of its remarkable phenomena, adventures and contingencies; of its wonderful escapes, fearful tragedies and indescribable results - but it is necessary for the reader to understand, that very few intelligent observers witnessed the scenes and incidents described from the same points of observation; that many were overcome by fear, personal bereavements or great anxiety that before the bewildered gaze of every onlooker, the appalling panorama of ﬂame passed with the speed of the whirlwind, licking up, with its thousand-forked tongue, great blocks of brick and stone build ings as readily as if they had been mere toy houses of lath; and that intelligible description is necessarily hampered by these and a hundred other inﬂuences that encumber the minds of those who are now seeking to make a reliable history of these astounding occurences. The reader that did not witness these scenes never can picture them to his imagination. The readiest writer that saw and mingled in them will never present the picture as he saw it, to the mind of his reader for neither pen nor pencil can do it justice. However heart-rending the details, the rent hearts of thousands of bereaved ones will declare them far, very far, short of the truth.
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