The Fire Demon.
[From tlie Chicago Inter-Ocean. 1
The services of fire, when under man’s control, are so important and valuable that we cannot wonder that the ancients, with the child-like tendency of personifying the objects about them, should have ascribed its discovery to the agency of the gods, or that some nations of the East should have worshiped it as the symbol of the divine power which created and sustains the universe. To the race of mankind while still in the pastoral condition, while living in tents, and in sparsely-settled communities, this beneficent aspect of fire is more readily suggested. But when, with increasing numbers, men became aggregated into cities, and industry becoming specialized, greater attention and labor were bestowed upon thoir dwelling, while the fruits of their varied toil came to be gathered and stored in vast depositories, the terror of fire as a master, as a raging devourer of all that they prize, became more vividly impressed upon their minds, and fire was made the attribute of demons rather than of divinities, becoming a symbol of destruction rather than cf s rvice.
Though there is hardly a modern eity which has not suffered from conflagration of greater or less extent, and in whose history, if it is old does not form an era from which dates are computed, and the memory which is still preserved the old survivors, who never tire of recounting tho fa*l ho™, that night when the horizon was lit with the lurid flames, and men could wander about in the light as bright as day, with tho sad consciousness that! it was made by the destruction of their homes. I he enormous quantify of property and the great number of lives which have been lost by fires, if the story could be told so as to be within pressive exhibition of the helplessness of humanity. In ancient times, and even recently, in Oriental cities, thousands of lives have been lost at a single fire, as at London, in *he year 1212, where over 3,000 persons perished. The great firo of London, in 1(5(50, burned four days, devastated 430 acres, including 13,200 houses, and made 200,000 persons homeless, and destroyed $50,000,000 worth of property. Since that time no fire has been equal in extent and destructiveness to that of our own city, which swept a space four miles long and nearly two broad, flung a hundred thousand persons shivering out upon (ho prairie, the streets, or the lake, and annihilated at least $200,000,000 of values accumulated by human labor. Many conflagrations of a similar extent has carried into nothingness hooks, relies of antiquity, illustrations of history, and remembrances of famous men and women, which do price could equal or replace.