The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

1  
In a world old in hatred and
  bloodshed, where nation is
crowded against nation and creed
against creed, centuries of wars
have sown their bitter seed, and the
fires of resentment smouldering be-
neath the crust of civilization but
await the breaking of the Seven
Seals of Prophecy to start a
    mighty conflagration.

2
While in the New World,
boundless space offers
a haven to the alien,
and ancient hatreds 
  are forgotten.

3
And from Spain to the
new land of the Argentine
had come Madariaga, the
centaur. Years of toil had
yielded their reward until
his vast grazing lands
rivaled a king's domain.

4
Starting life in savage 
poverty, he became a
fearless trader, acquiring
boundless fields and
populating them with
  blooded stock.

5
Capricious and
despotic, he was
both loved and
feared by his
  workers.

6
"Ay padres! Ay padres!"

7
Many of the hybrid youths 
in his employ bore a strange
resemblance to the Spaniard.

8
Madariaga's tastes were simple.
He still clung to his primitive
abode - sharing it with his two
daughters and their husbands,
one - a Frenchman, the other 
        - a German.

9
The Frenchman, Marcelo
Desnoyers, the old cen-
taur's favorite, managed
his gigantic enterprises.

10
The day was filled 
with expectancy.
For seven years,
Desnoyers' wife
had been childless.

11
While the German's heart
was filled with misgivings.

12
Karl von Hartrott had married
Elena, Madariaga's younger
daughter, against her father's
will and was tolerated only
through the Frenchman's influence.

13
"At any moment - now. Per-
haps my sister's child will
be a girl. Then, after all -
father's millions will go
  to our three sons -"

14
"Any news?"

15
"It shall be a boy! I
shall call him Julio
and make him my heir!"

16
"I need one of my 
    own breed!"

17
"Down with Napoleon!"

18
"A boy!"

19
"Hooray!"

20
Madariaga's dream had
come true! From far
and wide his workers
came to share his joy.

21
Steeped in Old World sin,
harboring the dregs of human-
ity, the famous Boca quarter
of Buenos Aires was a port
     of last resort.

22
And with the passing
of a score of years,
senile and old, living
again in his grandson,
Madariaga still clung to
life and its pleasures.

23
Encouraged by an indul-
gent grandfather who was
his ideal, what chance
had Julio Desnoyers to
be other than a youthful
      libertine?

24
"That's Madariaga - the
richest man in the Argen-
tine! Last week he ship-
ped thirty thousand head
 of cattle to Europe!"

25
"The boy is part French
and the old man's idol.
He has no use for his
three German grandsons."

26
"Take me home, Peon-
cito! I am too old to
come with you any more."

27
And so Madariaga remain-
ed at his own fireside,
amusing himself with Julio's
   young sister Chichí.

28
Luisa, Madariaga's
elder daughter, the 
Frenchman's wife.

29
"Is it not enough to 
lead my son into wild
ways without teaching
my daughter the tango?"

30
"Would you have the boy
grow up like those glass-
eyed carrot-topped sharks
   of your sister's?"

31
"Por Dios! Women are the
plague of our existence,
but we cannot get along
without them - eh, Frenchy?"

32
"There's no need to worry
about Julio. You're too
  miserly - youth must
    have its fling!"

33
Von Hartrott had
reared his sons to
respect the teachings
of his Fatherland

34
"Grandfather gave
Julio the strip of
land south of the
shearing shed today!"

35
"I heard him tell the
lawyer he was growing
old - that he wanted to
make the changes in his will.
Do you think he will leave
  Julio all his money?"

36
"Do not worry! Julio is
  wasting his youth -
  our day will come!"

37
And when the morrow's
sun had reached the 
  western horizon.

38
Thus died the centaur, as
he had lived, with the lash
hanging from his wrist - with
his legs bowed by the saddle.

39
"And it is my will that
my entire fortune be di-
vided between my two 
daughters, Luisa and Elena."

40
  The shattering of
youth's ideal - think-
ing only of his grand-
father's broken promise.

41
"I shall dispose of my share
and return to my own country
to resume my rightful position
- so that my sons may have
the advantage of education
       and culture."

42
"But you cannot do that, 
Karl! Madariaga always
preached that where a man
makes his fortune and raises
his family - there is his true 
        country!"

43
"One owes his first duty 
to his Fatherland - that his
children may grow up in
allegiance with the advan-
tages of super-culture."

44
"Karl is right! We owe some-
thing to our children. Chichí
could make a more suitable
marriage in Paris and Julio
study art. Why should you 
not return to your country?"

45
Marcelo Desnoyers
had guarded the secret
of his flight to the
New World with fear
and humiliation.

46
"I'll risk it!"

47
"When one leaves one's
home to go to another
land, one always risks his
happiness. What may come
to us in the other land -
    we cannot tell."

48
The Old
 World.

49
After a few years in Paris,
 discontent crept into
   the hearts of the
   Desnoyers family.

50
"Chichí, something tells me
that your father has been 
to another auction! We will 
be bankrupt if he persists in
this crazy bargain-hunting!"

51
"More purchases for 
 the castle on the 
   Marne - where 
  will it all end?"

52
"Mother! You look like 
a pawnbroker's lady!"

53
"You indulge your own 
foolish whims, yet deny
Julio and me the
things we care for!"

54
"I mean that you are
miserly! If mother did not
give Julio money, he could
not continue his studies!"

55
"Continue his studies!
Continue his debauches 
at Montmartre -"

56
"- his tango teas -
his pretext of painting
as an excuse to surround
  himself with women!"

57
Julio was a true 
grandson of the 
old Spaniard. Women
were the "plague" of 
his existence.

58
Argensola, Julio's
secretary - an
indolent Spanish
     artist.

59
"From the ladies at 
the Tango Palace."

60
"Bills that must be 
paid at once - or they
will appeal to your father."

61
"Perhaps your mother
will let you have the money.
You know she would 
give you her last centime!"

62
"It is the Stranger
- who lives on the 
   floor above."

63
Desnoyers had made 
two friends in the 
Old World, Senator
Lacour and Etienne
     Laurier.

64
"Now, Senator, you have
seen my treasures destined
for the castle, but this is
my pride - a golden bath
that once belonged to an
        emperor!"

65
"To Laurier there is but
one treasure - his beau-
tiful wife. We were
to meet her here, and
    she is late."

66
The Senator's son,
René, preferred Youth
   to Antiques.

67
"Your papa has forbidden
my giving you any more 
money, and I decided
to obey him when I saw
those na- undressed
ladies in your studio."

68
"Your papa will
never miss it."

69
"Naughty boy! One
   at a time!"

70
"Marguerite Laurier."

71
"I have seen you
dance very often at
the Tango Palace."

72
"Perhaps some after-
noon - you will come 
and dance with me?"

73
"I stopped at mother's.
My brother is on leave
     of absence."

74
"Poor little Marguerite!
Laurier is a fine fellow -
but too old. Her heart 
yearns for youth's compan-
ionship and - romance."

75
Spring smiled on the
peaceful village of Ville-
blanche, and in the distance
towered Desnoyers' most
    recent purchase.

76
The castle on the Marne
had become a colossal
treasure palace - an altar 
to Desnoyers' miserly
   bargain worship.

77
The von Hartrott family
accepted Desnoyers' hos-
pitality with good-natured
      superiority.

78
"You may have your 
treasures, Marcelo, but
  I have my sons."

79
The world was dancing.
Paris had succumbed to
the mad rhythm of the
  Argentine tango.

80
And Julio's boyhood 
pastime had brought 
him glory, and with it,
many pupils to satisfy
his extravagant tastes.

81
"Julio Desnoyers has
neglected all his pupils
since Madame Laurier
began coming here."

82
"Someone should inform 
her husband - our young
tango hero would have
another duel on his hands."

83
"That is Laurier's
       wife!"

84
"Everyone is watching us!
I - I am afraid - it is un-
   wise to come here
        any more."

85
"I - I could not bear
  it if I were not
     to see you!"

86
"But my husband ---
if he should hear -"

87
"Why not come to my 
studio? There would 
be no harm - I promise
    to be good!"

88
"You - you promise?"

89
Women were not
strange to Julio's
studio, but never
before had there
been one - like
  Marguerite.

90
"A woman?"

91
"A lady!"

92
And as the days 
passed the hours
spent together became
their only happiness.

93
"It is the beginning 
of the end - the
brand that will set
the world ablaze!"

94
"It does not seem 
wrong for me to
come here now."

95
"Do you remember 
the first day I came 
and you held me in 
   your arms?"

96
"That night -"

97
"It does not seem right
when he kisses me. My
parents arranged the mar-
riage - I do not love him."

98
"You do not belong 
to him - you belong 
      to me!"

99
"The symbol of the original 
sin. Do you wonder that
the apple - with its brilliant 
coloring, was chosen to
represent the forbidden fruit?"

100
"But when the beautiful
covering is removed, how
unlovely - how like a woman
bereft of her cloak of virtue."

101
History in the making
is like a stream over-
 flowing its banks.

102
And during the fateful month 
of July, startling events
overlapped each other -
drawing nations into a swirl-
ing maelstrom which threat-
ened to engulf all Europe.

103
 "Do you think they 
will drag us into it?"

104
"Two generations have come
into the world informed
that as soon as they reach
a reasonable age - there
      will be war."

105
"War will go hard with them.
He is a Frenchman - she
is German - and their
child - God pity it!"

106
The turbulent
situation had
brought the
Desnoyers family
back to Paris.

107
"I will trouble you to
conduct me to your
  son's studio!"

108
"Just think what war
will mean! No parties -
no pretty clothes - women
in mourning - nothing
     but misery!"

109
"But we will have 
   each other!"

110
"There is no need of
an explanation from
   either of us!"

111
"You may send your 
seconds to me at your 
earliest convenience!"

112
"For God's sake, 
Laurier, let there
 be no scandal!"

113
"I shall take you 
to your mother and
tomorrow arrange
 for a divorce."

114
The Old World hatreds had 
burst their bonds, and for the
next forty-eight hours the electric
web encircling the continent
vibrated incessantly with its
transmission of hopes and
      fears, until -

115
While the spirit of
France responded 
to the call - the
tango idol was
forgotten.

116
"Little sister - take
  good care of our
       mother."

117
"Good looks do not
count now! All one
needs is a uniform
 - gold braid -"

118
"My master is never 
 home so early -"

119
"In the enemy's land they too
are singing and shouting as
they wave their flag - believ-
ing they are also right and
that God rules for them."

120
"And when the sun rises in 
a few hours the world will 
behold the Four Horsemen 
- enemies of mankind!"

121
"Those who go before 
the Beast - the Four 
Horsemen of the Apocalypse!
John foresaw it all two
thousand years ago."

122
"I have a book -
 a rare book -"

123
"To 'him' nothing is a
mystery. He holds the
key to every language
   living or dead."

124
"The Revelations of
St. John, as conceived
by the great master -
   Albrecht Dürer."

125
"It is the age of ful-
fillment. The Angel of
Prophecy is revealed."

126
"The voice of the Beast
shall be heard, commanding
the Four Ill-omened Horse-
men as they ride forth -
to scatter desolation 
throughout the world!"

127
"The first Horseman to
lead Prophecy's devas-
  tating force is -
      Conquest!"

128
  "The second - War,
in all his hideousness!"

129
"The third, trailing in
their wake - Pestilence,
carrying the Scales of 
       Famine!"

130
"And in relentless 
pursuit, the fourth
 Horseman - Death!"

131
"The agony of humanity
under the brutal sweep
of the Four Horsemen
 has already begun!"

132
For fourteen ill-omened 
days, the scorching breath
of the Beast had seared
the earth as nation rose 
    against nation.

133
While all France
answered the call to
arms, Desnoyers was
haunted by the unpaid
debt to his country.

134
"I served in eighteen-seventy!"

135
The flames of war
had singed the
butterfly's wings and
in its place there was
- a woman, awakening
to the call of France.

136
"It is wrong to love like
this - to be happy -- when
there is so much sorrow
      around us!"

137
"Are we not to be married as 
   soon as you are free?"

138
"A letter - from
  my brother!"

139
"It is fortunate you are 
a foreigner and do not 
have to go. How horrible 
it would be to know you 
    were in danger!"

140
"I shall be late for my 
class - it will not be
long before I have my
  nurse's diploma."

141
The last of the
Lacours had re-
ceived an appoint-
ment in the auxiliary
     service.

142
"How nice that it has been
   arranged for you to
 remain at home! I shall
   call you my little
     sugar soldier!"

143
"I wanted to go to the 
front -- only father ----"

144
"Here is your passport to
Villeblanche, but I warn
you it is dangerous to
 attempt the journey
    at this time."

145
"I came to say good-bye to 
mother before she leaves 
for Biarritz. She tells 
   me you are going 
    to the castle."

146
"By the way, Senator, can you
   tell me where Madame 
    Laurier has gone?"

147
"Everyone is leaving Paris
  at this time. She may
   have gone with her
  mother to Bordeaux."

148
The ceaseless rumble of 
distant cannon echoing
the ominous hoof-beats 
of Prophecy's Horsemen,
was heard in Villeblanche.

149
And for days, a stunned,
panic-stricken horde of
homeless beings had
drifted toward the
  French capital.

150
While another horde
marched with relentless
iron-shod feet, borne by
the impetus of the Apoca-
    lyptic Beast.

151
  His family safely
dispatched to Biarritz
- thinking only of his
treasures, Desnoyers jour-
neyed toward Villeblanche.

152
The straggling rem-
nants of an army that
for days had endured
a continued indefinite
      retreat.

153
Only the lodgekeeper
and his family re-
mained at the castle.

154
Only a flimsy shell of de-
fence against the oncoming
tide of invasion, but behind it,
the spirit of the immortal
words - "They shall not pass."

155
In retaliation, a
hot hurricane of 
death swept across
   the valley.

156
The serpent had un-
coiled itself - twining
its gray-green body
through the fertile valley
of the Marne, and Ville-
blanche was invaded.

157
"Your castle was spared
because you are to have 
 the honor of enter-
 taining the General
  of our Division!"

158
A grim warning.

159
"They resisted and killed
   two of our Uhlans!"

160
After a
night of
terror.

161
"You do not know me, Uncle?
   I am Otto - Captain
   Otto von Hartrott."

162
"My nephew -- you have come
to help me? Look around -
see what your comrades 
   have done! Tell
   them to leave!"

163
"What else can you expect?
       This is war!"

164
"It is well you are speaking 
Spanish. If you persist
in such denunciation - a
bullet will be the answer!"

165
   At Lourdes

In the shadow of 
the sacred grotto.

166
Victims of the war-
god's lust find
rest and peace from
the din of battle.

167
"You are not the nurse 
who was with me this 
morning. Who are
      you?"

168
"Just one who is trying 
    to do her duty."

169
"I traced you here! So this
 is why you left Paris
without a word -- and you
pretended to love me!"

170
"Julio -- he --
 he is blind."

171
"As yet, he does not know
who I am. You are a man -
you could never under-
stand a woman's desire 
    for atonement!"

172
"What of our happiness?
You -- you cannot do this!"

173
"Life is not what we thought.
Had it not been for the war,
we might have realized our 
dream. But now, my destiny
  beside him is marked 
      out forever."

174
"How could I dare hope 
for your love? I have 
   been a coward!"

175
"But I will be one no
longer! This country
is yours - my father's
-- I will fight for it!"

176
For three days the
unwelcome guests had
held their revels with
all the destructive
    glory of war.

177
"Ach! Du lieber Augustin!
   Augustin! Augustin!"

178
"We will drink, mine host,
to an early meeting --
      in Paris!"

179
"Vandals! Murderers!
      Fiends!"

180
"I warned you not to 
interfere! You will
 probably be shot 
   at daybreak!"

181
  The morning light
revealed the miracle of 
the Marne. The long lines
of grey were falling back.

182
  The French were
reclaiming their own.

183
"Master! The brutes have
gone! There is a great
battle - the castle is
  filled with dead
     and dying!"

184
"They have murdered my 
husband and - my little 
  girl longs to die!"

185
Pride and earthly
treasure crumble
before the hosts
  of Prophecy.

186
"Franzosen! Franzosen!"

187
Through a sea of 
misery, of dead and
dying, Desnoyers
returned to Paris.

188
"I have been in Hell!"

189
"My son - a soldier - defending
   my country when it is
      not even yours!"

190
"You do not know what war 
is! I have just come from 
it - it is like a wild
  beast whose breath
 scorches and withers
       humanity!"

191
"This is not your country
-- I cannot let my boy
       go to war!"

192
"René is going to the 
front. He has been
transferred to the
    Artillery!"

193
"I could not keep the child 
away from René at this time
 and my place is with you.
 It is enough to be sep-
 arated from my sister!"

194
"Family ties are not formed 
to our liking. Men of your 
own blood are fighting on 
     the other side!"

195
"But they are your
enemies! If you meet
them - do not spare
them - shoot - kill!"

196
   Four years had War,
Pestilence and Death held
sway until the nations of the
Old World were torn asunder
and lay bleeding, crying out
to a just God to free them
 from the forces of evil.

197
And then from the New
World came men to 
cheer and help their
    brothers.

198
"Américain!"

199
"A little surprise 
from your mother!"

200
"He is a different Julio!
One hears everywhere
of his unselfishness and
     his bravery."

201
"I am content - 
 very content."

202
"I saw her - the
night before I left
     Paris."

203
"She is very kind to 
Laurier, but she, too,
    is suffering."

204
"Kiss Mama for me!"

205
"No one will kill my 
boy - my heart tells 
      me so!"

206
Fighting against 
her love for Julio,
 Marguerite had
patiently tried to
      atone.

207
Oh frightful trend of
           awful dreams,
    What shall fiends
           next contrive?
An open grave - and as it seems
  Men stand in it - alive.

208
While across the 
ghostly waste of No 
Man's Land - another
yawning pit of misery.

209
And through the muck
and mire of a man-
created Hell - were sent
Madariaga's grandsons -

210
One - a French
  soldier -

211
- the other, a German.

212
War's toll.

213
"My last son."

214
"You are to blame! If we had
followed my father's teach-
ings - we would not have
left the Argentine, and our
sons would have been alive today!"

215
The aimless path 
fades with life's
span. Nations mourn,
while memory glori-
 fies the brave.

216
"You knew my son?"

217
"I knew them all!"

218
"Peace has come - but the
Four Horsemen will still ravage 
humanity - stirring unrest in
the world - until all hatred 
is dead and only love reigns
in the heart of mankind."

THE END

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