The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

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How does the crowd at the Common react to the heat ray in The War of the Worlds?

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After the first Martian exits its cylinder, the crowd pulls back to the hedges and watches from a distance. People who were very curious are now scared, but the Royal Astronomer, Stent, puts together a Deputation of people to try and make contact. They approach the cylinder with a white flag, trying to show their intentions as peaceful:

Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright glare...

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