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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

An Embassy From The Sky


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In spite of the colossal iniquity which it concealed, the spectacle was one of indescribable grandeur. Almost as far as the eye could reach the beams of the early morning sun were gleaming upon innumerable white tents, and flashing over a sea of glittering metal, of bare bayonets and sword scabbards, of spear points and helmets, of gold-laced uniforms and the polished accoutrements of countless batteries of field artillery.

Far away to the westward the stately city of Berlin could be seen lying upon its intersecting waters, and encircled by its fortifications bristling with guns, and in advance of it were the long serried lines of its defenders gathered to do desperate battle for home and fatherland.

As soon as the Russian army was fairly in sight the Ithuriel shot ahead, sank to the level of the flotilla, and then stopped until she was overtaken by the Orion. Tremayne was on deck, and Arnold as soon as he came alongside said--

"You must stop here for the present. I want the aerostat commanded by Colonel Alexandrovitch to come with me; meanwhile you and the Ariel will rise with the rest of the balloons to a height of four thousand feet; you will keep strict guard over the balloons, and permit no movement to be made until my return. We are going to bring his Majesty the Tsar to book, or else make things pretty lively for him if he won't listen to reason.

"Very well," replied Tremayne. "I will do as you say, and await developments with considerable interest. If there is going to be a fight, I hope you're not going to leave us out in the cold."

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"Oh no," replied Arnold. "You needn't be afraid of that. If his Majesty won't come to terms, you will smash up the war-balloons and then come and join us in the general bombardment. I see, by the way, that there are ten or a dozen more of these unwieldy monsters with the Russian force moored to the ground yonder on the outskirts of C├╝strin. It will be a little amusement for us if we have to come to blows to knock them to pieces before we smash up the Tsar's headquarters."

So saying, Arnold increased the speed of the Ithuriel, swept round in front of the line, and communicated the same instructions to the captain of the Ariel.

A few minutes later the Ariel and the Orion began to rise with their charges to the higher regions of the air leaving the Ithuriel and the one aerostat to carry out the plan which had been arranged by Natas and Arnold an hour previously.

As the speed of the aerostat was only about twenty miles an hour against the wind, a rope was passed from the stern of the Ithuriel to the cordage connecting the car with the gas-holder and so the aerostat was taken in tow by the air-ship, and dragged through the air at a speed of about forty miles an hour, as a wind-bound sailing vessel might have been towed by a steamer.

 
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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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