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  The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

Armed Neutrality

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Hardly had the Lurline disappeared than the air-ship was lying alongside the boat, floating on the water as easily and lightly as a seagull, and Natas and his two attendants, Tremayne, and the three men who had been saved from the yacht, were at once taken on board.

It would be useless to interrupt the progress of the narrative to describe the welcoming greetings which passed between the rescued party and the crew of the Ithuriel, or the amazement of Arnold and his companions when Natasha threw her arms round the neck of the almost helpless cripple, who was lifted over the rail by Tremayne and his two attendants, kissed him on the brow, and said so that all could hear her--

"We were in time! Thank God we were in time, my father!"

Her father! This paralytic creature, who could not move a yard without the assistance of some one else--this was Natas, the father of Natasha, and the Master of the Terror the man who had planned the ruin of a civilisation, and for all they knew might aspire to the empire of the world!

It was marvellous, inconceivable, but there was no time to think about it now, for the two cruisers were still blazing away at each other, and Tremayne had determined to punish the Frenchman for his discourtesy in not answering his flag and his inhumanity in firing on an unarmed vessel which was well known as a private pleasure-yacht all round the western and southern shores of Europe.

As soon as Natas had been conveyed into the saloon, Tremayne, after returning Arnold's hearty handclasp, said to him--

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"That rascally Frenchman chased and fired on us, and then sent his torpedo-boat after us, without the slightest provocation. I purposely hoisted the Yacht Squadron flag to show that we were non-combatants, and still he sank us. I suppose he took the Lurline for a fast despatch boat, but still he ought to have had the sense and the politeness to let her alone when he saw she was a yacht, so I want you to teach him better manners."

"Certainly," replies Arnold. "I'll sink him for you in five seconds as soon as we get aloft again."

"I don't want you to do that if you can help it. She has five or six hundred men on board, who are only doing as they are told, and we have not declared war on the world yet. Can't you disable her, and force her to surrender to the British cruiser that came to our rescue? You know we must have been sunk or captured half an hour ago if she had not turned up so opportunely, in spite of your so happily coming fifty miles this side of the rendezvous. I should like to return the compliment by delivering his enemy into his hand."

"I quite see what you mean, but I'm afraid I can't guarantee success. You see, our artillery is intended for destruction, and not for disablement. Still I'll have a try with pleasure. I'll see if I can't disable his screws, only you mustn't blame me if he goes to the bottom by accident."

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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