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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

A Navy Of The Future

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"Are you all well on board?"

"Yes, all well," was the reply, "though we have had rather a risky time of it, for war was generally declared a fortnight ago, and we have had to run the blockade for a good part of the way. That is why we are a little before our time. Can you come nearer? We have some letters for you."

"Yes," replied Arnold. "I'll come alongside. You go ahead, I'll do the rest."

So saying, he ran the Ariel up close to the quarter of the Avondale as easily as though she had been lying at anchor instead of going twenty miles an hour through the water, and went forward and shook hands with Roburoff over the rail, taking a packet of letters from him at the same time. Meanwhile Colston, who had grasped the situation at a glance, had swung himself on to the steamer's deck, and was already engaged in an animated conversation with Radna.

The first advantage that Arnold took of the leisure that was now at his disposal, was to read the letter directed to himself that was among those for Natasha, the Princess, and Colston, which had been brought out by the Avondale. He recognised the writing as Tremayne's, and when he opened the envelope he found that it contained a somewhat lengthy letter from him, and an enclosure in an unfamiliar hand, which consisted of only a few lines, and was signed "Natas."

He started as his eye fell on the terrible name, which now meant so much to him, and he naturally read the note to which it was appended first. There was neither date nor formal address, and it ran as follows:--

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    You have done well, and fulfilled your promises as a true man should.
    For the personal service that you have rendered to me I will not thank
    you in words, for the time may come when I shall be able to do so in
    deeds. What you have done for the Cause was your duty, and for that I
    know that you desire no thanks. You have proved that you hold in your
    hands such power as no single man ever wielded before. Use it well, and
    in the ages to come men shall remember your name with blessings, and
    you, if the Master of Destiny permits, shall attain to your heart's


Arnold laid the little slip of paper down almost reverently, for, few as the words were, they were those of a man who was not only Natas, the Master of the Terror, but also the father of the woman whose love, in spite of his oath, was the object to the attainment of which he held all things else as secondary, and who therefore had the power to crown his life-work with the supreme blessing without which it would be worthless however glorious, for he knew full well that, though he might win Natasha's heart, she herself could never be his unless Natas gave her to him.

The other letter was from Tremayne, dated more than a fortnight previously, and gave him a brief resume of the course of events in Europe since his voyage of exploration had begun. It also urged him to push on the construction of the aerial navy as fast as possible, as there was now no telling where or how soon its presence might be required to determine the issue of the world-war, the first skirmishes of which had already taken place in Eastern Europe. Natas and the Chief were both in London, making the final arrangements for the direction of the various diplomatic and military agents of the Brotherhood throughout Europe. From London they were to go to Alanmere, where they would remain until all arrangements were completed. As soon as the fleet was built and the crews and commanders of the air-ships had thoroughly learned their duties, the flagship was to go to Plymouth, where the Lurline would be lying. The news of her arrival would be telegraphed to Alanmere, and Natas and Tremayne would at once come south and put to sea in her. The air-ship was to wait for them at a point two hundred miles due south-west of the Land's End, and pick them up. The yacht was then to be sunk, and the Executive of the Terrorists would for the time being vanish from the sight of men.

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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