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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

A Voyage Of Discovery

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Louis Holt's original MS. had been purchased by the President of the Inner Circle, and the Ariel was now, in fact, on a voyage of exploration, the object of which was the discovery of this unknown region, with a view to making it the seat of a settlement from which the members of the Executive could watch in security and peace the course of the tremendous struggle which would, ere long, be shaking the world to its foundations.

In such a citadel as this, fenced in by a series of vast natural obstacles, impassable to all who did not possess the means of aerial locomotion, they would be secure from molestation, though all the armies of Europe sought to attack them; and the Ariel could, if necessary, traverse in twenty-five hours the three thousand odd miles which separated it from the centre of Europe.

After the rescue of Natasha and the Princess on the Tobolsk road, the Ariel, in obedience to the orders of the Council, had shaped her course southward to the western slopes of the Hindu Kush, in order to be present at the prearranged attack of the Cossacks on the British reconnoitring force.

Arnold's orders were simply to wait for the engagement, and only to watch it, unless the British were attacked in overwhelming numbers. In that case he was to have dispersed the Russian force, as the plan of the Terrorists did not allow of any advantage being gained by the soldiers of the Tsar in that part of the world just then.

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As the British had defeated them unaided, the Ariel had taken no part in the affair, and, after vanishing from the sight of the astonished combatants, had proceeded upon her voyage of discovery.

As a good month would have to elapse before she could keep her rendezvous with the steamer that was to bring out the materials for the construction of the new air-ships from England, there was plenty of time to make the voyage in a leisurely and comfortable fashion. As soon, therefore, as he was out of sight of the skirmishers, he had reduced the speed of the Ariel to about forty miles an hour, using only the stern-propeller driven by one engine, and supporting the ship on the air-planes and two fan-wheels.

At this speed he would traverse the three thousand odd miles which lay between the Hindu Kush and "Aeria"--as Louis Holt had somewhat fancifully named the region that could be reached only through the air--in a little over seventy-five hours, or rather more than three days.

Those three days were the happiest that his life had so far contained. The complete success of his invention, and the absolute fulfilment of his promises to the Brotherhood, had made him a power in the world, and a power which, as he honestly believed, would be used for the highest good of mankind when the time came to finally confront and confound the warring forces of rival despotisms.

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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