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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

A Wooing In Mid-Air

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"What is your own idea?" asked Colston.

"Not a very clear one, I must confess. At this elevation we can see about sixty miles as the atmosphere is now, and as far as we can see to the south-west there is nothing but the same kind of country that we have under us. We have travelled rather more than 2700 miles since we left the Hindu Kush, and according to my reckoning Aeria lies somewhere between 3000 and 3200 miles south-west of where we started from on Thursday morning. That means that we are within between three and five hundred miles of Aeria, unless, indeed, our calculations are wholly at fault, and at that rate, as we only have about four and a half hours' daylight left, we shall not get there to-day at our present speed."

"Couldn't we go a bit faster?" put in Natasha. "You know I and the Princess are dying to see this mysterious unknown country that only two other people have ever seen."

"You have but to say so, Natasha, and it is already done," replied Arnold, signalling at the same moment to the engine-room by means of a similar arrangement of electric buttons to that which was in the wheel-house. "Only you must remember that you must not go out on deck now, or you will be blown away like a feather into space."

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While he was speaking the three propellers had begun to revolve at full speed, and the Ariel darted forward with a velocity that caused the mountains she had just crossed to sink rapidly on the horizon. All the afternoon the Ariel flew at full speed over the seemingly interminable wilderness of swamp and jungle, until, when the equatorial sun was within a few degrees of the horizon, one of the crew, who had been stationed in the conning tower at the bows, signalled to call the attention of the man in the wheel-house. Arnold, who was in the after-saloon at the time, heard the signal, and hurried forward to the look-out. He gave one quick glance ahead, signalled "half-speed" to the engine-room, and then went aft again to the saloon, and said--

"Aeria is in sight!"

Immediately everyone hastened to the deck saloon, from the windows of which could be seen a huge mass of mountains looming dark and distinct against the crimsoning western sky.

It rose like some vast precipitous island out of the sea of forest that lay about its base; and above the mighty rock-walls that seemed to rise sheer from the surrounding plain at least a dozen peaks towered into the sky, two of their summits covered with eternal snow, and shining like points of rosy fire in the almost level rays of the sun.

As nearly as Arnold could judge in the deceptive state of the atmosphere, they were still between thirty and forty miles from it, and as it would not be safe to approach its lofty cliffs at a high rate of speed in the half light that would so soon merge into darkness, he said to his companions--

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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