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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

Aeria Felix

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"I am not exactly afraid, but it looks a fearful thing to attempt."

"If there were any danger I should tell you--with my usual lack of dissimulation. But really there is none, and all you have to do is to hold tight when I tell you, and keep your eyes open for the first glimpse of Aeria."

By this time the Ariel was more than ten miles away from the mountains. Arnold, having now got offing enough, swung her round again, headed her straight for the ridge between the two peaks, and signalled "full speed" to the engine-room.

In an instant the propellers redoubled their revolutions, and the Ariel gathered way until the wind sang and screamed past her masts and stays. She covered eight miles in less than four minutes, and it seemed to Natasha as though the rock-wall were rushing towards them at an appalling speed, still frowning down a thousand feet above them. For the instant she was all eyes. She could neither open her lips nor move a limb for sheer, irresistible, physical terror. Then she heard Arnold say sharply--

"Now, hold on tight!"

The nearest thing to her was his own arm, the hand of which grasped one of the spokes of the steering wheel. Instinctively she passed her own arm under it, and then clasped it with both her hands. As she did so she felt the muscles tighten and harden. Then with his other hand he pulled the lever back to the full, and inclined the planes to their utmost.

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Suddenly, as though some Titan had overthrown it, the huge black wall of rock in front seemed to sink down into the earth, the horizon widened out beyond it, and the Ariel soared upwards and swept over it nearly a thousand feet to the good.


The exclamation was forced from her white lips by an impulse that Natasha had no power to resist. All the pride of her nature was conquered and humbled for the moment by the marvel that she had seen, and by the something, greater and stranger than all, that she saw in the man beside her who had worked this miracle with a single touch of his hand. A moment later she had recovered her self-possession. She unclasped her hands from his arm, and as the colour came back to her cheeks she said, as he thought, more sweetly than she had ever spoken to him before--

"My friend, you have glorious nerves where physical danger is concerned, and now I freely forgive you for fainting in the Council-chamber when Martinov was executed. But don't try mine again like that if you can help it. For the moment I thought that the end of all things had come. Oh, look! What a paradise! Truly this is a lovely kingdom that you have brought me to!"

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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