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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

An Embassy From The Sky

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On the journey the elevation was increased to more than four thousand feet,--an elevation at which both the Ithuriel and her captive, and especially the former, presented practically impossible marks for the Russian riflemen. Almost immediately over Cüstrin they came to a standstill, and then Colonel Alexandrovitch and Professor Volnow were summoned by Natas into the deck saloon.

He explained to them the mission which he desired them to undertake, that is to say, the conveyance of a letter from himself to the Tzar offering terms for the surrender of the Lucifer. They accepted the mission; and in order that they might fully understand the gravity of it, Natas read them the letter, which ran as follows:-


    Three days ago one of my fleet of air-ships, named the Lucifer, was
    delivered into your hands by traitors and deserters, whose lives are
    forfeit in virtue of the oaths which they took of their own free will. I
    have already taken measures to render abortive the analysis which you
    ordered to be performed in the chemical department of your Arsenal at
    St. Petersburg, and I have now come to make terms, if possible, for the
    restoration of the air-ship. Those terms are as follows--

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    An hour before daybreak this morning I captured nine of your war
    balloons, after destroying three others which attempted to escape. I
    have no desire to take any present part in the war which you are now
    carrying on with the Anglo-Teutonic Alliance, and if you will tell me
    where the Lucifer is now to be found, and will despatch orders both by
    land and through Professor Volnow, who brings this letter to you, and
    will return with your answer, for her to be given up to me forthwith
    with everything she has on board, and will surrender with her the four
    traitors who delivered her into your hands, I will restore the nine
    war-balloons to you intact, and when I have recovered the Lucifer I will
    take no further part in the war unless either you or your opponents
    proceed to unjustifiable extremities.

    If you reject these terms, or if I do not receive an answer to this
    letter within two hours of the time that the bearer of it descends in
    the aerostat, I shall give orders for the immediate destruction of the
    war-balloons now in my hands, and I shall then proceed to destroy
    Cüstrin and the other aerostats which are moored near the town. That
    done I shall, for the time being, devote the force at my disposal to the
    defence of Berlin, and do my utmost to bring about the defeat and
    dispersal of the army which will then no longer be commanded by yourself.

    In case you may doubt what I say as to the capture of the fleet of
    war-balloons, Professor Volnow will be accompanied by Colonel Alexei
    Alexandrovitch, late in command of the squadron, and now my prisoner of


The ambassadors were at once transferred to the aerostat, and with a white flag hoisted on the after stays of the balloon she began to sink rapidly towards the earth, and at the same time Natas gave orders for the Ithuriel to ascend to a height of eight thousand feet in order to frustrate any attempts that might be made, whether with or without the orders of the Tzar, to injure her by means of a volley from the earth.

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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