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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

Between Two Lives

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"He alone of the outside world possessed the secret of the Terror. A woman of the Outer Circle in Paris had allowed her love for him to overcome her duty to the Brotherhood, and had betrayed what she could, in order, as she vainly thought, to shield him from its vengeance for the executive murders of the year before. He too had on him the draft of the secret treaty, the possession of which has enabled us to control the drift of European politics at the most crucial time.

"Had he escaped, not only would hundreds of lives have been sacrificed on suspicion to Russian official vengeance, but Russia and France would now be masters of the British line of communication to the East, for it would not have been possible for Mr. Balfour to have been forewarned, and therefore forearmed, in time to double the Mediterranean Squadron as he has done. Surely one Russian's life is not too great a price to pay for all that."

"I do not care for the man's life, for he was an enemy, and even then plotting the ruin of my own country in the dark. It is not the killing, but the manner of it. England does not fight her battles with the assassin's knife, and his blood is on my hands "--

"On your hands, perhaps, but not on your soul. It is on mine, and I will answer for it when we stand face to face at the Bar where all secrets are laid bare. The man deserved death, for he was plotting the death of thousands. What matter then how or by whose hands he died?

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"It is time the world had done with these miserable sophistries, and these spurious distinctions between murder by wholesale and by retail, and it soon will have done with them. I, by your hand, killed Dornovitch in his sleep. That was murder, says the legal casuist. You read this morning in the Times how one of the Russian war-balloons went the night before last and hung in the darkness over a sleeping town on the Austrian frontier, and dropped dynamite shells upon it, killing and maiming hundreds who had no personal quarrel with Russia. That is war, and therefore lawful!

"Nonsense, my friend, nonsense! There is no difference. All violence is crime, if you will, but it is a question of degree only. The world is mad on this subject of war. It considers the horrible thing honourable, and gives its highest distinctions to those who shed blood most skilfully on the battlefield, and the triumphs that are won by superior force or cunning are called glorious, and those who achieve them the nations fall down and worship.

"The nations must be taught wisdom, for war has had victims enough. But men are still foolish, and to cure them a terrible lesson will be necessary. But that lesson shall be taught, even though the whole earth be turned into a battlefield, and all the dwellings of men into charnel-houses, in order to teach it to them."

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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