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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

Between Two Lives

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Then, too, from the coasts and islands vast fleets of war-ships put out, pouring their clouds of smoke to the sky, and making swiftly for the southward and westward, where from other coasts and islands other vessels put out to meet them, and, meeting them, were lost with them under great clouds of grey smoke, through which flashed incessantly long livid tongues of flame.

Then, like a panorama rolled away from him, the mighty picture receded and new lands came into view, familiar lands which he had traversed often. They too were black and wasted with the tempest of war from east to west, but nevertheless those swarming streams came on, countless and undiminished, up out of the south and east, while on the western verge vast armies and fleets battled desperately with each other on sea and land, as though they heeded not those locust swarms of dusky millions coming ever nearer and nearer.

Once more the scene rolled backwards, and he saw a mighty city closely beleaguered by two vast hosts of men, who slowly pushed their batteries forward until they planted them on all the surrounding heights and poured a hail of shot and shell upon the swarming, helpless millions that were crowded within the impassable ring of fire and smoke. Above the devoted city swam in mid-air strange shapes like monstrous birds of prey, and beneath where they floated the earth seemed ever and anon to open and belch forth smoke and flame into which the crumbling houses fell and burnt in heaps of shapeless ruins. Then--

He felt a cool hand laid almost caressingly on his brow, and the voice of Natas said beside him--

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"That is enough. You have seen the Field of Armageddon, and when the day of battle comes you shall be there and play the part allotted to you from the beginning. Do you believe?"

"Yes," replied Tremayne, rising wearily from his chair, "I believe; and as the task is, so may Heaven make my strength in the stress of battle!"

"Amen!" said Natas very solemnly

That night the young Lord of Alanmere went sleepless to bed, and lay awake till dawn, revolving over and over again in his mind the marvellous things that he had seen and heard and the tremendous task to which he had now irrevocably committed himself for good or evil. In all these waking dreams there was ever present before his mental vision the face of a woman whose beauty was like and yet unlike that of the daughter of Natas. It lacked the brilliance and subtle charm which in Natasha so wondrously blended the dusky beauty of the daughters of the South with the fairer loveliness of the daughters of the North; but it atoned for this by that softer grace and sweetness which is the highest charm of purely English beauty.

It was the face of the woman whom, in that portion of his strange double life which had been free from the mysterious influence of Natas, he had loved with well-assured hope that she would one day rule his house and broad domains with him. She was now Lady Muriel Penarth, the daughter of Lord Marazion, a Cornish nobleman, whose estates abutted on those which belonged to Lord Alanmere as Baron Tremayne, of Tremayne, in the county of Cornwall, as the Peerage had it. Noble alike by lineage and nature, no fairer mistress could have been found for the lands of Tremayne and Alanmere, but--what seas of blood and flame now lay between him and the realisation of his love-ideal!

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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