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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

For Life Or Death

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Then the door opened softly and Soudeikin and Colston slipped into the room. The former shook him by the shoulder His eyes remained half closed, his head lolled loosely from side to side, and his arms hung heavily downwards.

"He's gone," whispered Soudeikin; and, without another word, they set to work to strip the uniform off the lifeless body. Then Colston dressed himself in it and gave his own clothes to Soudeikin.

As soon as the change was effected, Colston took the keys and went to the door at which the sentry was keeping guard. The man was already half asleep, and blinked at him with drowsy eyes as he challenged him. For all answer the Terrorist levelled his pistol at his head and fired. There was a sharp crack that could hardly have been heard on the other side of the wall, and the man tumbled down with a bullet through his brain.

Colston stepped over the corpse, unlocked the door, and found Natasha and the Princess already dressed in male attire as two peasant boys, with sheepskin coats and shapkas, and wide trousers tucked into their half boots. These disguises had been provided beforehand by Soudeikin, and hidden in the bed in which they were to sleep.

Colston grasped their hands in silence, and the three left the room. In the passage they found Ivan and Soudeikin, the former dressed in the uniform of the soldier who had been on guard outside the house, and whose half-stripped corpse was now lying buried in the snow.

"Ready?" whispered Soudeikin.

"Have you finished in there?" asked Colston, jerking his thumb towards the sitting-room.

Soudeikin nodded in reply, and the five left the house by the back door.

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It was then after half-past four. Fortunately it was a dark cloudy morning, and the streets of the town were utterly deserted. By ones and twos they stole through the by-streets and lanes without meeting a soul, until Soudeikin at length stopped at a house on the eastern edge of the town about a mile from the Tobolsk road.

He tapped at one of the windows. The door was softly opened by an invisible hand, and they entered and passed through a dark passage and out into a stable-yard behind the house. Under a shed they found a troika, or three-horse sleigh, with the horses ready harnessed, in charge of a man dressed as a mujik.

They got in without a word, all but Soudeikin, who went to the horses' heads, while the other man went and opened the gates of the yard. The bells had been removed from the harness, and the horses' feet made no sound as Soudeikin led them out through the gate. Ivan took the reins, and Colston held out his hand from the sleigh. There was a roll of notes in it, and as he gave it to Soudeikin he whispered--

"Farewell! If we succeed, the Master shall know how well you have done your part."

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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