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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

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As the train drew up in King's Cross station at twelve the next day, almost the first words that Tremayne heard were--

"Special Pall Mall, sir! Appearance of the mysterious air-ship over Plymouth this morning! Great battle in Austria yesterday, defeat of the Austrians--awful slaughter with war-balloons! Special!"

The boy was selling the papers as fast as he could hand them out to the eager passengers. Tremayne secured one, shut the door of the saloon again, and, turning to the middle page, read aloud to Natas--

    "We have just received a telegram from our Plymouth correspondent, to
    say that soon after daybreak this morning torpedo-boat No. 157 steamed
    into the Sound, bringing the news that she had sighted a large
    five-masted air-ship about ten miles from the coast, when in company
    with the cruiser Ariadne, whose commander had despatched her with the
    news. Hardly had the report been received when the air-ship herself
    passed over Mount Edgcumbe and came towards the town.

    "The news spread like wildfire, and in a few minutes the streets were
    filled with crowds of people, who had thrown on a few clothes and rushed
    out to get a look at the strange visitant. At first it was thought that
    an attack on the arsenal was intended by the mysterious vessel, and the
    excitement had risen almost to the pitch of panic, when it was observed
    that she was flying a plain white flag, and that her intentions were
    apparently peaceful.

    "Panic then gave place to curiosity. The air-ship crossed the town at an
    elevation of about 3000 feet, described a complete circle round it in
    the space of a few minutes, and then suddenly shot up into the air and
    vanished to the southwestward at an inconceivable speed. The vessel is
    described as being about a hundred feet long, and was apparently armed
    with eight guns. Her hull was of white polished metal, probably
    aluminium, and shone like silver in the sunlight.

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    "The wildest rumours are current as to the object of her visit, but of
    course no credence can be attached to any of them. The vessel is plainly
    of the same type as that which destroyed Kronstadt two months ago, but
    larger and more powerful. The inference is that she is one of a fleet in
    the hands of the Terrorists, and the profoundest uncertainty and anxiety
    prevail throughout naval and military circles everywhere as to the use
    that they may make of these appalling means of destruction should they
    take any share in the war."

"Humph!" said Tremayne, as he finished reading. "Johnston's telegram must have crossed us on the way, but I shall find one at the club. Well, we have no time to lose, for we ought to start for Plymouth this evening. Your men will take you straight to the Great Western Hotel, and I will hurry my business through as fast as possible, and meet you there in time to catch the 6.30. At this rate we shall meet the Aurania soon after she leaves New York."

Within the next six hours Tremayne transferred the whole of his vast property in a single instrument to his promised wife, thus making her the richest woman in England; handed the precious deeds to her astonished father; obtained his promise to take his wife and daughter to Alanmere at the end of the London season, and to remain there with her until he returned to reclaim her and his estates together; and said good-bye to Lady Muriel herself in an interview which was a good deal longer than that which he had with his bewildered and somewhat scandalised lawyers, who had never before been forced to rush any transaction through at such an indecent speed. Had Lord Alanmere not been the best client in the kingdom, they might have rebelled against such an outrage on the law's time-honoured delays; but he was not a man to be trifled with, and so the work was done and an unbeatable record in legal despatch accomplished, albeit very unwillingly by the men of law.

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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