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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

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By midnight the Lurline ostensibly bound for Queenstown, had cleared the Sound, and, with the Eddystone Light on her port bow, headed away at full-speed to the westward. She was about the fastest yacht afloat, and at a pinch could be driven a good twenty-seven miles an hour through the water. As both Natas and Tremayne were anxious to join the air-ship as soon as possible, every ounce of steam that her boilers would stand was put on, and she slipped along in splendid style through the long, dark seas that came rolling smoothly up Channel from the westward.

In an hour and a half after passing the Eddystone she sighted the Lizard Light, and by the time she had brought it well abeam the first interruption of her voyage occurred. A huge, dark mass loomed suddenly up out of the darkness of the moonless night, then a blinding, dazzling ray of light shot across the water from the searchlight of a battleship that was patrolling the coast, attended by a couple of cruisers and four torpedo-boats. One of these last came flying towards the yacht down the white path of the beam of light, and Tremayne, seeing that he would have to give an account of himself, stopped his engines and waited for the torpedo-boat to come within hail.

"Steamer ahoy! Who are you? and where are you going to at that speed?"

"This is the Lurline, the Earl of Alanmere's yacht, from Plymouth to Queenstown. We're only going at our usual speed."

"Oh, if it's the Lurline, you needn't say that," answered the officer who had hailed from the torpedo-boat, with a laugh. "Is Lord Alanmere on board?"

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"Yes, here I am," said Tremayne, replying instead of his sailing-master. "Is that you, Selwyn? I thought I recognised your voice."

"Yes, it's I, or rather all that's left of me after two months in this buck-jumping little brute of a craft. She bobs twice in the same hole every time, and if it's a fairly deep hole she just dives right through and out on the other side; and there are such a lot of Frenchmen about that we get no rest day or night on this patrolling business."

"Very sorry for you, old man; but if you will seek glory in a torpedo-boat, I don't see that you can expect anything else. Will you come on board and have a drink?"

"No, thanks. Very sorry, but I can't stop. By the way have you heard of that air-ship that was over this way this morning? I wonder what the deuce it really is, and what it's up to?"

"I've heard of it; it was in the London papers this morning. Have you seen any more of it?"

"Oh yes; the thing was cruising about in mid-air all this morning, taking stock of us and the Frenchmen too, I suppose. She vanished during the afternoon. Where to, I don't know. It's awfully humiliating, you know, to be obliged to crawl about here on the water, at twenty-five knots at the utmost, while that fellow is flying a hundred miles an hour or so through the clouds without turning a hair, or I ought to say without as much as a puff of smoke. He seems to move of his own mere volition. I wonder what on earth he is."

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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