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0100_005E The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

Learning The Part

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He had heard this as plainly as though it had been said to him with the lips of flesh, and he had acquiesced in the imperious claim with a glad submission which had yet to be tinged with the hope that it might some day become a mastery.

Thus, as the silent, sleepless hours went by, did he review over and over again the position in which he found himself on the threshold of his strange new life, until at last physical exhaustion brought sleep to his eyes if not to his brain, and he found himself flying over the hills and vales of dreamland in his air-ship, with the roar of battle and the smoke of ruined towns far beneath him, and Natasha at his side, sharing with him the dominion of the air that his genius had won.

At length Colston came in to tell him that the breakfast was spoiling, and that it was high time to get up if they intended to be in time for their appointment at Chelsea. This brought him out of bed with effective suddenness, and he made a hasty toilet for breakfast, leaving more important preparations until afterwards.

During the meal their conversation naturally turned chiefly on the visit that they were to pay, and Colston took the opportunity of explaining one or two things that it was necessary for him to know with regard to the new acquaintance that he was about to make at Chelsea.

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"So far as the outside world is concerned," said he, "Natasha is the niece of the Princess Ornovski. She is the daughter of a sister of hers, who married an English gentleman, named Darrel, who was drowned with his wife about twelve years ago, when the Albania was wrecked off the coast of Portugal. The Princess had a sister, who was drowned with her husband in the Albania, and she left a daughter about Natasha's then age, but who died of consumption shortly after in Nice.

"Under these circumstances, it was, of course, perfectly easy for the Princess to adopt Natasha, and introduce her into Society as her niece as soon as she reached the age of coming out.

"This has been of immense service to the Brotherhood, as the Princess is, as I told you, one of the most implicitly trusted allies of the Petersburg police. She is received at the Russian Court, and is therefore able to take Natasha into the best Russian Society, where her extraordinary beauty naturally enables her to break as many hearts as she likes and to learn secrets which are of the greatest importance to the Brotherhood.

"Her Society name is Fedora Darrel, and it will scarcely be necessary to tell you that outside our own Circle no such being as Natasha has any existence."

"I perfectly understand," replied Arnold. "The name shall never pass my lips save in privacy, and indeed it is hardly likely that it will ever do so even then, for your habit of calling each other by your Christian names is too foreign to my British insularity."

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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