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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

Learning The Part

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"It is a Russian habit, as you, of course, know, and added to that, we are, so far as the Cause is concerned, all brothers and sisters together, and so it comes natural to us. Anyhow, you will have to use it with Natasha, for in the Circle she has no other name, and to call her Miss Darrel there would be to produce something like an earthquake."

"Oh, in that case, I daresay I shall be able to avoid the calamity, though there will seem to be a presumption about it that will not make me very comfortable at first."

"Too much like addressing one's sweetheart, eh?"

This brought the conversation to a sudden stop, for Arnold's only reply to it was a quick flush, and a lapse into silence that was a good deal more eloquent than any verbal reply could have been. Colston noticed it with a smile, and got up and lit a pipe.

For the first time for a good few years Arnold took considerable pains with his toilet that morning. A new fit-out had just been delivered by a tailor who had promised the things within twenty-four hours, and had kept his word. The consequences were that he was able to array himself in perfect morning costume, from his hat to his boots, and that was what it had not been his to do since he left college.

Colston had recommended him in his easy friendly way to pay scrupulous attention to externals in the part that he would henceforth have to play before the world. He fully saw the wisdom of this advice, for he knew that, however well a part may be played, if it is not dressed to perfection, some sharp eyes will see that it is a part and not a reality.

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The playing of his part was to begin that day, and he recognised that at least one of the purposes of his visit to Natasha was the determining of what that part was to be. He thus looked forward with no little curiosity to the events of the afternoon, quite apart from the supreme interest that centred in his hostess. They started out nearly a couple of hours before they were due at Cheyne Walk, as they had several orders to give with regard to Arnold's outfit for the journey that was before him; and this done, they reached the house about a quarter of an hour before lunch time.

They were received in the most delightful of sitting-rooms by a very handsome, aristocratic-looking woman, who might have been anywhere between forty and fifty. She shook hands very cordially with Arnold, saying as she did so--

"Welcome, Richard Arnold! The friends of the Cause are mine, and I have heard much about you already from Natasha, so that I already seem to know you. I am very sorry that I was not able to be at the Circle last night to see what you had to show. Natasha tells me that it is quite a miracle of genius."

"She is too generous in her praise," replied Arnold, speaking as quietly as he could in spite of the delight that the words gave him. "It is no miracle, but only the logical result of thought and work. Still, I hope that it will be found to realise its promise when the time of trial comes."

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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