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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

On The Track Of Treason

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"Order arms, and keep silence!" said the officer, and then he advanced alone from the crowd and said--

"Who are you, and what is your errand?"

"Alexis Mazanoff, late prisoner of the Tsar, and now commander of the Terrorist air-ship Ariel. I have not come to destroy you unless you force me to do so, but to ask certain questions, and demand the giving up of certain property delivered into your hands by deserters and traitors."

"What are your questions?"

"First, is Professor Volnow in the building?"

"He is."

"Then I must ask you to send for him at once."

It went sorely against the grain of the servant of the Tsar to acquiesce in the demand of an outlaw, but there was nothing else for it. The outlaw could blow him and all his subordinates into space with a pressure of his finger; and so he sent an orderly with a request for the presence of the professor. Meanwhile Mazanoff continued--

"An air-ship similar to this arrived here three days ago, I believe?"

The officer bit his lips with rage at his helpless position, and bowed affirmatively.

"And certain articles were taken out of her for examination here--two gas cylinders and a projectile, I believe?"

Again the officer bowed, wondering how on earth the Terrorist could have come by such accurate information.

"And the air-ship has been sent on to the seat of war, while the Professor is trying to discover the composition of the gases and the explosive used in the shell?" went on Mazanoff, risking a last shot at the truth.

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The officer did not bow this time. Giving way at last to his rising fury, he stamped on the ground and almost screamed--

"Great God! you insolent scoundrel! Why do you ask me questions when you know the answers as well as I do, and better? Yes, we have got one of your diabolical ships of the air, and we will build a fleet like it and hunt you from the world!"

"All in good time, my dear sir," replied Mazanoff ironically. "When you have found a place in which to build them that we cannot blow off the face of the earth before you get one finished. Meanwhile, let me beg of you to keep your temper, and to remember that there is a lady present. That girl standing yonder by the gun was once stripped and flogged by Russians calling themselves men and soldiers. Her fingers are itching to make the movement that would annihilate you and every one standing near you, so pray try keep your temper; for if we fire a shot the air-ships up yonder will at once open fire, and not stop while there is a stone of that building left upon another. Ah! here comes the Professor."

As he spoke the man of science advanced, looking wonderingly at the air-ship. Mazanoff made a sign to the old officer to keep silence, and continued in the same polite tone that he had used all along--

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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