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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

The "Ariel"

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"Now, you shall see her fly," said Arnold, taking a speaking-tube from the wall and whistling thrice into it. Colston felt a slight tremor in the deck beneath his feet, and then a lifting movement. He staggered a little, and said to Arnold--

"What's that? Are we going higher still? "

"Yes," replied the engineer." She is feeling the air-planes now under the increased speed. I am going up to fifteen hundred feet, so that we shall only have the highest peaks to steer clear of in crossing Scotland. Now, use your eyes, and you will see something worth looking at."

The upper part of the wheel-house was constructed almost entirely of glass, and so Colston could see just as well as if he had been on deck outside. He did use his eyes. In fact, for some time to come, all his other senses seemed to be merged in that of sight, for the scene was one of such rare and marvellous beauty, and the sensations that it called up were of so completely novel a nature, that, for the time being, he felt as though he had been suddenly transported into fairyland.

The cloud-sea now lay about seven hundred feet beneath them. The sun had sunk quite below the horizon, even at that elevation; but his absence was more than made up for by the nearly full moon, which had risen to the southward, as though to greet the conqueror of the air, and was spreading a flood of silvery radiance over the snowy plain beneath, through the great gaps in which they could see the darker sheen of the moving sea-waves.

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Their course lay almost exactly along the fifty-sixth parallel of latitude, and took them across Argyle, Dumbarton, and Stirlingshire to the head of the Firth of Forth. As they approached the mainland, Colston saw one or two peaks rise up out of the clouds, and soon they were sweeping along in the midst of a score or so of these. To the left Ben Lomond towered into the clear sky above his attendant peaks, and to the right the lower summits of the Campsie Fells soon rose a few miles ahead.

The rapidity with which these mountain-tops rose up on either side, and were left behind, proved to Colston that the Ariel must be travelling at a tremendous speed, and yet, but for a very slight quivering of the deck, there was no motion perceptible, so smoothly did the air-ship glide through the elastic medium in which she floated.

So engrossed was he with the unearthly beauty of the new world into which he had risen, that for nearly two hours he stood without speaking a word. Arnold, wrapped in his own thoughts, maintained a like silence, and so they sped on amidst a stillness that was only broken by the soft whirring of the propellers, and the singing of the wind past the masts and stays.

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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