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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

The End Of The Chase

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As soon as these had been replaced by a crew drafted from the Ithuriel and her consorts under the command of Lieutenant Marston, Arnold gave the order to go ahead at fifty miles an hour to the northward, and the four air-ships immediately sped away in that direction, leaving Aberdeen to its fate, and within a little over an hour the sounds of both storm and battle had died away in silence behind them.

When they were fairly under way Natas ordered the four deserters to be brought before him in the after saloon of the flagship. He sat at one end of the table, and they were placed in a line in front of him at the other, each with a guard behind him, and the muzzle of a pistol at his head.

"Peter Tamboff, Amos Vornjeh, Ivan Tscheszco, and Paul Oreloff! you have broken your oaths, betrayed your companions, deserted the Cause to which you devoted your lives, and placed in the hands of the Russian tyrant the means of destruction which has enabled him to break the blockade of the Baltic, and so perhaps to change the whole course of the war which he is now waging, as you well know, with the object of conquering Europe and enslaving its peoples.

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"Already the lives of thousands of better men than you have been lost through this vile treason of yours, the vilest of all treason, for it was committed for love of money. By the laws of the Brotherhood your lives are forfeit, and if you had a hundred lives each they would be forfeited again by the calamities that your treason has brought, and will bring, upon the world. You will die in half an hour. If you have any preparations to make for the next world, make them. I have done with you. Go!"

Half an hour later the four deserters were taken up on to the deck of the Ithuriel. The signal was given to stop the flotilla, which was then flying three thousand feet above the waters of the Moray Firth. As soon as they came to a standstill their crews were summoned on deck. The three smaller vessels floated around the Ithuriel at a distance of about fifty yards from her. The traitors, bound hand and foot, were stood up facing the rail of the flagship, and four of her crew were stationed opposite to them on the other side of the deck with loaded rifles.

They were allowed one last look upon sun and sky, and then their eyes were bandaged. As soon as this was done Arnold raised his hand; the four rifles came up to the ready; a stream of flame shot from the muzzles, and the bodies of the four traitors lurched forward over the rail and disappeared into the abyss beneath.

"Now, gentlemen," said Arnold in French, turning to the two Russian officers who had been spectators of the scene, "that is how we punish traitors. Your own lives are spared because we do not murder prisoners of war. You will, I hope, in due time return to your master, and you will tell him why we have been obliged to retake the air-ship which he surrendered to us by force, and therefore why we destroyed his flagship in the North Sea. If Admiral Prabylov had obeyed his orders, the Lucifer would have been surrendered to us quietly, and there would have been for the present no further trouble.

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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