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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

The House On Clapham Common

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"Well said!" replied Colston, "and just what I expected you to say. Now listen to me for a minute. Whatever you may see or hear for the next few minutes say nothing till you are asked to speak. I will say all that is necessary at first. Ask no questions, but trust to anything that may seem strange being explained in due course--as it will be. A single indiscretion on your part might raise suspicions which would be as dangerous as they would be unfounded. When you are asked to speak do so without the slightest fear, and speak your mind as openly as you have done to me."

"You need have no fear for me," replied Arnold. "I think I am sensible enough to be prudent, and I am quite sure that I am desperate enough to be fearless. Little worse can happen to me than the fate that I was contemplating last night."

As he ceased speaking there was a knock at the door. It opened and the footman reappeared, saying in the most commonplace fashion--

"Mr. Smith will be happy to see you now, gentlemen. Will you kindly walk this way?"

They followed him out into the hall, and then, somewhat to Arnold's surprise, down the stairs at the back, which apparently led to the basement of the house.

The footman preceded them to the basement floor and halted before a door in a little passage that looked like the entrance to a coal cellar. On this he knocked in peculiar fashion with the knuckles of one hand, while with the other he pressed the button of an electric bell concealed under the paper on the wall. The bell sounded faintly as though some distance off, and as it rang the footman said abruptly to Colston--

"Das Wort ist Freiheit."

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Arnold knew German enough to know that this meant "The word is 'Freedom'", but why it should have been spoken in a foreign language mystified him not a little.

While he was thinking about this the door opened, as if by a released spring, and he saw before him a long, narrow passage, lit by four electric arcs, and closed at the other end by a door, guarded by a sentry armed with a magazine rifle.

He followed Colston down the passage, and when within a dozen feet of the sentry, he brought his rifle to the "ready," and the following strange dialogue ensued between him and Colston--

"Quien va?"

"Zwei Freunde der Bruderschaft."

"Por la libertad?"

"Für Freiheit über alles!"

"Pass, friends."

The rifle grounded as the words were spoken, and the sentry stepped back to the wall of the passage.

At the same moment another bell rang beyond the door, and then the door itself opened as the other had done. They passed through, and it closed instantly behind them, leaving them in total darkness.

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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