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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

The Story Of The Master

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"Thus was I doomed by the trick of some police spy to pass what bade fair to be the remainder of a life that had been so bright and full of fair promise in hopeless exile, torment, and degradation--and all because I protested against injustice and made myself obnoxious to the Russian police.

"As the chain-gang that I was attached to left Moscow, I found to my intense grief that the good Jew and his wife who had given me shelter were also members of it. They had been convicted of 'harbouring a political conspirator,' and sentenced to five years' hard labour, and then exile for life, as 'politicals,' which, as you no doubt know, meant that, if they survived the first part of their sentence, they would be allowed to settle in an allotted part of Southern Siberia, free in everything but permission to leave the country.

"Were I to talk till this time to-morrow I could not properly describe to you all the horrors of that awful journey along the Great Siberian road, from the Pillar of Farewells that marks the boundary between Europe and Asia across the frightful snowy wastes to Kara.

"The hideous story has been told again and again without avail to the Christian nations of Europe, and they have permitted that awful crime against humanity to be committed year after year without even a protest, in obedience to the miserable principles that bade them to place policy before religion and the etiquette of nations before the everlasting laws of God.

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"After two years of heartbreaking toil at the mines my health utterly broke down. One day I fell fainting under the lash of the brutal overseer, and as I lay on the ground he ran at me and kicked me twice with his heavy iron-shod boots, once on the hip, breaking the bone, and once on the lower part of the spine, crushing the spinal cord, and paralysing my lower limbs for ever.

"As this did not rouse me from my fainting-fit, the heartless fiend snatched a torch from the wall of the mine-gallery and thrust the burning end in my long thick beard, setting it on fire and scorching my flesh horribly, as you can see. I was carried out of the mine and taken to the convict hospital, where I lay for weeks between life and death, and only lived instead of died because of the quenchless spirit that was within me crying out for vengeance on my tormentors.

"When I came back to consciousness, the first thing I learnt was that I was free to return to England on condition that I did not stop on my way through Russia.

"My friends, urged on by the tireless energy of my wife's anxious love, had at last found out what had befallen me, and proceedings had been instituted to establish the innocence that had been betrayed by a common and too well-known device used by the Russian police to secure the conviction and removal of those who have become obnoxious to the bureaucracy.

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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