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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

The Story Of The Master

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"Whether my friends would ever have accomplished this of themselves is doubtful, but suddenly the evidence of a pope of the Orthodox Church, to whom the spy who had put the forged letters in my hat had confessed the crime on his deathbed, placed the matter in such a strong clear light that not even the officialism of Russia could cloud it over. The case got to the ears of the Tsar, and an order was telegraphed to the Governor of Kara to release me and send me back to St. Petersburg on the conditions I have named.

"Think of the mockery of such a pardon as that! By the unlawful brutality of an official, who was not even reprimanded for what he had done, I was maimed, crippled, and disfigured for life, and now I was free to return to the land I had left on an errand of mercy, which tyranny and corruption had wilfully misconstrued into a mission of crime, and punished with the ruin of a once happy and useful life. That was bad enough, but worse was to come before the cup of my miseries should be full."

Natas was silent for a moment, and as he gazed into the fire the spasm of a great agony passed over his face, and two great tears welled up in his eyes and overflowed and ran down his cheeks on to his breast.

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"On receiving the order the governor telegraphed back that I was sick almost to death, and not able to bear the fatigue of the long, toilsome journey, and asked for further orders. As soon as this news reached my devoted wife she at once set out, in spite of all the entreaties of her friends and advisers, to cross the wastes of Siberia, and take her place at my bedside.

"It was winter time, and from Ekaterinenburg, where the rail ended in those days, the journey would have to be performed by sledge. She, therefore, took with her only one servant and a courier, that she might travel as rapidly as possible.

"She reached Tiumen, and there all trace was lost of her and her attendants. She vanished into that great white wilderness of ice and snow as utterly as though the grave had closed upon her. I knew nothing of her journey until I reached St. Petersburg many months afterwards.

"All that money could do was done to trace her, but all to no avail. The only official news that ever came back out of that dark world of death and misery was that she had started from one of the post-stations a few hours before a great snowstorm had come on, that she had never reached the next station--and after that all was mystery.

"Five years passed. I had returned to find my little daughter well and blooming into youthful beauty, and my affairs prospering in skilful and honest hands. I was richer in wealth than I had ever been, and in happiness poorer than a beggar, while the shadow of that awful uncertainty hung over me.

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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