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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

The Turn Of The Battle-Tide

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As soon as it was light enough for Arnold to see clearly that the fate of the Russians was finally decided, he descended to the earth, and, after complimenting the commander and officers of the Federation troops on the splendid effectiveness of their force, and their admirable discipline and coolness, he gave orders for a two hours' rest and then a march on the Russian headquarters at Muswell Hill with every available man. The Tsar and his Staff were to be taken alive at all hazards; every other Russian who did not wear the International ribbon was to be shot down without mercy.

These orders given, the Ithuriel mounted into the air again, and disappeared in the direction of London. She passed over the now shattered and silent entrenchments of the Russians at a speed which made it possible to remain on deck without discomfort or danger, and at an elevation of two thousand feet. Natas was below in the saloon, alone with his own thoughts, the thoughts of twenty years of waiting and working and gradual approach to the hour of vengeance which was now so near. Andrew Smith was steering in the wheel-house, Lieutenant Marston was taking his watch below, after being on deck nearly the whole of the previous night, and Arnold and Natasha, wrapped in their warm furs, were pacing up and down the deck engaged in conversation which had not altogether to do with war.

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The sun had risen before the Ithuriel passed over London, and through the clear, cold air they could see with their field-glasses signs of carnage and destruction which made Natasha's soul sicken within her to gaze upon them, and even shook Arnold's now hardened nerves. All the main thoroughfares leading into London from the north and south were choked with heaps of dead bodies in Russian, French, and Italian uniforms, in the midst of which those who still survived were being forced forward by the pressure of those behind. Every house that remained standing was spouting flames upon them from its windows; and where the streets opened into squares and wider streets there were barricades manned with British and Federation troops, and from their summits and loopholes the quick-firing guns were raining an incessant hail of shot and shell upon the struggling masses pent up in the streets.

A horrible chorus of the rattle of small arms, the harsh, grinding roar of the machine guns, the hurrahs of the defenders, and the cries of rage and agony from the baffled and decimated assailants, rose unceasingly to their ears as they passed over the last battlefield of the Western nations, where the Anglo-Saxon, the Russ, and the Gaul were locked in the death struggle.

"There is some awful work going on down there," said Arnold, as they headed away towards the south, where, from behind the Surrey hills, soon came the sound of some tremendous conflict. "For the present we must leave them to fight it out. They don't seem to have had such easy work of it to the south as we have had to the north; but I didn't expect they would, for they have probably detached a very much larger force of French and Italians to attack the Army of the South than the Russian lot we had to deal with."

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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