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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith


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A powerful field searchlight had been fixed on the roof of the Palace, and, as it flashed hither and thither round the area of the battle, he saw fresh hosts of the British and Federation soldiers pouring in upon the scene of action, while his own men were being mown down by thousands under the concentrated fire of millions of rifles, and his regiments torn to fragments by the incessant storm of explosives from the sky.

Hour after hour the savage fight went on, and the grey and red lines fought their way up and up the slopes, drawing the ring of flame and steel closer and closer round the summit of the hill on which the Autocrat of the North stood waiting for the hour of his fate to strike.

The last line of the defenders of the position was reached at length. For an hour it held firm in spite of the fearful odds. Then it wavered and bent, and swayed to and fro in a last agony of desperation. The encircling lines seemed to surge backwards for a space. Then came a wild chorus of hurrahs, a swift forward rush of levelled bayonets, the clash of steel upon steel--and then butchery, vengeful and pitiless.

The red tide of slaughter surged up to the very walls of the Palace. Only a few yards separated the foremost ranks of the victorious assailants from the little group of officers, in the midst of which towered the majestic figure of the White Tsar--an emperor without an empire, a leader without an army. He strode forward towards the line of bayonets fringing the crest of the hill, drew his sword, snapped the blade as a man would break a dry stick, and threw the two pieces to the ground, saying in English as he did so--

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"It is enough, I surrender!"

Then he turned on his heel, and with bowed head walked back again to his Staff.

Almost at the same moment a blaze of white light appeared in the sky, a hundred feet above the heads of the vast throng that encircled the Palace. Millions of eyes were turned up at once, and beheld a vision which no one who saw it forgot to the day of his death.

The ten air-ships of the Terrorist fleet were ranged in two curves on either side of the Ithuriel, which floated about twenty feet below them, her silvery hull bathed in a flood of light from their electric lamps. In her bow, robed in glistening white fur, stood Natasha, transfigured in the full blaze of the concentrated searchlights. A silence of wonder and expectation fell upon the millions at her feet, and in the midst of it she began to sing the Hymn of Freedom. It was like the voice of an angel singing in the night of peace after strife.

Men of every nation in Europe listened to her entranced, as she changed from language to language; and when at last the triumphant strains of the Song of the Revolution came floating down from her lips through the still night air, an irresistible impulse ran through the listening millions, and with one accord they took up the refrain in all the languages of Europe, and a mighty flood of exultant song rolled up in wave after wave from earth to heaven,--a song at once of victory and thanksgiving, for the last battle of the world-war had been lost and won, and the valour and genius of Anglo-Saxondom had triumphed over the last of the despotisms of Europe.

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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