Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

El Dorado by Baroness Orczy

Part 2 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

further interest in what goes on inside this prison!"

"Three thousand five hundred!" ejaculated Heron involuntarily, and
this time even his eyes lost their cruelty; they joined issue with
the mouth in an expression of hungering avarice.

"Two little zeros added to the thirty-five, which is all you would
get for handing me over to your accursed Tribunal," said de Batz,
and, as if thoughtlessly, his hand wandered to the inner pocket of
his coat, and a slight rustle as of thin crisp paper brought drops
of moisture to the lips of Heron.

"Leave me alone for three weeks and the money is yours," concluded
de Batz pleasantly.

There was silence in the room now. Through the narrow barred
window the steely rays of the moon fought with the dim yellow
light of the oil lamp, and lit up the pale face of the Committee's
agent with its lines of cruelty in sharp conflict with those of

"Well! is it a bargain?" asked de Batz at last in his usual
smooth, oily voice, as he half drew from out his pocket that
tempting little bundle of crisp printed paper. "You have only to
give me the usual receipt for the money and it is yours."

Heron gave a vicious snarl.

"It is dangerous, I tell you. That receipt, if it falls into some
cursed meddler's hands, would send me straight to the guillotine."

"The receipt could only fall into alien hands," rejoined de Batz
blandly, "if I happened to be arrested, and even in that case they
could but fall into those of the chief agent of the Committee of
General Security, and he hath name Heron. You must take some
risks, my friend. I take them too. We are each in the other's
hands. The bargain is quite fair."

For a moment or two longer Heron appeared to be hesitating whilst
de Batz watched him with keen intentness. He had no doubt himself
as to the issue. He had tried most of these patriots in his own
golden crucible, and had weighed their patriotism against Austrian
money, and had never found the latter wanting.

He had not been here to-night if he were not quite sure. This
inveterate conspirator in the Royalist cause never took personal
risks. He looked on Heron now, smiling to himself the while with
perfect satisfaction.

"Very well," said the Committee's agent with sudden decision,
"I'll take the money. But on one condition."

"What is it?"

"That you leave little Capet alone."

"The Dauphin!"

"Call him what you like," said Heron, taking a step nearer to de
Batz, and from his great height glowering down in fierce hatred
and rage upon his accomplice; "call the young devil what you like,
but leave us to deal with him."

"To kill him, you mean? Well, how can I prevent it, my friend?"

"You and your like are always plotting to get him out of here. I
won't have it. I tell you I won't have it. If the brat disappears
I am a dead man. Robespierre and his gang have told me as much.
So you leave him alone, or I'll not raise a finger to help you, but
will lay my own hands on your accursed neck."

He looked so ferocious and so merciless then, that despite himself,
the selfish adventurer, the careless self-seeking intriguer, shuddered
with a quick wave of unreasoning terror. He turned away from Heron's
piercing gaze, the gaze of a hyena whose prey is being snatched from
beneath its nails. For a moment he stared thoughtfully into the fire.

He heard the other man's heavy footsteps cross and re-cross the
narrow room, and was conscious of the long curved shadow creeping
up the mildewed wall or retreating down upon the carpetless floor.

Suddenly, without any warning he felt a grip upon his shoulder.
He gave a start and almost uttered a cry of alarm which caused
Heron to laugh. The Committee's agent was vastly amused at his
friend's obvious access of fear. There was nothing that he liked
better than that he should inspire dread in the hearts of all
those with whom he came in contact

"I am just going on my usual nocturnal round," he said abruptly.
"Come with me, citizen de Batz."

A certain grim humour was apparent in his face as he proffered
this invitation, which sounded like a rough command. As de Batz
seemed to hesitate he nodded peremptorily to him to follow.
Already he had gone into the hall and picked up his lanthorn.
From beneath his waistcoat he drew forth a bunch of keys, which he
rattled impatiently, calling to his friend to come.

"Come, citizen," he said roughly. "I wish to show you the one
treasure in this house which your d--d fingers must not touch."

Mechanically de Batz rose at last. He tried to be master of the
terror which was invading his very bones. He would not own to
himself even that he was afraid, and almost audibly he kept
murmuring to himself that he had no cause for fear.

Heron would never touch him. The spy's avarice, his greed of
money were a perfect safeguard for any man who had the control of
millions, and Heron knew, of course, that he could make of this
inveterate plotter a comfortable source of revenue for himself.
Three weeks would soon be over, and fresh bargains could be made
time and again, while de Batz was alive and free.

Heron was still waiting at the door, even whilst de Batz wondered
what this nocturnal visitation would reveal to him of atrocity and
of outrage. He made a final effort to master his nervousness,
wrapped his cloak tightly around him, and followed his host out of
the room.


Once more he was being led through the interminable corridors of
the gigantic building. Once more from the narrow, barred windows
close by him he heard the heart-breaking sighs, the moans, the
curses which spoke of tragedies that he could only guess.

Heron was walking on ahead of him, preceding him by some fifty
metres or so, his long legs covering the distances more rapidly
than de Batz could follow them. The latter knew his way well
about the old prison. Few men in Paris possessed that accurate
knowledge of its intricate passages and its network of cells and
halls which de Batz had acquired after close and persevering

He himself could have led Heron to the doors of the tower where
the little Dauphin was being kept imprisoned, but unfortunately he
did not possess the keys that would open all the doors which led
to it. There were sentinels at every gate, groups of soldiers at
each end of every corridor, the great--now empty--courtyards,
thronged with prisoners in the daytime, were alive with soldiery
even now. Some walked up and down with fixed bayonet on shoulder,
others sat in groups on the stone copings or squatted on the
ground, smoking or playing cards, but all of them were alert and

Heron was recognised everywhere the moment he appeared, and though
in these days of equality no one presented arms, nevertheless
every guard stood aside to let him pass, or when necessary opened
a gate for the powerful chief agent of the Committee of General

Indeed, de Batz had no keys such as these to open the way for him
to the presence of the martyred little King.

Thus the two men wended their way on in silence, one preceding the
other. De Batz walked leisurely, thought-fully, taking stock of
everything he saw--the gates, the barriers, the positions of
sentinels and warders, of everything in fact that might prove a
help or a hindrance presently, when the great enterprise would be
hazarded. At last--still in the wake of Heron--he found himself
once more behind the main entrance gate, underneath the archway on
which gave the guichet of the concierge.

Here, too, there seemed to be an unnecessary number of soldiers:
two were doing sentinel outside the guichet, but there were others
in a file against the wall.

Heron rapped with his keys against the door of the concierge's
lodge, then, as it was not immediately opened from within, he
pushed it open with his foot.

"The concierge?" he queried peremptorily.

From a corner of the small panelled room there came a grunt and a

"Gone to bed, quoi!"

The man who previously had guided de Batz to Heron's door slowly
struggled to his feet. He had been squatting somewhere in the
gloom, and had been roused by Heron's rough command. He slouched
forward now still carrying a boot in one hand and a blacking brush
in the other.

"Take this lanthorn, then," said the chief agent with a snarl
directed at the sleeping concierge, "and come along. Why are you
still here?" he added, as if in after-thought.

"The citizen concierge was not satisfied with the way I had done
his boots," muttered the man, with an evil leer as he spat
contemptuously on the floor; "an aristo, quoi? A hell of a place
this ... twenty cells to sweep out every day ... and boots to
clean for every aristo of a concierge or warder who demands it....
Is that work for a free born patriot, I ask?"

"Well, if you are not satisfied, citoyen Dupont," retorted Heron
dryly, "you may go when you like, you know there are plenty of
others ready to do your work..."

"Nineteen hours a day, and nineteen sous by way of payment.... I
have had fourteen days of this convict work..."

He continued to mutter under his breath, whilst Heron, paying no
further heed to him, turned abruptly towards a group of soldiers
stationed outside.

"En avant, corporal!" he said; "bring four men with you ... we go
up to the tower."

The small procession was formed. On ahead the lanthorn-bearer,
with arched spine and shaking knees, dragging shuffling footsteps
along the corridor, then the corporal with two of his soldiers,
then Heron closely followed by de Batz, and finally two more
soldiers bringing up the rear.

Heron had given the bunch of keys to the man Dupont. The latter,
on ahead, holding the lanthorn aloft, opened one gate after
another. At each gate he waited for the little procession to file
through, then he re-locked the gate and passed on.

Up two or three flights of winding stairs set in the solid stone,
and the final heavy door was reached.

De Batz was meditating. Heron's precautions for the safe-guarding
of the most precious life in Europe were more complete than he had
anticipated. What lavish liberality would be required! what
superhuman ingenuity and boundless courage in order to break down
all the barriers that had been set up round that young life that
flickered inside this grim tower!

Of these three requisites the corpulent, complacent intriguer
possessed only the first in a considerable degree. He could be
exceedingly liberal with the foreign money which he had at his
disposal. As for courage and ingenuity, he believed that he
possessed both, but these qualities had not served him in very
good stead in the attempts which he had made at different times to
rescue the unfortunate members of the Royal Family from prison.
His overwhelming egotism would not admit for a moment that in
ingenuity and pluck the Scarlet Pimpernel and his English
followers could outdo him, but he did wish to make quite sure that
they would not interfere with him in the highly remunerative work
of saving the Dauphin.

Heron's impatient call roused him from these meditations. The
little party had come to a halt outside a massive iron-studded

At a sign from the chief agent the soldiers stood at attention.
He then called de Batz and the lanthorn-bearer to him.

He took a key from his breeches pocket, and with his own hand
unlocked the massive door. He curtly ordered the lanthorn-bearer
and de Batz to go through, then he himself went in, and finally
once more re-locked the door behind him, the soldiers remaining on
guard on the landing outside.

Now the three men were standing in a square antechamber, dank and
dark, devoid of furniture save for a large cupboard that filled
the whole of one wall; the others, mildewed and stained, were
covered with a greyish paper, which here and there hung away in

Heron crossed this ante-chamber, and with his knuckles rapped
against a small door opposite.

"Hola!" he shouted, "Simon, mon vieux, tu es la?"

From the inner room came the sound of voices, a man's and a
woman's, and now, as if in response to Heron's call, the shrill
tones of a child. There was some shuffling, too, of footsteps,
and some pushing about of furniture, then the door was opened, and
a gruff voice invited the belated visitors to enter.

The atmosphere in this further room was so thick that at first de
Batz was only conscious of the evil smells that pervaded it;
smells which were made up of the fumes of tobacco, of burning
coke, of a smoky lamp, and of stale food, and mingling through it
all the pungent odour of raw spirits.

Heron had stepped briskly in, closely followed by de Batz. The man
Dupont with a mutter of satisfaction put down his lanthorn and
curled himself up in a corner of the antechamber. His interest in
the spectacle so favoured by citizen Heron had apparently been
exhausted by constant repetition.

De Batz looked round him with keen curiosity with which disgust
was ready enough to mingle.

The room itself might have been a large one; it was almost
impossible to judge of its size, so crammed was it with heavy and
light furniture of every conceivable shape and type. There was a
monumental wooden bedstead in one corner, a huge sofa covered in
black horsehair in another. A large table stood in the centre of
the room, and there were at least four capacious armchairs round
it. There were wardrobes and cabinets, a diminutive washstand and
a huge pier-glass, there were innumerable boxes and packing-cases,
cane-bottomed chairs and what-nots every-where. The place looked
like a depot for second-hand furniture.

In the midst of all the litter de Batz at last became conscious of
two people who stood staring at him and at Heron. He saw a man
before him, somewhat fleshy of build, with smooth, mouse-coloured
hair brushed away from a central parting, and ending in a heavy
curl above each ear; the eyes were wide open and pale in colour,
the lips unusually thick and with a marked downward droop. Close
beside him stood a youngish-looking woman, whose unwieldy bulk,
however, and pallid skin revealed the sedentary life and the
ravages of ill-health.

Both appeared to regard Heron with a certain amount of awe, and de
Batz with a vast measure of curiosity.

Suddenly the woman stood aside, and in the far corner of the room
there was displayed to the Gascon Royalist's cold, calculating
gaze the pathetic figure of the uncrowned King of France.

"How is it Capet is not yet in bed?" queried Heron as soon as he
caught sight of the child.

"He wouldn't say his prayers this evening," replied Simon with a
coarse laugh, "and wouldn't drink his medicine. Bah!" he added
with a snarl, "this is a place for dogs and not for human folk."

"If you are not satisfied, mon vieux," retorted Heron curtly, "you
can send in your resignation when you like. There are plenty who
will be glad of the place."

The ex-cobbler gave another surly growl and expectorated on the
floor in the direction where stood the child.

"Little vermin," he said, "he is more trouble than man or woman
can bear."

The boy in the meanwhile seemed to take but little notice of the
vulgar insults put upon him by his guardian. He stood, a quaint,
impassive little figure, more interested apparently in de Batz,
who was a stranger to him, than in the three others whom he knew.
De Batz noted that the child looked well nourished, and that he
was warmly clad in a rough woollen shirt and cloth breeches, with
coarse grey stockings and thick shoes; but he also saw that the
clothes were indescribably filthy, as were the child's hands and
face. The golden curls, among which a young and queenly mother had
once loved to pass her slender perfumed fingers, now hung
bedraggled, greasy, and lank round the little face, from the lines
of which every trace of dignity and of simplicity had long since
been erased.

There was no look of the martyr about this child now, even though,
mayhap, his small back had often smarted under his vulgar tutor's
rough blows; rather did the pale young face wear the air of sullen
indifference, and an abject desire to please, which would have
appeared heart-breaking to any spectator less self-seeking and
egotistic than was this Gascon conspirator.

Madame Simon had called him to her while her man and the citizen
Heron were talking, and the child went readily enough, without any
sign of fear. She took the corner of her coarse dirty apron in
her hand, and wiped the boy's mouth and face with it.

"I can't keep him clean," she said with an apologetic shrug of the
shoulders and a look at de Batz. "There now," she added, speaking
once more to the child, "drink like a good boy, and say your
lesson to please maman, and then you shall go to bed."

She took a glass from the table, which was filled with a clear
liquid that de Batz at first took to be water, and held it to the
boy's lips. He turned his head away and began to whimper.

"Is the medicine very nasty?" queried de Batz.

"Mon Dieu! but no, citizen," exclaimed the woman, "it is good
strong eau de vie, the best that can be procured. Capet likes it
really--don't you, Capet? It makes you happy and cheerful, and
sleep well of nights. Why, you had a glassful yesterday and
enjoyed it. Take it now," she added in a quick whisper, seeing
that Simon and Heron were in close conversation together; "you
know it makes papa angry if you don't have at least half a glass
now and then."

The child wavered for a moment longer, making a quaint little
grimace of distaste. But at last he seemed to make up his mind
that it was wisest to yield over so small a matter, and he took
the glass from Madame Simon.

And thus did de Batz see the descendant of St. Louis quaffing a
glass of raw spirit at the bidding of a rough cobbler's wife, whom
he called by the fond and foolish name sacred to childhood, maman!

Selfish egoist though he was, de Batz turned away in loathing.

Simon had watched the little scene with obvious satisfaction. He
chuckled audibly when the child drank the spirit, and called
Heron's attention to him, whilst a look of triumph lit tip his
wide, pale eyes.

"And now, mon petit," he said jovially, "let the citizen hear you
say your prayers!"

He winked toward de Batz, evidently anticipating a good deal of
enjoyment for the visitor from what was coming. From a heap of
litter in a corner of the room he fetched out a greasy red bonnet
adorned with a tricolour cockade, and a soiled and tattered flag,
which had once been white, and had golden fleur-de-lys embroidered
upon it.

The cap he set on the child's head, and the flag he threw upon the

"Now, Capet--your prayers!" he said with another chuckle of amusement.

All his movements were rough, and his speech almost ostentatiously
coarse. He banged against the furniture as he moved about the
room, kicking a footstool out of the way or knocking over a chair.
De Batz instinctively thought of the perfumed stillness of the
rooms at Versailles, of the army of elegant high-born ladies who
had ministered to the wants of this child, who stood there now
before him, a cap on his yellow hair, and his shoulder held up to
his ear with that gesture of careless indifference peculiar to
children when they are sullen or uncared for.

Obediently, quite mechanically it seemed, the boy trod on the flag
which Henri IV had borne before him at Ivry, and le Roi Soleil had
flaunted in the face of the armies of Europe. The son of the
Bourbons was spitting on their flag, and wiping his shoes upon its
tattered folds. With shrill cracked voice he sang the Carmagnole,
"Ca ira! ca ira! les aristos a la lanterne!" until de Batz himself
felt inclined to stop his ears and to rush from the place in

Louis XVII, whom the hearts of many had proclaimed King of France
by the grace of God, the child of the Bourbons, the eldest son of
the Church, was stepping a vulgar dance over the flag of St. Louis,
which he had been taught to defile. His pale cheeks glowed as he
danced, his eyes shone with the unnatural light kindled in them by
the intoxicating liquor; with one slender hand he waved the red cap
with the tricolour cockade, and shouted "Vive la Republique!"

Madame Simon was clapping her hands, looking on the child with
obvious pride, and a kind of rough maternal affection. Simon was
gazing on Heron for approval, and the latter nodded his bead,
murmuring words of encouragement and of praise.

"Thy catechism now, Capet--thy catechism," shouted Simon in a
hoarse voice.

The boy stood at attention, cap on head, hands on his hips, legs
wide apart, and feet firmly planted on the fleur-de-lys, the glory
of his forefathers.

"Thy name?" queried Simon.

"Louis Capet," replied the child in a clear, high-pitched voice.

"What art thou?"

"A citizen of the Republic of France."

"What was thy father?"

"Louis Capet, ci-devant king, a tyrant who perished by the will of
the people!"

"What was thy mother?"

"A --"

De Batz involuntarily uttered a cry of horror. Whatever the man's
private character was, he had been born a gentleman, and his every
instinct revolted against what he saw and heard. The scene had
positively sickened him. He turned precipitately towards the door.

"How now, citizen?" queried the Committee's agent with a sneer.
"Are you not satisfied with what you see?"

"Mayhap the citizen would like to see Capet sitting in a golden
chair," interposed Simon the cobbler with a sneer, "and me and my
wife kneeling and kissing his hand--what?"

"'Tis the heat of the room," stammered de Batz, who was fumbling
with the lock of the door; "my head began to swim."

"Spit on their accursed flag, then, like a good patriot, like
Capet," retorted Simon gruffly. "Here, Capet, my son," he added,
pulling the boy by the arm with a rough gesture, "get thee to bed;
thou art quite drunk enough to satisfy any good Republican."

By way of a caress he tweaked the boy's ear and gave him a prod in
the back with his bent knee. He was not wilfully unkind, for just
now he was not angry with the lad; rather was he vastly amused
with the effect Capet's prayer and Capet's recital of his
catechism had had on the visitor.

As to the lad, the intensity of excitement in him was immediately
followed by an overwhelming desire for sleep. Without any
preliminary of undressing or of washing, he tumbled, just as he
was, on to the sofa. Madame Simon, with quite pleasing
solicitude, arranged a pillow under his head, and the very next
moment the child was fast asleep.

"'Tis well, citoyen Simon," said Heron in his turn, going towards
the door. "I'll report favourably on you to the Committee of
Public Security. As for the citoyenne, she had best be more
careful," he added, turning to the woman Simon with a snarl on his
evil face. "There was no cause to arrange a pillow under the head
of that vermin's spawn. Many good patriots have no pillows to put
under their heads. Take that pillow away; and I don't like the
shoes on the brat's feet; sabots are quite good enough."

Citoyenne Simon made no reply. Some sort of retort had apparently
hovered on her lips, but had been checked, even before it was
uttered, by a peremptory look from her husband. Simon the
cobbler, snarling in speech but obsequious in manner, prepared to
accompany the citizen agent to the door.

De Batz was taking a last look at the sleeping child; the
uncrowned King of France was wrapped in a drunken sleep, with the
last spoken insult upon his dead mother still hovering on his
childish lips.


"That is the way we conduct our affairs, citizen," said Heron
gruffly, as he once more led his guest back into his office.

It was his turn to be complacent now. De Batz, for once in his
life cowed by what he had seen, still wore a look of horror and
disgust upon his florid face.

"What devils you all are!" he said at last.

"We are good patriots," retorted Heron, "and the tyrant's spawn
leads but the life that hundreds of thousands of children led
whilst his father oppressed the people. Nay! what am I saying?
He leads a far better, far happier life. He gets plenty to eat and
plenty of warm clothes. Thousands of innocent children, who have
not the crimes of a despot father upon their conscience, have to
starve whilst he grows fat."

The leer in his face was so evil that once more de Batz felt that
eerie feeling of terror creeping into his bones. Here were
cruelty and bloodthirsty ferocity personified to their utmost
extent. At thought of the Bourbons, or of all those whom he
considered had been in the past the oppressors of the people,
Heron was nothing but a wild and ravenous beast, hungering for
revenge, longing to bury his talons and his fangs into the body of
those whose heels had once pressed on his own neck.

And de Batz knew that even with millions or countless money at his
command he could not purchase from this carnivorous brute the life
and liberty of the son of King Louis. No amount of bribery would
accomplish that; it would have to be ingenuity pitted against
animal force, the wiliness of the fox against the power of the

Even now Heron was darting savagely suspicious looks upon him.

"I shall get rid of the Simons," he said; "there's something in
that woman's face which I don't trust. They shall go within the
next few hours, or as soon as I can lay my hands upon a better
patriot than that mealy-mouthed cobbler. And it will be better
not to have a woman about the place. Let me see--to-day is
Thursday, or else Friday morning. By Sunday I'll get those Simons
out of the place. Methought I saw you ogling that woman," he
added, bringing his bony fist crashing down on the table so that
papers, pen, and inkhorn rattled loudly; "and if I thought that

De Batz thought it well at this point to finger once more
nonchalantly the bundle of crisp paper in the pocket of his coat.

"Only on that one condition," reiterated Heron in a hoarse voice;
"if you try to get at Capet, I'll drag you to the Tribunal with my
own hands."

"Always presuming that you can get me, my friend," murmured de
Batz, who was gradually regaining his accustomed composure.

Already his active mind was busily at work. One or two things
which he had noted in connection with his visit to the Dauphin's
prison had struck him as possibly useful in his schemes. But he
was disappointed that Heron was getting rid of the Simons. The
woman might have been very useful and more easily got at than a
man. The avarice of the French bourgeoise would have proved a
promising factor. But this, of course, would now be out of the
question. At the same time it was not because Heron raved and
stormed and uttered cries like a hyena that he, de Batz, meant to
give up an enterprise which, if successful, would place millions
into his own pocket.

As for that meddling Englishman, the Scarlet Pimpernel, and his
crack-brained followers, they must be effectually swept out of the
way first of all. De Batz felt that they were the real, the most
likely hindrance to his schemes. He himself would have to go very
cautiously to work, since apparently Heron would not allow him to
purchase immunity for himself in that one matter, and whilst he
was laying his plans with necessary deliberation so as to ensure
his own safety, that accursed Scarlet Pimpernel would mayhap
snatch the golden prize from the Temple prison right under his
very nose.

When he thought of that the Gascon Royalist felt just as
vindictive as did the chief agent of the Committee of General

While these thoughts were coursing through de Batz' head, Heron
had been indulging in a volley of vituperation.

"If that little vermin escapes," he said, "my life will not be
worth an hour's purchase. In twenty-four hours I am a dead man,
thrown to the guillotine like those dogs of aristocrats! You say
I am a night-bird, citizen. I tell you that I do not sleep night
or day thinking of that brat and the means to keep him safely
under my hand. I have never trusted those Simons--"

"Not trusted them!" exclaimed de Batz; "surely you could not find
anywhere more inhuman monsters!"

"Inhuman monsters?" snarled Heron. "Bah! they don't do their
business thoroughly; we want the tyrant's spawn to become a true
Republican and a patriot--aye! to make of him such an one that
even if you and your cursed confederates got him by some hellish
chance, he would be no use to you as a king, a tyrant to set above
the people, to set up in your Versailles, your Louvre, to eat off
golden plates and wear satin clothes. You have seen the brat! By
the time he is a man he should forget how to eat save with his
fingers, and get roaring drunk every night. That's what we
want!--to make him so that he shall be no use to you, even if you
did get him away; but you shall not! You shall not, not if I have
to strangle him with my own hands."

He picked up his short-stemmed pipe and pulled savagely at it for
awhile. De Batz was meditating.

"My friend," he said after a little while, "you are agitating
yourself quite unnecessarily, and gravely jeopardising your
prospects of getting a comfortable little income through keeping
your fingers off my person. Who said I wanted to meddle with the

"You had best not," growled Heron.

"Exactly. You have said that before. But do you not think that
you would be far wiser, instead of directing your undivided
attention to my unworthy self, to turn your thoughts a little to
one whom, believe me, you have far greater cause to fear?"

"Who is that?"

"The Englishman."

"You mean the man they call the Scarlet Pimpernel?"

"Himself. Have you not suffered from his activity, friend Heron?
I fancy that citizen Chauvelin and citizen Collot would have quite
a tale to tell about him."

"They ought both to have been guillotined for that blunder last
autumn at Boulogne."

"Take care that the same accusation be not laid at your door this
year, my friend," commented de Batz placidly.


"The Scarlet Pimpernel is in Paris even now."

"The devil he is!"

"And on what errand, think you?"

There was a moment's silence, and then de Batz continued with slow
and dramatic emphasis:

"That of rescuing your most precious prisoner from the Temple."

"How do you know?" Heron queried savagely.

"I guessed."


"I saw a man in the Theatre National to-day ..."


"Who is a member of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel."

"D-- him! Where can I find him?"

"Will you sign a receipt for the three thousand five hundred
livres, which I am pining to hand over to you, my friend, and I
will tell you?"

"Where's the money?"

"In my pocket."

Without further words Heron dragged the inkhorn and a sheet of
paper towards him, took up a pen, and wrote a few words rapidly in
a loose, scrawly hand. He strewed sand over the writing, then
handed it across the table to de Batz.

"Will that do?" he asked briefly.

The other was reading the note through carefully.

"I see you only grant me a fortnight," he remarked casually.

"For that amount of money it is sufficient. If you want an
extension you must pay more."

"So be it," assented de Batz coolly, as he folded the paper
across. "On the whole a fortnight's immunity in France these days
is quite a pleasant respite. And I prefer to keep in touch with
you, friend Heron. I'll call on you again this day fortnight."

He took out a letter-case from his pocket. Out of this he drew a
packet of bank-notes, which he laid on the table in front of
Heron, then he placed the receipt carefully into the letter-case,
and this back into his pocket.

Heron in the meanwhile was counting over the banknotes. The light
of ferocity had entirely gone from his eyes; momentarily the whole
expression of the face was one of satisfied greed.

"Well!" he said at last when he had assured himself that the
number of notes was quite correct, and he had transferred the
bundle of crisp papers into an inner pocket of his coat--"well,
what about your friend?"

"I knew him years ago," rejoined de Batz coolly; "he is a kinsman
of citizen St. Just. I know that he is one of the confederates of
the Scarlet Pimpernel."

"Where does he lodge?"

"That is for you to find out. I saw him at the theatre, and
afterwards in the green-room; he was making himself agreeable to
the citizeness Lange. I heard him ask for leave to call on her
to-morrow at four o'clock. You know where she lodges, of course!"

He watched Heron while the latter scribbled a few words on a scrap
of paper, then he quietly rose to go. He took up his cloak and
once again wrapped it round his shoulders. There was nothing more
to be said, and he was anxious to go.

The leave-taking between the two men was neither cordial nor more
than barely courteous. De Batz nodded to Heron, who escorted him
to the outside door of his lodging, and there called loudly to a
soldier who was doing sentinel at the further end of the corridor.

"Show this citizen the way to the guichet," he said curtly.
"Good-night, citizen," he added finally, nodding to de Batz.

Ten minutes later the Gascon once more found himself in the Rue du
Temple between the great outer walls of the prison and the silent
little church and convent of St. Elizabeth. He looked up to where
in the central tower a small grated window lighted from within
showed the place where the last of the Bourbons was being taught
to desecrate the traditions of his race, at the bidding of a
mender of shoes--a naval officer cashiered for misconduct and

Such is human nature in its self-satisfied complacency that de
Batz, calmly ignoring the vile part which he himself had played in
the last quarter of an hour of his interview with the Committee's
agent, found it in him to think of Heron with loathing, and even
of the cobbler Simon with disgust.

Then with a self-righteous sense of duty performed, and an
indifferent shrug of the shoulders, he dismissed Heron from his

"That meddlesome Scarlet Pimpernel will find his hands over-full
to-morrow, and mayhap will not interfere in my affairs for some
time to come," he mused; "meseems that that will be the first time
that a member of his precious League has come within the clutches
of such unpleasant people as the sleuth-hounds of my friend


"Yesterday you were unkind and ungallant. How could I smile when
you seemed so stern?"

"Yesterday I was not alone with you. How could I say what lay
next my heart, when indifferent ears could catch the words that
were meant only for you?"

"Ah, monsieur, do they teach you in England how to make pretty

"No, mademoiselle, that is an instinct that comes into birth by
the fire of a woman's eyes."

Mademoiselle Lange was sitting upon a small sofa of antique
design, with cushions covered in faded silks heaped round her
pretty head. Armand thought that she looked like that carved
cameo which his sister Marguerite possessed.

He himself sat on a low chair at some distance from her. He had
brought her a large bunch of early violets, for he knew that she
was fond of flowers, and these lay upon her lap, against the
opalescent grey of her gown.

She seemed a little nervous and agitated, his obvious admiration
bringing a ready blush to her cheeks.

The room itself appeared to Armand to be a perfect frame for the
charming picture which she presented. The furniture in it was
small and old; tiny tables of antique Vernis-Martin, softly faded
tapestries, a pale-toned Aubusson carpet. Everything mellow and
in a measure pathetic. Mademoiselle Lange, who was an orphan,
lived alone under the duennaship of a middle-aged relative, a
penniless hanger-on of the successful young actress, who acted as
her chaperone, housekeeper, and maid, and kept unseemly or
over-bold gallants at bay.

She told Armand all about her early life, her childhood in the
backshop of Maitre Meziere, the jeweller, who was a relative of
her mother's; of her desire for an artistic career, her struggles
with the middle-class prejudices of her relations, her bold
defiance of them, and final independence.

She made no secret of her humble origin, her want of education in
those days; on the contrary, she was proud of what she had
accomplished for herself. She was only twenty years of age, and
already held a leading place in the artistic world of Paris.

Armand listened to her chatter, interested in everything she said,
questioning her with sympathy and discretion. She asked him a good
deal about himself, and about his beautiful sister Marguerite,
who, of course, had been the most brilliant star in that most
brilliant constellation, the Comedie Francaise. She had never
seen Marguerite St. Just act, but, of course, Paris still rang
with her praises, and all art-lovers regretted that she should
have married and left them to mourn for her.

Thus the conversation drifted naturally back to England.
Mademoiselle professed a vast interest in the citizen's country of

"I had always," she said, "thought it an ugly country, with the
noise and bustle of industrial life going on everywhere, and smoke
and fog to cover the landscape and to stunt the trees."

"Then, in future, mademoiselle," he replied, "must you think of it
as one carpeted with verdure, where in the spring the orchard
trees covered with delicate blossom would speak to you of
fairyland, where the dewy grass stretches its velvety surface in
the shadow of ancient monumental oaks, and ivy-covered towers rear
their stately crowns to the sky."

"And the Scarlet Pimpernel? Tell me about him, monsieur."

"Ah, mademoiselle, what can I tell you that you do not already
know? The Scarlet Pimpernel is a man who has devoted his entire
existence to the benefit of suffering mankind. He has but one
thought, and that is for those who need him; he hears but one
sound the cry of the oppressed."

"But they do say, monsieur, that philanthropy plays but a sorry
part in your hero's schemes. They aver that he looks on his own
efforts and the adventures through which he goes only in the light
of sport."

"Like all Englishmen, mademoiselle, the Scarlet Pimpernel is a
little ashamed of sentiment. He would deny its very existence
with his lips, even whilst his noble heart brimmed over with it.
Sport? Well! mayhap the sporting instinct is as keen as that of
charity--the race for lives, the tussle for the rescue of human
creatures, the throwing of a life on the hazard of a die."

"They fear him in France, monsieur. He has saved so many whose
death had been decreed by the Committee of Public Safety."

"Please God, he will save many yet."

"Ah, monsieur, the poor little boy in the Temple prison!"

"He has your sympathy, mademoiselle?"

"Of every right-minded woman in France, monsieur. Oh!" she added
with a pretty gesture of enthusiasm, clasping her hands together,
and looking at Armand with large eyes filled with tears, "if your
noble Scarlet Pimpernel will do aught to save that poor innocent
lamb, I would indeed bless him in my heart, and help him with all
my humble might if I could."

"May God's saints bless you for those words, mademoiselle," he
said, whilst, carried away by her beauty, her charm, her perfect
femininity, he stooped towards her until his knee touched the
carpet at her feet. "I had begun to lose my belief in my poor
misguided country, to think all men in France vile, and all women
base. I could thank you on my knees for your sweet words of
sympathy, for the expression of tender motherliness that came into
your eyes when you spoke of the poor forsaken Dauphin in the

She did not restrain her tears; with her they came very easily,
just as with a child, and as they gathered in her eyes and rolled
down her fresh cheeks they iii no way marred the charm of her
face. One hand lay in her lap fingering a diminutive bit of
cambric, which from time to time she pressed to her eyes. The
other she had almost unconsciously yielded to Armand.

The scent of the violets filled the room. It seemed to emanate
from her, a fitting attribute of her young, wholly unsophisticated
girlhood. The citizen was goodly to look at; he was kneeling at
her feet, and his lips were pressed against her hand.

Armand was young and he was an idealist. I do not for a moment
imagine that just at this moment he was deeply in love. The
stronger feeling had not yet risen up in him; it came later when
tragedy encompassed him and brought passion to sudden maturity.
Just now he was merely yielding himself up to the intoxicating
moment, with all the abandonment, all the enthusiasm of the Latin
race. There was no reason why he should not bend the knee before
this exquisite little cameo, that by its very presence was giving
him an hour of perfect pleasure and of aesthetic joy.

Outside the world continued its hideous, relentless way; men
butchered one another, fought and hated. Here in this small
old-world salon, with its faded satins and bits of ivory-tinted
lace, the outer universe had never really penetrated. It was a
tiny world--quite apart from the rest of mankind, perfectly
peaceful and absolutely beautiful.

If Armand had been allowed to depart from here now, without having
been the cause as well as the chief actor in the events that
followed, no doubt that Mademoiselle Lange would always have
remained a charming memory with him, an exquisite bouquet of
violets pressed reverently between the leaves of a favourite book
of poems, and the scent of spring flowers would in after years
have ever brought her dainty picture to his mind.

He was murmuring pretty words of endearment; carried away by
emotion, his arm stole round her waist; he felt that if another
tear came like a dewdrop rolling down her cheek he must kiss it
away at its very source. Passion was not sweeping them off their
feet--not yet, for they were very young, and life had not as yet
presented to them its most unsolvable problem.

But they yielded to one another, to the springtime of their life,
calling for Love, which would come presently hand in hand with his
grim attendant, Sorrow.

Even as Armand's glowing face was at last lifted up to hers asking
with mute lips for that first kiss which she already was prepared
to give, there came the loud noise of men's heavy footsteps
tramping up the old oak stairs, then some shouting, a woman's cry,
and the next moment Madame Belhomme, trembling, wide-eyed, and in
obvious terror, came rushing into the room.

"Jeanne! Jeanne! My child! It is awful! It is awful! Mon
Dieu--mon Dieu! What is to become of us?"

She was moaning and lamenting even as she ran in, and now she
threw her apron over her face and sank into a chair, continuing
her moaning and her lamentations.

Neither Mademoiselle nor Armand had stirred. They remained like
graven images, he on one knee, she with large eyes fixed upon his
face. They had neither of them looked on the old woman; they
seemed even now unconscious of her presence. But their ears had
caught the sound of that measured tramp of feet up the stairs of
the old house, and the halt upon the landing; they had heard the
brief words of command:

"Open, in the name of the people!"

They knew quite well what it all meant; they had not wandered so
far in the realms of romance that reality--the grim, horrible
reality of the moment--had not the power to bring them back to

That peremptory call to open in the name of the people was the
prologue these days to a drama which had but two concluding acts:
arrest, which was a certainty; the guillotine, which was more than
probable. Jeanne and Armand, these two young people who but a
moment ago had tentatively lifted the veil of life, looked
straight into each other's eyes and saw the hand of death
interposed between them: they looked straight into each other's
eyes and knew that nothing but the hand of death would part them
now. Love had come with its attendant, Sorrow; but he had come
with no uncertain footsteps. Jeanne looked on the man before her,
and he bent his head to imprint a glowing kiss upon her hand.

"Aunt Marie!"

It was Jeanne Lange who spoke, but her voice was no longer that of
an irresponsible child; it was firm, steady and hard. Though she
spoke to the old woman, she did not look at her; her luminous
brown eyes rested on the bowed head of Armand St. Just.

"Aunt Marie!" she repeated more peremptorily, for the old woman,
with her apron over her head, was still moaning, and unconscious
of all save an overmastering fear.

"Open, in the name of the people!" came in a loud harsh voice once
more from the other side of the front door.

"Aunt Marie, as you value your life and mine, pull yourself
together," said Jeanne firmly.

"What shall we do? Oh! what shall we do?" moaned Madame Belhomme.
But she had dragged the apron away from her face, and was looking
with some puzzlement at meek, gentle little Jeanne, who had
suddenly become so strange, so dictatorial, all unlike her
habitual somewhat diffident self.

"You need not have the slightest fear, Aunt Marie, if you will
only do as I tell you," resumed Jeanne quietly; "if you give way
to fear, we are all of us undone. As you value your life and
mine," she now repeated authoritatively, "pull yourself together,
and do as I tell you."

The girl's firmness, her perfect quietude had the desired effect.
Madame Belhomme, though still shaken up with sobs of terror, made
a great effort to master herself; she stood up, smoothed down her
apron, passed her hand over her ruffled hair, and said in a
quaking voice:

"What do you think we had better do?"

"Go quietly to the door and open it."

"But--the soldiers--"

"If you do not open quietly they will force the door open within
the next two minutes," interposed Jeanne calmly. "Go quietly and
open the door. Try and hide your fears, grumble in an audible
voice at being interrupted in your cooking, and tell the soldiers
at once that they will find mademoiselle in the boudoir. Go, for
God's sake!" she added, whilst suppressed emotion suddenly made
her young voice vibrate; "go, before they break open that door!"

Madame Belhomme, impressed and cowed, obeyed like an automaton.
She turned and marched fairly straight out of the room. It was
not a minute too soon. From outside had already come the third
and final summons:

"Open, in the name of the people!"

After that a crowbar would break open the door.

Madame Belhomme's heavy footsteps were heard crossing the
ante-chamber. Armand still knelt at Jeanne's feet, holding her
trembling little hand in his.

"A love-scene," she whispered rapidly, "a love-scene--quick--do
you know one?"

And even as he had tried to rise she held him hack, down on his

He thought that fear was making her distracted.

"Mademoiselle--" he murmured, trying to soothe her.

"Try and understand," she said with wonderful calm, "and do as I
tell you. Aunt Marie has obeyed. Will you do likewise?"

"To the death!" he whispered eagerly.

"Then a love-scene," she entreated. "Surely you know one.
Rodrigue and Chimene! Surely--surely," she urged, even as tears
of anguish rose into her eyes, "you must--you must, or, if not
that, something else. Quick! The very seconds are precious!"

They were indeed! Madame Belhomme, obedient as a frightened dog,
had gone to the door and opened it; even her well-feigned
grumblings could now be heard and the rough interrogations from
the soldiery.

"Citizeness Lange!" said a gruff voice.

"In her boudoir, quoi!"

Madame Belhomme, braced up apparently by fear, was playing her
part remarkably well.

"Bothering good citizens! On baking day, too!" she went on
grumbling and muttering.

"Oh, think--think!" murmured Jeanne now in an agonised whisper,
her hot little hand grasping his so tightly that her nails were
driven into his flesh. "You must know something, that will
do--anything--for dear life's sake .... Armand!"

His name--in the tense excitement of this terrible moment--had
escaped her lips.

All in a flash of sudden intuition he understood what she wanted,
and even as the door of the boudoir was thrown violently open
Armand--still on his knees, but with one hand pressed to his
heart, the other stretched upwards to the ceiling in the most
approved dramatic style, was loudly declaiming:

"Pour venger son honneur il perdit son amour,
Pour venger sa maitresse il a quitte le jour!"

Whereupon Mademoiselle Lange feigned the most perfect impatience.

"No, no, my good cousin," she said with a pretty moue of disdain,
"that will never do! You must not thus emphasise the end of every
line; the verses should flow more evenly, as thus...."

Heron had paused at the door. It was he who had thrown it
open--he who, followed by a couple of his sleuth-hounds, had
thought to find here the man denounced by de Batz as being one of
the followers of that irrepressible Scarlet Pimpernel. The
obviously Parisian intonation of the man kneeling in front of
citizeness Lange in an attitude no ways suggestive of personal
admiration, and coolly reciting verses out of a play, had somewhat
taken him aback.

"What does this mean?" he asked gruffly, striding forward into the
room and glaring first at mademoiselle, then at Armand.

Mademoiselle gave a little cry of surprise.

"Why, if it isn't citizen Heron!" she cried, jumping up with a
dainty movement of coquetry and embarrassment. "Why did not Aunt
Marie announce you? ... It is indeed remiss of her, but she is so
ill-tempered on baking days I dare not even rebuke her. Won't you
sit down, citizen Heron? And you, cousin," she added, looking
down airily on Armand, "I pray you maintain no longer that foolish

The febrileness of her manner, the glow in her cheeks were easily
attributable to natural shyness in face of this unexpected visit.
Heron, completely bewildered by this little scene, which was so
unlike what he expected, and so unlike those to which he was
accustomed in the exercise of his horrible duties, was practically
speechless before the little lady who continued to prattle along
in a simple, unaffected manner.

"Cousin," she said to Armand, who in the meanwhile had risen to
his knees, "this is citizen Heron, of whom you have heard me
speak. My cousin Belhomme," she continued, once more turning to
Heron, "is fresh from the country, citizen. He hails from
Orleans, where he has played leading parts in the tragedies of the
late citizen Corneille. But, ah me! I fear that he will find
Paris audiences vastly more critical than the good Orleanese. Did
you hear him, citizen, declaiming those beautiful verses just now?
He was murdering them, say I--yes, murdering them--the gaby!"

Then only did it seem as if she realised that there was something
amiss, that citizen Heron had come to visit her, not as an admirer
of her talent who would wish to pay his respects to a successful
actress, but as a person to be looked on with dread.

She gave a quaint, nervous little laugh, and murmured in the tones
of a frightened child:

"La, citizen, how glum you look! I thought you had come to
compliment me on my latest success. I saw you at the theatre last
night, though you did not afterwards come to see me in the
green-room. Why! I had a regular ovation! Look at my flowers!" she
added more gaily, pointing to several bouquets in vases about the
room. "Citizen Danton brought me the violets himself, and citizen
Santerre the narcissi, and that laurel wreath--is it not
charming?--that was a tribute from citizen Robespierre himself."

She was so artless, so simple, and so natural that Heron was
completely taken off his usual mental balance. He had expected to
find the usual setting to the dramatic episodes which he was wont
to conduct--screaming women, a man either at bay, sword in hand,
or hiding in a linen cupboard or up a chimney.

Now everything puzzled him. De Batz--he was quite sure--had spoken
of an Englishman, a follower of the Scarlet Pimpernel; every
thinking French patriot knew that all the followers of the Scarlet
Pimpernel were Englishmen with red hair and prominent teeth,
whereas this man....

Armand--who deadly danger had primed in his improvised role--was
striding up and down the room declaiming with ever-varying

"Joignez tous vos efforts contre un espoir si doux
Pour en venir a bout, c'est trop peu que de vous."

"No! no!" said mademoiselle impatiently; "you must not make that
ugly pause midway in the last line: 'pour en venir a bout, c'est
trop peu que de vous!'"

She mimicked Armand's diction so quaintly, imitating his stride,
his awkward gesture, and his faulty phraseology with such funny
exaggeration that Heron laughed in spite of himself.

"So that is a cousin from Orleans, is it?" he asked, throwing his
lanky body into an armchair, which creaked dismally under his

"Yes! a regular gaby--what?" she said archly. "Now, citizen Heron,
you must stay and take coffee with me. Aunt Marie will be
bringing it in directly. Hector," she added, turning to Armand,
"come down from the clouds and ask Aunt Marie to be quick."

This certainly was the first time in the whole of his experience
that Heron had been asked to stay and drink coffee with the quarry
he was hunting down. Mademoiselle's innocent little ways, her
desire for the prolongation of his visit, further addled his
brain. De Batz had undoubtedly spoken of an Englishman, and the
cousin from Orleans was certainly a Frenchman every inch of him.

Perhaps had the denunciation come from any one else but de Batz,
Heron might have acted and thought more circumspectly; but, of
course, the chief agent of the Committee of General Security was
more suspicious of the man from whom he took a heavy bribe than of
any one else in France. The thought had suddenly crossed his mind
that mayhap de Batz had sent him on a fool's errand in order to
get him safely out of the way of the Temple prison at a given hour
of the day.

The thought took shape, crystallised, caused him to see a rapid
vision of de Batz sneaking into his lodgings and stealing his
keys, the guard being slack, careless, inattentive, allowing the
adventurer to pass barriers that should have been closed against
all comers.

Now Heron was sure of it; it was all a conspiracy invented by de
Batz. He had forgotten all about his theories that a man under
arrest is always safer than a man that is free. Had his brain
been quite normal, and not obsessed, as it always was now by
thoughts of the Dauphin's escape from prison, no doubt he would
have been more suspicious of Armand, but all his worst suspicions
were directed against de Batz. Armand seemed to him just a fool,
an actor quoi? and so obviously not an Englishman.

He jumped to his feet, curtly declining mademoiselle's offers of
hospitality. He wanted to get away at once. Actors and actresses
were always, by tacit consent of the authorities, more immune than
the rest of the community. They provided the only amusement in
the intervals of the horrible scenes around the scaffolds; they
were irresponsible, harmless creatures who did not meddle in

Jeanne the while was gaily prattling on, her luminous eyes fixed
upon the all-powerful enemy, striving to read his thoughts, to
understand what went on behind those cruel, prominent eyes, the
chances that Armand had of safety and of life.

She knew, of course, that the visit was directed against
Armand--some one had betrayed him, that odious de Batz mayhap--and
she was fighting for Armand's safety, for his life. Her armoury
consisted of her presence of mind, her cool courage, her
self-control; she used all these weapons for his sake, though at
times she felt as if the strain on her nerves would snap the
thread of life in her. The effort seemed more than she could bear.

But she kept up her part, rallying Heron for the shortness of his
visit, begging him to tarry for another five minutes at least,
throwing out--with subtle feminine intuition--just those very
hints anent little Capet's safety that were most calculated to
send him flying back towards the Temple.

"I felt so honoured last night, citizen," she said coquettishly,
"that you even forgot little Capet in order to come and watch my
debut as Celimene."

"Forget him!" retorted Heron, smothering a curse, "I never forget
the vermin. I must go back to him; there are too many cats nosing
round my mouse. Good day to you, citizeness. I ought to have
brought flowers, I know; but I am a busy man--a harassed man."

"Je te crois," she said with a grave nod of the head; "but do come
to the theatre to-night. I am playing Camille--such a fine part!
one of my greatest successes."

"Yes, yes, I'll come--mayhap, mayhap--but I'll go now--glad to
have seen you, citizeness. Where does your cousin lodge?" he
asked abruptly.

"Here," she replied boldly, on the spur of the moment.

"Good. Let him report himself to-morrow morning at the
Conciergerie, and get his certificate of safety. It is a new
decree, and you should have one, too."

"Very well, then. Hector and I will come together, and perhaps
Aunt Marie will come too. Don't send us to maman guillotine yet
awhile, citizen," she said lightly; "you will never get such
another Camille, nor yet so good a Celimene."

She was gay, artless to the last. She accompanied Heron to the
door herself, chaffing him about his escort.

"You are an aristo, citizen," she said, gazing with well-feigned
admiration on the two sleuth-hounds who stood in wait in the
anteroom; "it makes me proud to see so many citizens at my door.
Come and see me play Camille--come to-night, and don't forget the
green-room door--it will always be kept invitingly open for you."

She bobbed him a curtsey, and he walked out, closely followed by
his two men; then at last she closed the door behind them. She
stood there for a while, her ear glued against the massive panels,
listening for their measured tread down the oak staircase. At
last it rang more sharply against the flagstones of the courtyard
below; then she was satisfied that they had gone, and went slowly
back to the boudoir.


The tension on her nerves relaxed; there was the inevitable
reaction. Her knees were shaking under her, and she literally
staggered into the room.

But Armand was already near her, down on both his knees this time,
his arms clasping the delicate form that swayed like the slender
stems of narcissi in the breeze.

"Oh! you must go out of Paris at once--at once," she said through
sobs which no longer would be kept back.

"He'll return--I know that he will return--and you will not be
safe until you are back in England."

But he could not think of himself or of anything in the future.
He had forgotten Heron, Paris, the world; he could only think of

"I owe my life to you!" he murmured. "Oh, how beautiful you
are--how brave! How I love you!"

It seemed that he had always loved her, from the moment that first
in his boyish heart he had set up an ideal to worship, and then,
last night, in the box of the theatre--he had his back turned
toward the stage, and was ready to go--her voice had called him
back; it had held him spellbound; her voice, and also her eyes....
He did not know then that it was Love which then and there had
enchained him. Oh, how foolish he had been! for now he knew that
he had loved her with all his might, with all his soul, from the
very instant that his eyes had rested upon her.

He babbled along--incoherently--in the intervals of covering her
hands and the hem of her gown with kisses. He stooped right down
to the ground and kissed the arch of her instep; he had become a
devotee worshipping at the shrine of his saint, who had performed
a great and a wonderful miracle.

Armand the idealist had found his ideal in a woman. That was the
great miracle which the woman herself had performed for him. He
found in her all that he had admired most, all that he had admired
in the leader who hitherto had been the only personification of
his ideal. But Jeanne possessed all those qualities which had
roused his enthusiasm in the noble hero whom he revered. Her
pluck, her ingenuity, her calm devotion which had averted the
threatened danger from him!

What had he done that she should have risked her own sweet life
for his sake?

But Jeanne did not know. She could not tell. Her nerves now were
somewhat unstrung, and the tears that always came so readily to
her eyes flowed quite unchecked. She could not very well move, for
he held her knees imprisoned in his arms, but she was quite
content to remain like this, and to yield her hands to him so that
he might cover them with kisses.

Indeed, she did not know at what precise moment love for him had
been born in her heart. Last night, perhaps ... she could not say
... but when they parted she felt that she must see him again ...
and then today ... perhaps it was the scent of the violets ...
they were so exquisitely sweet ... perhaps it was his enthusiasm
and his talk about England ... but when Heron came she knew that
she must save Armand's life at all cost ... that she would die if
they dragged him away to prison.

Thus these two children philosophised, trying to understand the
mystery of the birth of Love. But they were only children; they
did not really understand. Passion was sweeping them off their
feet, because a common danger had bound them irrevocably to one
another. The womanly instinct to save and to protect had given
the young girl strength to bear a difficult part, and now she
loved him for the dangers from which she had rescued him, and he
loved her because she had risked her life for him.

The hours sped on; there was so much to say, so much that was
exquisite to listen to. The shades of evening were gathering
fast; the room, with its pale-toned hangings and faded tapestries,
was sinking into the arms of gloom. Aunt Marie was no doubt too
terrified to stir out of her kitchen; she did not bring the lamps,
but the darkness suited Armand's mood, and Jeanne was glad that
the gloaming effectually hid the perpetual blush in her cheeks.

In the evening air the dying flowers sent their heady fragrance
around. Armand was intoxicated with the perfume of violets that
clung to Jeanne's fingers, with the touch of her satin gown that
brushed his cheek, with the murmur of her voice that quivered
through her tears.

No noise from the ugly outer world reached this secluded spot. In
the tiny square outside a street lamp had been lighted, and its
feeble rays came peeping in through the lace curtains at the
window. They caught the dainty silhouette of the young girl,
playing with the loose tendrils of her hair around her forehead,
and outlining with a thin band of light the contour of neck and
shoulder, making the satin of her gown shimmer with an opalescent

Armand rose from his knees. Her eyes were calling to him, her
lips were ready to yield.

"Tu m'aimes?" he whispered.

And like a tired child she sank upon his breast.

He kissed her hair, her eyes, her lips; her skin was fragrant as
the flowers of spring, the tears on her cheeks glistened like
morning dew.

Aunt Marie came in at last, carrying the lamp. She found them
sitting side by side, like two children, hand in hand, mute with
the eloquence which comes from boundless love. They were under a
spell, forgetting even that they lived, knowing nothing except
that they loved.

The lamp broke the spell, and Aunt Marie's still trembling voice:

"Oh, my dear! how did you manage to rid yourself of those brutes?

But she asked no other question, even when the lamp showed up
quite clearly the glowing cheeks of Jeanne and the ardent eyes of
Armand. In her heart, long since atrophied, there were a few
memories, carefully put away in a secret cell, and those memories
caused the old woman to understand.

Neither Jeanne nor Armand noticed what she did; the spell had been
broken, but the dream lingered on; they did not see Aunt Marie
putting the room tidy, and then quietly tiptoeing out by the door.

But through the dream, reality was struggling for recognition.
After Armand had asked for the hundredth time: "Tu m'aimes?" and
Jeanne for the hundredth time had replied mutely with her eyes,
her fears for him suddenly returned.

Something had awakened her from her trance--a heavy footstep,
mayhap, in the street below, the distant roll of a drum, or only
the clash of steel saucepans in Aunt Marie's kitchen. But
suddenly Jeanne was alert, and with her alertness came terror for
the beloved.

"Your life," she said--for he had called her his life just then,
"your life--and I was forgetting that it is still in danger ...
your dear, your precious life!"

"Doubly dear now," he replied, "since I owe it to you."

"Then I pray you, I entreat you, guard it well for my sake--make
all haste to leave Paris ... oh, this I beg of you!" she continued
more earnestly, seeing the look of demur in his eyes; "every hour
you spend in it brings danger nearer to your door."

"I could not leave Paris while you are here."

"But I am safe here," she urged; "quite, quite safe, I assure you.
I am only a poor actress, and the Government takes no heed of us
mimes. Men must be amused, even between the intervals of killing
one another. Indeed, indeed, I should be far safer here now,
waiting quietly for awhile, while you make preparations to go ...
My hasty departure at this moment would bring disaster on us

There was logic in what she said. And yet how could he leave her?
now that he had found this perfect woman--this realisation of his
highest ideals, how could he go and leave her in this awful Paris,
with brutes like Heron forcing their hideous personality into her
sacred presence, threatening that very life he would gladly give
his own to keep inviolate?

"Listen, sweetheart," he said after awhile, when presently reason
struggled back for first place in his mind. "Will you allow me to
consult with my chief, with the Scarlet Pimpernel, who is in Paris
at the present moment? I am under his orders; I could not leave
France just now. My life, my entire person are at his disposal. I
and my comrades are here under his orders, for a great undertaking
which he has not yet unfolded to us, but which I firmly believe is
framed for the rescue of the Dauphin from the Temple."

She gave an involuntary exclamation of horror.

"No, no!" she said quickly and earnestly; "as far as you are
concerned, Armand, that has now become an impossibility. Some one
has betrayed you, and you are henceforth a marked man. I think
that odious de Batz had a hand in Heron's visit of this afternoon.
We succeeded in putting these spies off the scent, but only for a
moment ... within a few hours--less perhaps--Heron will repent him
of his carelessness; he'll come back--I know that he will come
back. He may leave me, personally, alone; but he will be on your
track; he'll drag you to the Conciergerie to report yourself, and
there your true name and history are bound to come to light. If
you succeed in evading him, he will still be on your track. If
the Scarlet Pimpernel keeps you in Paris now, your death will be
at his door."

Her voice had become quite hard and trenchant as she said these
last words; womanlike, she was already prepared to hate the man
whose mysterious personality she had hitherto admired, now that
the life and safety of Armand appeared to depend on the will of
that elusive hero.

"You must not be afraid for me, Jeanne," he urged. "The Scarlet
Pimpernel cares for all his followers; he would never allow me to
run unnecessary risks."

She was unconvinced, almost jealous now of his enthusiasm for that
unknown man. Already she had taken full possession of Armand; she
had purchased his life, and he had given her his love. She would
share neither treasure with that nameless leader who held Armand's

"It is only for a little while, sweetheart," he reiterated again
and again. "I could not, anyhow, leave Paris whilst I feel that
you are here, maybe in danger. The thought would be horrible. I
should go mad if I had to leave you."

Then he talked again of England, of his life there, of the
happiness and peace that were in store for them both.

"We will go to England together," he whispered, "and there we will
be happy together, you and I. We will have a tiny house among the
Kentish hills, and its walls will be covered with honeysuckle and
roses. At the back of the house there will be an orchard, and in
May, when the fruit-blossom is fading and soft spring breezes blow
among the trees, showers of sweet-scented petals will envelop us
as we walk along, falling on us like fragrant snow. You will
come, sweetheart, will you not?"

"If you still wish it, Armand," she murmured.

Still wish it! He would gladly go to-morrow if she would come with
him. But, of course, that could not be arranged. She had her
contract to fulfil at the theatre, then there would be her house
and furniture to dispose of, and there was Aunt Marie.... But, of
course, Aunt Marie would come too.... She thought that she could
get away some time before the spring; and he swore that he could
not leave Paris until she came with him.

It seemed a terrible deadlock, for she could not bear to think of
him alone in those awful Paris streets, where she knew that spies
would always be tracking him. She had no illusions as to the
impression which she had made on Heron; she knew that it could
only be a momentary one, and that Armand would henceforth be in
daily, hourly danger.

At last she promised him that she would take the advice of his
chief; they would both be guided by what he said. Armand would
confide in him to-night, and if it could be arranged she would
hurry on her preparations and, mayhap, be ready to join him in a

"In the meanwhile, that cruel man must not risk your dear life,"
she said. "Remember, Armand, your life belongs to me. Oh, I
could hate him for the love you bear him!"

"Sh--sh--sh!" he said earnestly. "Dear heart, you must not speak
like that of the man whom, next to your perfect self, I love most
upon earth."

"You think of him more than of me. I shall scarce live until I
know that you are safely out of Paris."

Though it was horrible to part, yet it was best, perhaps, that he
should go back to his lodgings now, in case Heron sent his spies
back to her door, and since he meant to consult with his chief.
She had a vague hope that if the mysterious hero was indeed the
noble-hearted man whom Armand represented him to be, surely he
would take compassion on the anxiety of a sorrowing woman, and
release the man she loved from bondage.

This thought pleased her and gave her hope. She even urged Armand
now to go.

"When may I see you to-morrow?" he asked.

"But it will be so dangerous to meet," she argued.

"I must see you. I could not live through the day without seeing

"The theatre is the safest place."

"I could not wait till the evening. May I not come here?"

"No, no. Heron's spies may be about."

"Where then?"

She thought it over for a moment.

"At the stage-door of the theatre at one o'clock,"she said at
last. "We shall have finished rehearsal. Slip into the guichet
of the concierge. I will tell him to admit you, and send my
dresser to meet you there; she will bring you along to my room,
where we shall be undisturbed for at least half an hour."

He had perforce to be content with that, though he would so much
rather have seen her here again, where the faded tapestries and
soft-toned hangings made such a perfect background for her
delicate charm. He had every intention of confiding in Blakeney,
and of asking his help for getting Jeanne out of Paris as quickly
as may be.

Thus this perfect hour was past; the most pure, the fullest of joy
that these two young people were ever destined to know. Perhaps
they felt within themselves the consciousness that their great
love would rise anon to yet greater, fuller perfection when Fate
had crowned it with his halo of sorrow. Perhaps, too, it was that
consciousness that gave to their kisses now the solemnity of a
last farewell.


Armand never could say definitely afterwards whither he went when
he left the Square du Roule that evening. No doubt he wandered
about the streets for some time in an absent, mechanical way,
paying no heed to the passers-by, none to the direction in which
he was going.

His mind was full of Jeanne, her beauty, her courage, her attitude
in face of the hideous bloodhound who had come to pollute that
charming old-world boudoir by his loathsome presence. He recalled
every word she uttered, every gesture she made.

He was a man in love for the first time--wholly, irremediably in

I suppose that it was the pangs of hunger that first recalled him
to himself. It was close on eight o'clock now, and he had fed on
his imaginings--first on anticipation, then on realisation, and
lastly on memory--during the best part of the day. Now he awoke
from his day-dream to find himself tired and hungry, hut
fortunately not very far from that quarter of Paris where food is
easily obtainable.

He was somewhere near the Madeleine--a quarter he knew well. Soon
he saw in front of him a small eating-house which looked fairly
clean and orderly. He pushed open its swing-door, and seeing an
empty table in a secluded part of the room, he sat down and
ordered some supper.

The place made no impression upon his memory. He could not have
told you an hour later where it was situated, who had served him,
what he had eaten, or what other persons were present in the
dining-room at the time that he himself entered it.

Having eaten, however, he felt more like his normal self--more
conscious of his actions. When he finally left the eating-house,
he realised, for instance, that it was very cold--a fact of which
he had for the past few hours been totally unaware. The snow was
falling in thin close flakes, and a biting north-easterly wind was
blowing those flakes into his face and down his collar. He
wrapped his cloak tightly around him. It was a good step yet to
Blakeney's lodgings, where he knew that he was expected.

He struck quickly into the Rue St. Honore, avoiding the great open
places where the grim horrors of this magnificent city in revolt
against civilisation were displayed in all their grim
nakedness--on the Place de la Revolution the guillotine, on the
Carrousel the open-air camps of workers under the lash of
slave-drivers more cruel than the uncivilised brutes of the Far

And Armand had to think of Jeanne in the midst of all these
horrors. She was still a petted actress to-day, but who could
tell if on the morrow the terrible law of the "suspect" would not
reach her in order to drag her before a tribunal that knew no
mercy, and whose sole justice was a condemnation?

The young man hurried on; he was anxious to be among his own
comrades, to hear his chief's pleasant voice, to feel assured that
by all the sacred laws of friendship Jeanne henceforth would
become the special care of the Scarlet Pimpernel and his league.

Blakeney lodged in a small house situated on the Quai de l'Ecole,
at the back of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, from whence he had a clear
and uninterrupted view across the river, as far as the irregular
block of buildings of the Chatelet prison and the house of

The same tower-clock that two centuries ago had tolled the signal
for the massacre of the Huguenots was even now striking nine.
Armand slipped through the half-open porte cochere, crossed the
narrow dark courtyard, and ran up two flights of winding stone
stairs. At the top of these, a door on his right allowed a thin
streak of light to filtrate between its two folds. An iron bell
handle hung beside it; Armand gave it a pull.

Two minutes later he was amongst his friends. He heaved a great
sigh of content and relief. The very atmosphere here seemed to be
different. As far as the lodging itself was concerned, it was as
bare, as devoid of comfort as those sort of places--so-called
chambres garnies--usually were in these days. The chairs looked
rickety and uninviting, the sofa was of black horsehair, the
carpet was threadbare, and in places in actual holes; but there
was a certain something in the air which revealed, in the midst of
all this squalor, the presence of a man of fastidious taste.

To begin with, the place was spotlessly clean; the stove, highly
polished, gave forth a pleasing warm glow, even whilst the window,
slightly open, allowed a modicum of fresh air to enter the room.
In a rough earthenware jug on the table stood a large bunch of
Christmas roses, and to the educated nostril the slight scent of
perfumes that hovered in the air was doubly pleasing after the
fetid air of the narrow streets.

Sir Andrew Ffoulkes was there, also my Lord Tony, and Lord
Hastings. They greeted Armand with whole-hearted cheeriness.

"Where is Blakeney?" asked the young man as soon as he had shaken
his friends by the hand.

"Present!" came in loud, pleasant accents from the door of an
inner room on the right.

And there he stood under the lintel of the door, the man against
whom was raised the giant hand of an entire nation--the man for
whose head the revolutionary government of France would gladly pay
out all the savings of its Treasury--the man whom human
bloodhounds were tracking, hot on the scent--for whom the nets of
a bitter revenge and relentless reprisals were constantly being

Was he unconscious of it, or merely careless? His closest friend,
Sir Andrew Ffoulkes, could not say. Certain it is that, as he now
appeared before Armand, picturesque as ever in perfectly tailored
clothes, with priceless lace at throat and wrists, his slender
fingers holding an enamelled snuff-box and a handkerchief of
delicate cambric, his whole personality that of a dandy rather
than a man of action, it seemed impossible to connect him with the
foolhardy escapades which had set one nation glowing with
enthusiasm and another clamouring for revenge.

But it was the magnetism that emanated from him that could not be
denied; the light that now and then, swift as summer lightning,
flashed out from the depths of the blue eyes usually veiled by
heavy, lazy lids, the sudden tightening of firm lips, the setting
of the square jaw, which in a moment--but only for the space of a
second--transformed the entire face, and revealed the born leader
of men.

Just now there was none of that in the debonnair, easy-going man
of the world who advanced to meet his friend. Armand went quickly
up to him, glad to grasp his hand, slightly troubled with remorse,
no doubt, at the recollection of his adventure of to-day. It
almost seemed to him that from beneath his half-closed lids
Blakeney had shot a quick inquiring glance upon him. The quick
flash seemed to light up the young man's soul from within, and to
reveal it, naked, to his friend.

It was all over in a moment, and Armand thought that mayhap his
conscience had played him a trick: there was nothing apparent in
him--of this he was sure--that could possibly divulge his secret
just yet.

"I am rather late, I fear," he said. "I wandered about the
streets in the late afternoon and lost my way in the dark. I hope
I have not kept you all waiting."

They all pulled chairs closely round the fire, except Blakeney,
who preferred to stand. He waited awhile until they were all
comfortably settled, and all ready to listen, then:

"It is about the Dauphin," he said abruptly without further

They understood. All of them had guessed it, almost before the
summons came that had brought them to Paris two days ago. Sir
Andrew Ffoulkes had left his young wife because of that, and
Armand had demanded it as a right to join hands in this noble
work. Blakeney had not left France for over three months now.
Backwards and forwards between Paris, or Nantes, or Orleans to the
coast, where his friends would meet him to receive those
unfortunates whom one man's whole-hearted devotion had rescued
from death; backwards and forwards into the very hearts of those
cities wherein an army of sleuth-hounds were on his track, and the
guillotine was stretching out her arms to catch the foolhardy

Now it was about the Dauphin. They all waited, breathless and
eager, the fire of a noble enthusiasm burning in their hearts.
They waited in silence, their eyes fixed on the leader, lest one
single word from him should fail to reach their ears.

The full magnetism of the man was apparent now. As he held these
four men at this moment, he could have held a crowd. The man of
the world--the fastidious dandy--had shed his mask; there stood
the leader, calm, serene in the very face of the most deadly
danger that had ever encompassed any man, looking that danger
fully in the face, not striving to belittle it or to exaggerate
it, but weighing it in the balance with what there was to
accomplish: the rescue of a martyred, innocent child from the
hands of fiends who were destroying his very soul even more
completely than his body.

"Everything, I think, is prepared," resumed Sir Percy after a
slight pause. "The Simons have been summarily dismissed; I
learned that to-day. They remove from the Temple on Sunday next,
the nineteenth. Obviously that is the one day most likely to help
us in our operations. As far as I am concerned, I cannot make any
hard-and-fast plans. Chance at the last moment will have to
dictate. But from every one of you I must have co-operation, and
it can only be by your following my directions implicitly that we
can even remotely hope to succeed."

He crossed and recrossed the room once or twice before he spoke
again, pausing now and again in his walk in front of a large map
of Paris and its environs that hung upon the wall, his tall figure
erect, his hands behind his back, his eyes fixed before him as if
he saw right through the walls of this squalid room, and across
the darkness that overhung the city, through the grim bastions of
the mighty building far away, where the descendant of an hundred
kings lived at the mercy of human fiends who worked for his

The man's face now was that of a seer and a visionary; the firm
lines were set and rigid as those of an image carved in stone--the
statue of heart-whole devotion, with the self-imposed task
beckoning sternly to follow, there where lurked danger and death.

"The way, I think, in which we could best succeed would be this,"
he resumed after a while, sitting now on the edge of the table and
directly facing his four friends. The light from the lamp which
stood upon the table behind him fell full upon those four glowing
faces fixed eagerly upon him, but he himself was in shadow, a
massive silhouette broadly cut out against the light-coloured map
on the wall beyond.

"I remain here, of course, until Sunday," he said, "and will
closely watch my opportunity, when I can with the greatest amount
of safety enter the Temple building and take possession of the
child. I shall, of course choose the moment when the Simons are
actually on the move, with their successors probably coming in at
about the same time. God alone knows," he added earnestly, "how I
shall contrive to get possession of the child; at the moment I am
just as much in the dark about that as you are."

He paused a moment, and suddenly his grave face seemed flooded
with sunshine, a kind of lazy merriment danced in his eyes,
effacing all trace of solemnity within them.

"La!" he said lightly, "on one point I am not at all in the dark,
and that is that His Majesty King Louis XVII will come out of that
ugly house in my company next Sunday, the nineteenth day of
January in this year of grace seventeen hundred and ninety-four;
and this, too, do I know--that those murderous blackguards shall
not lay hands on me whilst that precious burden is in my keeping.
So I pray you, my good Armand, do not look so glum," he added with
his pleasant, merry laugh; "you'll need all your wits about you to
help us in our undertaking."

"What do you wish me to do, Percy?" said the young man simply.

"In one moment I will tell you. I want you all to understand the
situation first. The child will be out of the Temple on Sunday,
but at what hour I know not. The later it will be the better
would it suit my purpose, for I cannot get him out of Paris before
evening with any chance of safety. Here we must risk nothing; the
child is far better off as he is now than he would be if he were
dragged back after an abortive attempt at rescue. But at this
hour of the night, between nine and ten o'clock, I can arrange to
get him out of Paris by the Villette gate, and that is where I
want you, Ffoulkes, and you, Tony, to be, with some kind of
covered cart, yourselves in any disguise your ingenuity will
suggest. Here are a few certificates of safety; I have been
making a collection of them for some time, as they are always

He dived into the wide pocket of his coat and drew forth a number
of cards, greasy, much-fingered documents of the usual pattern
which the Committee of General Security delivered to the free
citizens of the new republic, and without which no one could
enter or leave any town or country commune without being detained
as "suspect." He glanced at them and handed them over to

"Choose your own identity for the occasion, my good friend," he
said lightly; "and you too, Tony. You may be stonemasons or
coal-carriers, chimney-sweeps or farm-labourers, I care not which
so long as you look sufficiently grimy and wretched to be
unrecognisable, and so long as you can procure a cart without
arousing suspicions, and can wait for me punctually at the
appointed spot."

Ffoulkes turned over the cards, and with a laugh handed them over
to Lord Tony. The two fastidious gentlemen discussed for awhile
the respective merits of a chimney-sweep's uniform as against that
of a coal-carrier.

"You can carry more grime if you are a sweep," suggested Blakeney;
"and if the soot gets into your eyes it does not make them smart
like coal does."

"But soot adheres more closely," argued Tony solemnly, "and I know
that we shan't get a bath for at least a week afterwards."

"Certainly you won't, you sybarite!" asserted Sir Percy with a

"After a week soot might become permanent," mused Sir Andrew,
wondering what, under the circumstance, my lady would say to him.

"If you are both so fastidious," retorted Blakeney, shrugging his
broad shoulders, "I'll turn one of you into a reddleman, and the
other into a dyer. Then one of you will be bright scarlet to the
end of his days, as the reddle never comes off the skin at all,
and the other will have to soak in turpentine before the dye will
consent to move.... In either case ... oh, my dear Tony! ... the

He laughed like a schoolboy in anticipation of a prank, and held
his scented handkerchief to his nose. My Lord Hastings chuckled
audibly, and Tony punched him for this unseemly display of mirth.

Armand watched the little scene in utter amazement. He had been
in England over a year, and yet he could not understand these
Englishmen. Surely they were the queerest, most inconsequent
people in the world, Here were these men, who were engaged at
this very moment in an enterprise which for cool-headed courage
and foolhardy daring had probably no parallel in history. They
were literally taking their lives in their hands, in all
probability facing certain death; and yet they now sat chaffing
and fighting like a crowd of third-form schoolboys, talking utter,
silly nonsense, and making foolish jokes that would have shamed a
Frenchman in his teens. Vaguely he wondered what fat, pompous de
Batz would think of this discussion if he could overhear it. His
contempt, no doubt, for the Scarlet Pimpernel and his followers
would be increased tenfold.

Then at last the question of the disguise was effectually
dismissed. Sir Andrew Ffoulkes and Lord Anthony Dewhurst had
settled their differences of opinion by solemnly agreeing to
represent two over-grimy and overheated coal-heavers. They chose
two certificates of safety that were made out in the names of Jean
Lepetit and Achille Grospierre, labourers.

"Though you don't look at all like an Achille, Tony," was
Blakeney's parting shot to his friend.

Then without any transition from this schoolboy nonsense to the
serious business of the moment, Sir Andrew Ffoulkes said abruptly:

"Tell us exactly, Blakeney, where you will want the cart to stand
on Sunday."

Blakeney rose and turned to the map against the wall, Ffoulkes and
Tony following him. They stood close to his elbow whilst his
slender, nervy hand wandered along the shiny surface of the
varnished paper. At last he placed his finger on one spot.

"Here you see," he said, "is the Villette gate. Just outside it a
narrow street on the right leads down in the direction of the
canal. It is just at the bottom of that narrow street at its
junction with the tow-path there that I want you two and the cart
to be. It had better be a coal-car by the way; they will be
unloading coal close by there to-morrow," he added with one of his
sudden irrepressible outbursts of merriment. "You and Tony can
exercise your muscles coal-heaving, and incidentally make
yourselves known in the neighbourhood as good if somewhat grimy

"We had better take up our parts at once then," said Tony. "I'll
take a fond farewell of my clean shirt to-night."

"Yes, you will not see one again for some time, my good Tony.
After your hard day's work to-morrow you will have to sleep either
inside your cart, if you have already secured one, or under the
arches of the canal bridge, if you have not."

"I hope you have an equally pleasant prospect for Hastings," was
my Lord Tony's grim comment.

It was easy to see that he was as happy as a schoolboy about to
start for a holiday. Lord Tony was a true sportsman. Perhaps
there was in him less sentiment for the heroic work which he did
under the guidance of his chief than an inherent passion for
dangerous adventures. Sir Andrew Ffoulkes, on the other hand,
thought perhaps a little less of the adventure, but a great deal
of the martyred child in the Temple. He was just as buoyant, just
as keen as his friend, but the leaven of sentiment raised his

Book of the day: