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Part I Baroness Emmuska Orczy

IX What Love Can Do

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"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."

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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.

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El Dorado
Baroness Emmuska Orczy

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