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|Part I||Baroness Emmuska Orczy|
XXI Back To Paris
|Page 5 of 8||
"But if Madame Simon had not been amenable to bribery?" suggested Lord Tony after a moment's silence.
"Then I should have had to think of something else."
"If during the removal of the furniture Heron had remained resolutely in the room?"
"Then, again, I should have had to think of something else; but remember that in life there is always one supreme moment when Chance--who is credited to have but one hair on her head--stands by you for a brief space of time; sometimes that space is infinitesimal--one minute, a few seconds--just the time to seize Chance by that one hair. So I pray you all give me no credit in this or any other matter in which we all work together, but the quickness of seizing Chance by the hair during the brief moment when she stands by my side. If Madame Simon had been un-amenable, if Heron had remained in the room all the time, if Cochefer had had two looks at the dummy instead of one--well, then, something else would have helped me, something would have occurred; something--I know not what--but surely something which Chance meant to be on our side, if only we were quick enough to seize it--and so you see how simple it all is."
So simple, in fact, that it was sublime. The daring, the pluck, the ingenuity and, above all, the super-human heroism and endurance which rendered the hearers of this simple narrative, simply told, dumb with admiration.
Their thoughts now were beyond verbal expression.
"How soon was the hue and cry for the child about the streets?" asked Tony, after a moment's silence.
"It was not out when I left the gates of Paris," said Blakeney meditatively; "so quietly has the news of the escape been kept, that I am wondering what devilry that brute Heron can be after. And now no more chattering," he continued lightly; "all to horse, and you, Hastings, have a care. The destinies of France, mayhap, will be lying asleep in your arms."
"But you, Blakeney?" exclaimed the three men almost simultaneously.
"I am not going with you. I entrust the child to you. For God's sake guard him well! Ride with him to Mantes. You should arrive there at about ten o'clock. One of you then go straight to No.9 Rue la Tour. Ring the bell; an old man will answer it. Say the one word to him, 'Enfant'; he will reply, 'De roi!' Give him the child, and may Heaven bless you all for the help you have given me this night!"
"But you, Blakeney?" reiterated Tony with a note of deep anxiety in his fresh young voice.
"I am straight for Paris," he said quietly.
"But why? Percy, in the name of Heaven, do you realise what you are doing?"
"They'll not leave a stone unturned to find you--they know by now, believe me, that your hand did this trick."
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