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|The Scarlet Pimpernel||Baroness Emmuska Orczy|
|Page 2 of 6||
"Captain Jutley sent forty men as reinforcements for the patrol duty: twenty went down to the beach. He again assured me that the watch had been constant all day, and that no stranger could possibly get to the beach, or reach a boat, without being sighted."
"That's good.--Do the men know their work?" "They have had very clear orders, citoyen: and I myself spoke to those who were about to start. They are to shadow--as secretly as possible--any stranger they may see, especially if he be tall, or stoop as if her would disguise his height."
"In no case to detain such a person, of course," said Chauvelin, eagerly. "That impudent Scarlet Pimpernel would slip through clumsy fingers. We must let him get to the Pere Blanchard's hut now; there surround and capture him."
"The men understand that, citoyen, and also that, as soon as a tall stranger has been sighted, he must be shadowed, whilst one man is to turn straight back and report to you."
"That is right," said Chauvelin, rubbing his hands, well pleased.
"I have further news for you, citoyen."
"What is it?"
"A tall Englishman had a long conversation about three-quarters of an hour ago with a Jew, Reuben by name, who lives not ten paces from here."
"Yes--and?" queried Chauvelin, impatiently.
"The conversation was all about a horse and cart, which the tall Englishman wished to hire, and which was to have been ready for him by eleven o'clock."
"It is past that now. Where does that Reuben live?"
"A few minutes' walk from this door."
"Send one of the men to find out if the stranger has driven off in Reuben's cart."
Desgas went to give the necessary orders to one of the men. Not a word of this conversation between him and Chauvelin had escaped Marguerite, and every word they had spoken seemed to strike at her heart, with terrible hopelessness and dark foreboding.
She had come all this way, and with such high hopes and firm determination to help her husband, and so far she had been able to do nothing, but to watch, with a heart breaking with anguish, the meshes of the deadly net closing round the daring Scarlet Pimpernel.
He could not now advance many steps, without spying eyes to track and denounce him. Her own helplessness struck her with the terrible sense of utter disappointment. The possibility of being the slightest use to her husband had become almost NIL, and her only hope rested in being allowed to share his fate, whatever it might ultimately be.
For the moment, even her chance of ever seeing the man she loved again, had become a remote one. Still, she was determined to keep a close watch over his enemy, and a vague hope filled her heart, that whilst she kept Chauvelin in sight, Percy's fate might still be hanging in the balance.
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|The Scarlet Pimpernel
Baroness Emmuska Orczy
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