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|The Scarlet Pimpernel||Baroness Emmuska Orczy|
|Page 5 of 6||
Evidently he had no desire to terrorize the man, but to conciliate him, for his own purposes, for his manner was pleasant and suave. No doubt he feared that threats of the guillotine, and various other persuasive methods of that type, might addle the old man's brains, and that he would be more likely to be useful through greed of gain, than through terror of death.
The eyes of the Jew shot a quick, keen glance at the gold in his interlocutor's hand.
"At least five, I should say, your Excellency," he replied obsequiously.
"Enough, do you think, to loosen that honest tongue of yours?"
"What does your Excellency wish to know?"
"Whether your horse and cart can take me to where I can find my friend the tall stranger, who has driven off in Reuben Goldstein's cart?"
"My horse and cart can take your Honour there, where you please."
"To a place called the Pere Blanchard's hut?"
"Your Honour has guessed?" said the Jew in astonishment.
"You know the place?"
"Which road leads to it?"
"The St. Martin Road, your Honour, then a footpath from there to the cliffs."
"You know the road?" repeated Chauvelin, roughly.
"Every stone, every blade of grass, your Honour," replied the Jew quietly.
Chauvelin without another word threw the five pieces of gold one by one before the Jew, who knelt down, and on his hands and knees struggled to collect them. One rolled away, and he had some trouble to get it, for it had lodged underneath the dresser. Chauvelin quietly waited while the old man scrambled on the floor, to find the piece of gold.
When the Jew was again on his feet, Chauvelin said,--
"How soon can your horse and cart be ready?"
"They are ready now, your Honour."
"Not ten meters from this door. Will your Excellency deign to look."
"I don't want to see it. How far can you drive me in it?"
"As far as the Pere Blanchard's hut, your Honour, and further than Reuben's nag took your friend. I am sure that, not two leagues from here, we shall come across that wily Reuben, his nag, his cart and the tall stranger all in a heap in the middle of the road."
"How far is the nearest village from here?"
"On the road which the Englishman took, Miquelon is the nearest village, not two leagues from here."
"There he could get fresh conveyance, if he wanted to go further?"
"He could--if he ever got so far."
"Will your Excellency try?" said the Jew simply.
"That is my intention," said Chauvelin very quietly, "but remember, if you have deceived me, I shall tell off two of my most stalwart soldiers to give you such a beating, that your breath will perhaps leave your ugly body for ever. But if we find my friend the tall Englishman, either on the road or at the Pere Blanchard's hut, there will be ten more gold pieces for you. Do you accept the bargain?"
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|The Scarlet Pimpernel
Baroness Emmuska Orczy
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