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Part III Baroness Emmuska Orczy

XLIV The Halt At Crecy

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At last everything was in order and the small party ready to start.

"Does any one here know the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, close by the park of the Chateau d'Ourde?" asked Chauvelin, vaguely addressing the knot of gaffers that stood closest to him.

The men shook their heads. Some had dimly heard of the Chateau d'Ourde; it was some way in the interior of the forest of Boulogne, but no one knew about a chapel; people did not trouble about chapels nowadays. With the indifference so peculiar to local peasantry, these men knew no more of the surrounding country than the twelve or fifteen league circle that was within a walk of their sleepy little town.

One of the scouts on ahead turned in his saddle and spoke to citizen Chauvelin:

"I think I know the way pretty well; citizen Chauvelin," he said; "at any rate, I know it as far as the forest of Boulogne."

Chauvelin referred to his tablets.

"That's good," he said; "then when you reach the mile-stone that stands on this road at the confine of the forest, bear sharply to your right and skirt the wood until you see the hamlet of--Le-- something. Le--Le--yes--Le Crocq--that's it in the valley below."

"I know Le Crocq, I think," said the trooper.

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"Very well, then; at that point it seems that a wide road strikes at right angles into the interior of the forest; you follow that until a stone chapel with a colonnaded porch stands before you on your left, and the walls and gates of a park on your right. That is so, is it not, Sir Percy?" he added, once more turning towards the interior of the coach.

Apparently the answer satisfied him, for he gave the quick word of command, "En avant!" then turned back towards his own coach and finally entered it.

"Do you know the Chateau d'Ourde, citizen St. Just?" he asked abruptly as soon as the carriage began to move.

Armand woke--as was habitual with him these days--from some gloomy reverie.

"Yes, citizen," he replied. "I know it."

"And the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre?"

"Yes. I know it too."

Indeed, he knew the chateau well, and the little chapel in the forest, whither the fisher-folk from Portel and Boulogne came on a pilgrimage once a year to lay their nets on the miracle-working relic. The chapel was disused now. Since the owner of the chateau had fled no one had tended it, and the fisher-folk were afraid to wander out, lest their superstitious faith be counted against them by the authorities, who had abolished le bon Dieu.

But Armand had found refuge there eighteen months ago, on his way to Calais, when Percy had risked his life in order to save hi--Armand--from death. He could have groaned aloud with the anguish of this recollection. But Marguerite's aching nerves had thrilled at the name.

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El Dorado
Baroness Emmuska Orczy

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