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|Part I||Baroness Emmuska Orczy|
II Widely Divergent Aims
|Page 5 of 8||
His restless eyes peered with eager interrogation into those of the younger man. He paused as if waiting for a reply; then, as St. Just remained silent, he reiterated slowly, almost in the tones of a challenge:
"If indeed he hates this bloodthirsty revolution of ours as he seems to do."
The reiteration implied a doubt. In a moment St. Just's loyalty was up in arms.
The Scarlet Pimpernel," he said, "cares naught for your political aims. The work of mercy that he does, he does for justice and for humanity."
"And for sport," said de Batz with a sneer, "so I've been told."
"He is English," assented St. Just, " and as such will never own to sentiment. Whatever be the motive, look at the result!
"Yes! a few lives stolen from the guillotine."
"Women and children--innocent victims--would have perished but for his devotion."
"The more innocent they were, the more helpless, the more pitiable, the louder would their blood have cried for reprisals against the wild beasts who sent them to their death."
St. Just made no reply. It was obviously useless to attempt to argue with this man, whose political aims were as far apart from those of the Scarlet Pimpernel as was the North Pole from the South.
"If any of you have influence over that hot-headed leader of yours," continued de Batz, unabashed by the silence of his friend, "I wish to God you would exert it now."
"In what way?" queried St. Just, smiling in spite of himself at the thought of his or any one else's control over Blakeney and his plans.
It was de Batz' turn to be silent. He paused for a moment or two, then he asked abruptly:
"Your Scarlet Pimpernel is in Paris now, is he not?"
"I cannot tell you," replied Armand.
"Bah! there is no necessity to fence with me, my friend. The moment I set eyes on you this afternoon I knew that you had not come to Paris alone."
"You are mistaken, my good de Batz," rejoined the young man earnestly; "I came to Paris alone."
"Clever parrying, on my word--but wholly wasted on my unbelieving ears. Did I not note at once that you did not seem overpleased to-day when I accosted you?"
"Again you are mistaken. I was very pleased to meet you, for I had felt singularly lonely all day, and was glad to shake a friend by the hand. What you took for displeasure was only surprise."
"Surprise? Ah, yes! I don't wonder that you were surprised to see me walking unmolested and openly in the streets of Paris--whereas you had heard of me as a dangerous conspirator, eh ?--and as a man who has the entire police of his country at his heels--on whose head there is a price--what?"
"I knew that you had made several noble efforts to rescue the unfortunate King and Queen from the hands of these brutes."
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Baroness Emmuska Orczy
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