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|Part I||Baroness Emmuska Orczy|
VIII Arcades Ambo
|Page 3 of 4||
"They ought both to have been guillotined for that blunder last autumn at Boulogne."
"Take care that the same accusation be not laid at your door this year, my friend," commented de Batz placidly.
"The Scarlet Pimpernel is in Paris even now."
"The devil he is!"
"And on what errand, think you?"
There was a moment's silence, and then de Batz continued with slow and dramatic emphasis:
"That of rescuing your most precious prisoner from the Temple."
"How do you know?" Heron queried savagely.
"I saw a man in the Theatre National to-day ..."
"Who is a member of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel."
"D-- him! Where can I find him?"
"Will you sign a receipt for the three thousand five hundred livres, which I am pining to hand over to you, my friend, and I will tell you?"
"Where's the money?"
"In my pocket."
Without further words Heron dragged the inkhorn and a sheet of paper towards him, took up a pen, and wrote a few words rapidly in a loose, scrawly hand. He strewed sand over the writing, then handed it across the table to de Batz.
"Will that do?" he asked briefly.
The other was reading the note through carefully.
"I see you only grant me a fortnight," he remarked casually.
"For that amount of money it is sufficient. If you want an extension you must pay more."
"So be it," assented de Batz coolly, as he folded the paper across. "On the whole a fortnight's immunity in France these days is quite a pleasant respite. And I prefer to keep in touch with you, friend Heron. I'll call on you again this day fortnight."
He took out a letter-case from his pocket. Out of this he drew a packet of bank-notes, which he laid on the table in front of Heron, then he placed the receipt carefully into the letter-case, and this back into his pocket.
Heron in the meanwhile was counting over the banknotes. The light of ferocity had entirely gone from his eyes; momentarily the whole expression of the face was one of satisfied greed.
"Well!" he said at last when he had assured himself that the number of notes was quite correct, and he had transferred the bundle of crisp papers into an inner pocket of his coat--"well, what about your friend?"
"I knew him years ago," rejoined de Batz coolly; "he is a kinsman of citizen St. Just. I know that he is one of the confederates of the Scarlet Pimpernel."
"Where does he lodge?"
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