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The Scarlet Pimpernel Baroness Emmuska Orczy


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"Yes, to-day," muttered Brogard, sullenly. Then he quietly took Sir Andrew's hat from a chair close by, put it on his own head, tugged at his dirty blouse, and generally tried to express in pantomime that the individual in question wore very fine clothes. "SACRRE ARISTO!" he muttered, "that tall Englishman!"

Marguerite could scarce repress a scream.

"It's Sir Percy right enough," she murmured, "and not even in disguise!"

She smiled, in the midst of all her anxiety and through her gathering tears, at the thought of "the ruling passion strong in death"; of Percy running into the wildest, maddest dangers, with the latest-cut coat upon his back, and the laces of his jabot unruffled.

"Oh! the foolhardiness of it!" she sighed. "Quick, Sir Andrew! ask the man when he went."

"Ah yes, my friend," said Sir Andrew, addressing Brogard, with the same assumption of carelessness, "my lord always wears beautiful clothes; the tall Englishman you saw, was certainly my lady's friend. And he has gone, you say?"

"He went. . .yes. . .but he's coming back. . .here--he ordered supper. . ."

Sir Andrew put his hand with a quick gesture of warning upon Marguerite's arm; it came none too sone, for the next moment her wild, mad joy would have betrayed her. He was safe and well, was coming back here presently, she would see him in a few moments perhaps. . . . Oh! the wildness of her joy seemed almost more than she could bear.

"Here!" she said to Brogard, who seemed suddenly to have been transformed in her eyes into some heavenborn messenger of bliss. "Here!--did you say the English gentleman was coming back here?"

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The heaven-born messenger of bliss spat upon the floor, to express his contempt for all and sundry ARISTOS, who chose to haunt the "Chat Gris."

"Heu!" he muttered, "he ordered supper--he will come back. . . SACRRE ANGLAIS!" he added, by way of protest against all this fuss for a mere Englishman.

"But where is he now?--Do you know?" she asked eagerly, placing her dainty white hand upon the dirty sleeve of his blue blouse.

"He went to get a horse and cart," said Brogard, laconically, as with a surly gesture, he shook off from his arm that pretty hand which princes had been proud to kiss.

"At what time did he go?"

But Brogard had evidently had enough of these questionings. He did not think that it was fitting for a citizen--who was the equal of anybody--to be thus catechised by these SACRRES ARISTOS, even though they were rich English ones. It was distinctly more fitting to his newborn dignity to be as rude as possible; it was a sure sign of servility to meekly reply to civil questions.

"I don't know," he said surlily. "I have said enough, VOYONS, LES ARISTOS!. . .He came to-day. He ordered supper. He went out.--He'll come back. VOILA!"

And with this parting assertion of his rights as a citizen and a free man, to be as rude as he well pleased, Brogard shuffled out of the room, banging the door after him.

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The Scarlet Pimpernel
Baroness Emmuska Orczy

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