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The Scarlet Pimpernel Baroness Emmuska Orczy


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"Well! and did you see anything?"

"About half an hour later, I heard voices, citoyen, and presently, two men came along towards the edge of the cliff; they seemed to me to have come from the Lille Road. One was young, the other quite old. They were talking in a whisper, to one another, and I could not hear what they said." One was young, and the other quite old. Marguerite's aching heart almost stopped beating as she listened: was the young one Armand?--her brother?--and the old one de Tournay--were they the two fugitives who, unconsciously, were used as a decoy, to entrap their fearless and noble rescuer.

"The two men presently went into the hut," continued the soldier, whilst Marguerite's aching nerves seemed to catch the sound of Chauvelin's triumphant chuckle, "and I crept nearer to it then. The hut is very roughly built, and I caught snatches of their conversation."

"Yes?--Quick!--What did you hear?"

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"The old man asked the young one if he were sure that was right place. `Oh, yes,' he replied, `'tis the place sure enough,' and by the light of the charcoal fire he showed to his companion a paper, which he carried. `Here is the plan,' he said, `which he gave me before I left London. We were to adhere strictly to that plan, unless I had contrary orders, and I have had none. Here is the road we followed, see. . .here the fork. . .here we cut across the St. Martin Road. . .and here is the footpath which brought us to the edge of the cliff.' I must have made a slight noise then, for the young man came to the door of the hut, and peered anxiously all round him. When he again joined his companion, they whispered so low, that I could no longer hear them."

"Well?--and?" asked Chauvelin, impatiently.

"There were six of us altogether, patrolling that part of the beach, so we consulted together, and thought it best that four should remain behind and keep the hut in sight, and I and my comrade rode back at once to make report of what we had seen."

"You saw nothing of the tall stranger?"

"Nothing, citoyen."

"If your comrades see him, what would they do?"

"Not lose sight of him for a moment, and if he showed signs of escape, or any boat came in sight, they would close in on him, and, if necessary, they would shoot: the firing would bring the rest of the patrol to the spot. In any case they would not let the stranger go."

"Aye! but I did not want the stranger hurt--not just yet," murmured Chauvelin, savagely, "but there, you've done your best. The Fates grant that I may not be too late. . . ."

"We met half a dozen men just now, who have been patrolling this road for several hours."

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The Scarlet Pimpernel
Baroness Emmuska Orczy

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