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|The Scarlet Pimpernel||Baroness Emmuska Orczy|
THE SECRET ORCHARD
|Page 2 of 4||
"Our own beautiful country, Marguerite," said Armand, who seemed to have divined her thoughts.
"They are going too far, Armand," she said vehemently. "You are a republican, so am I. . .we have the same thoughts, the same enthusiasm for liberty and equality. . .but even YOU must think that they are going too far. . ."
"Hush!--" said Armand, instinctively, as he threw a quick, apprehensive glance around him.
"Ah! you see: you don't think yourself that it is safe even to speak of these things--here in England!" She clung to him suddenly with strong, almost motherly, passion: "Don't go, Armand!" she begged; "don't go back! What should I do if. . .if. . .if. . ."
Her voice was choked in sobs, her eyes, tender, blue and loving, gazed appealingly at the young man, who in his turn looked steadfastly into hers.
"You would in any case be my own brave sister," he said gently, "who would remember that, when France is in peril, it is not for her sons to turn their backs on her."
Even as he spoke, that sweet childlike smile crept back into her face, pathetic in the extreme, for it seemed drowned in tears.
"Oh! Armand!" she said quaintly, "I sometimes wish you had not so many lofty virtues. . . . I assure you little sins are far less dangerous and uncomfortable. But you WILL be prudent?" she added earnestly.
"As far as possible. . .I promise you."
"Remember, dear, I have only you. . .to. . .to care for me. . . ."
"Nay, sweet one, you have other interests now. Percy cares for you. . . ."
A look of strange wistfulness crept into her eyes as she murmured,--
"He did. . .once. . ."
"But surely. . ."
"There, there, dear, don't distress yourself on my account. Percy is very good. . ."
"Nay!" he interrupted energetically, "I will distress myself on your account, my Margot. Listen, dear, I have not spoken of these things to you before; something always seemed to stop me when I wished to question you. But, somehow, I feel as if I could not go away and leave you now without asking you one question. . . . You need not answer it if you do not wish," he added, as he noted a sudden hard look, almost of apprehension, darting through her eyes.
"What is it?" she asked simply.
"Does Sir Percy Blakeney know that. . .I mean, does he know the part you played in the arrest of the Marquis de St. Cyr?"
She laughed--a mirthless, bitter, contemptuous laugh, which was like a jarring chord in the music of her voice.
"That I denounced the Marquis de St. Cyr, you mean, to the tribunal that ultimately sent him and all his family to the guillotine? Yes, he does know. . . . . I told him after I married him. . . ."
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|The Scarlet Pimpernel
Baroness Emmuska Orczy
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