The Scarlet Pimpernel
At what particular moment the strange doubt first crept into Marguerites mind, she could not herself afterwards have said. With the ring tightly clutched in her hand, she had run out of the room, down the stairs, and out into the garden, where, in complete seclusion, alone with the flowers, and the river and the birds, she could look again at the ring, and study that device more closely.
Stupidly, senselessly, now, sitting beneath the shade of an overhanging sycamore, she was looking at the plain gold shield, with the star-shaped little flower engraved upon it.
Bah! It was ridiculous! she was dreaming! her nerves were overwrought, and she saw signs and mysteries in the most trivial coincidences. Had not everybody about town recently made a point of affecting the device of that mysterious and heroic Scarlet Pimpernel?
Did she not herself wear it embroidered on her gowns? set in gems and enamel in her hair? What was there strange in the fact that Sir Percy should have chosen to use the device as a seal-ring? He might easily have done that yes quite easily and besides what connection could there be between her exquisite dandy of a husband, with his fine clothes and refined, lazy ways, and the daring plotter who rescued French victims from beneath the very eyes of the leaders of a bloodthirsty revolution?
Her thoughts were in a whirlher mind a blank She did not see anything that was going on around her, and was quite startled when a fresh young voice called to her across the garden.
Chèrie!chèrie! where are you? and little Suzanne, fresh as a rosebud, with eyes dancing with glee, and brown curls fluttering in the soft morning breeze, came running across the lawn.
They told me you were in the garden, she went on prattling merrily, and throwing herself with pretty, girlish impulse into Marguerites arms, so I ran out to give you a surprise. You did not expect me quite so soon, did you, my darling little Margot chèerie?
Marguerite, who had hastily concealed the ring in the folds of her kerchief, tried to respond gaily and unconcernedly to the young girls impulsiveness.
Indeed, sweet one, she said with a smile, it is delightful to have you all to myself, and for a nice whole long day You wont be bored?
Oh! bored! Margot, how can you say such a wicked thing. Why! when we were in the dear old convent together, we were always happy when we were allowed to be alone together.
And to talk secrets.
The two young girls had linked their arms in one anothers and began wandering round the garden.
Oh! how lovely your home is, Margot, darling, said little Suzanne, enthusiastically, and how happy you must be!
Aye, indeed! I ought to be happyoughtnt I, sweet one? said Marguerite, with a wistful little sigh.
How sadly you say it, chèrie Ah, well, I suppose now that you are a married woman you wont care to talk secrets with me any longer. Oh! what lots and lots of secrets we used to have at school! Do you remember?some we did not even confide to Sister Theresa of the Holy Angelsthough she was such a dear.
And now you have one all-important secret, eh, little one? said Marguerite, merrily, which you are forthwith going to confide to me. Nay, you need not blush, chèrie, she added, as she saw Suzannes pretty little face crimson with blushes. Faith, theres naught to be ashamed of! He is a noble and true man, and one to be proud of as a lover, and as a husband.
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