Lady Blakeney, said the young man, trying to recover himself, I
Will you hear me first? she interrupted. This is how the matter stands. When the agent of the French Government stole your papers that night in Dover, he found amongst them certain plans, which you or your leader meant to carry out for the rescue of the Comte de Tournay and others. The Scarlet PimpernelPercy, my husbandhas gone on this errand himself to-day. Chauvelin knows that the Scarlet Pimpernel and Percy Blakeney are one and the same person. He will follow him to Calais, and there will lay hands on him. You know as well as I do the fate that awaits him at the hands of the Revolutionary Government of France. No interference from Englandfrom King George himselfwould save him. Robespierre and his gang would see to it that the interference came too late. But not only that, the much-trusted leader will also have been unconsciously the means of revealing the hiding-place of the Comte de Tournay and of all those who, even now, are placing their hopes in him.
She had spoken quietly, dispassionately, and with firm, unbending resolution. Her purpose was to make that young man trust and help her, for she could do nothing without him.
I do not understand, he repeated, trying to gain time, to think what was best to be done.
Aye! but I think you do, Sir Andrew. You must know that I am speaking the truth. Look these facts straight in the face. Percy has sailed for Calais, I presume for some lonely part of the coast, and Chauvelin is on his track. He has posted for Dover, and will cross the Channel probably to-night. What do you think will happen?
The young man was silent.
Percy will arrive at his destination: unconscious of being followed he will seek out de Tournay and the othersamong these is Armand St. Just, my brotherhe will seek them out, one after another, probably, not knowing that the sharpest eyes in the world are watching his every movement. When he has thus unconsciously betrayed those who blindly trust in him, when nothing can be gained from him, and he is ready to come back to England, with those whom he has gone so bravely to save, the doors of the trap will close upon him, and he will be sent to end his noble life upon the guillotine.
Still Sir Andrew was silent.
You do not trust me, she said passionately. Oh God! cannot you see that I am in deadly earnest? Man, man, she added, while, with her tiny hands she seized the young man suddenly by the shoulders, forcing him to look straight at her, tell me, do I look like that vilest thing on eartha woman who would betray her own husband?
God forbid, Lady Blakeney, said the young man at last, that I should attribute such evil motives to you, but
But what? tell me Quick, man! the very seconds are precious!
Will you tell me, he asked resolutely, and looking searchingly into her blue eyes, whose hand helped to guide M. Chauvelin to the knowledge which you say he possesses?
Mine, she said quietly, I own itI will not lie to you, for I wish you to trust me absolutely. But I had no ideahow could I have?of the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel and my brothers safety was to be my prize if I succeeded.
In helping Chauvelin to track the Scarlet Pimpernel?
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|