his countrymen, had left England a little more than a week ago, carrying with him the necessary instructions, which would enable him to meet the other fugitives and to convey them to this place of safety.
This much Marguerite had fully understood from the first, and Sir Andrew Ffoulkes had confirmed her surmises. She knew, too, that when Sir Percy realised that his own plans and his directions to his lieutenants had been stolen by Chauvelin, it was too late to communicate with Armand, or to send fresh instructions to the fugitives.
They would, of necessity, be at the appointed time and place, not knowing how grave was the danger which now awaited their brave rescuer.
Blakeney, who as usual had planned and organized the whole expedition, would not allow any of his younger comrades to run the risk of almost certain capture. Hence his hurried note to them at Lord Grenvilles ballStart myself to-morrowalone.
And now with his identity known to his most bitter enemy, his every step would be dogged, the moment he set foot in France. He would be tracked by Chauvelins emissaries, followed until he reached that mysterious hut where the fugitives were waiting for him, and there the trap would be closed on him and on them.
There was but one hourthe hours start which Marguerite and Sir Andrew had of their enemyin which to warn Percy of the imminence of his danger, and to persuade him to give up the foolhardy expedition, which could only end in his own death.
But there was that one hour.
Chauvelin knows of this inn, from the papers he stole, said Sir Andrew, earnestly, and on landing will make straight for it.
He has not landed yet, she said, we have an hours start on him, and Percy will be here directly. We shall be mid-Channel ere Chauvelin has realised that we have slipped through his fingers. She spoke excitedly and eagerly, wishing to infuse into her young friend some of that buoyant hope which still clung to her heart. But he shook his head sadly.
Silent again, Sir Andrew? she said with some impatience. Why do you shake your head and look so glum?
Faith, Madame, he replied, tis only because in making your rose-coloured plans, you are forgetting the most important factor.
What in the world do you mean?I am forgetting nothing. What factor do you mean? she added with more impatience.
It stands six foot odd high, replied Sir Andrew, quietly, and hath name Percy Blakeney.
I dont understand, she murmured.
Do you think that Blakeney would leave Calais without having accomplished what he set out to do?
You mean ?
Theres the old Comte de Tournay
The Comte ? she murmured.
And St. Just and others
|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.|