Miss Lucie Blakeney's Story
"Qui va là?" I asked, very thankful that I had changed out of my fancy dress into something less conspicuous.
"Soldiers of the Republic of France," came the harsh reply.
Suddenly the child stopped crying.
"Do you know where I can find Citizen Sergeant Fouquet? I have a message for him."
"I am Citizen Fouquet," said one of the soldiers who was obviously the leader.
"I have a message from Citizen Rateau," the child said trying not to cry again. "He threatened to send Maman to the guillotine unless I could find the Citizen Sergeant. There are so many soldiers in the city I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find you."
The Sergeant took the piece of paper out of the trembling hand and looked at the boy and the boy seeing his job was done took off like a shot down the road.
The soldiers hadn't really paid any attention to me, so I slipped away into the shadows. I was rounding the corner when I heard something that made me start.
"What is it, Ffoulkes?" I heard a voice whisper in English. It was Lord Hastings voice. They must have been the soldiers, I thought. Then there was a short pause as if the two men were making sure they were not watched. I kept as silent as possible hiding in the shadows.
"It's from the chief. Le Marquis Chabrier and his two sons are to be executed tomorrow it will be our job to save them. We will try to rescue them at about dawn. We are to meet at the chief's North bank lodgings about an hour before to receive final instructions."
It was just then that I noticed the old apple woman from before standing not very far form where I was also listening quietly to everything that was being said. Then she saw me, turned on her heel, and made for la Place de la Grève. I thought she might also be a Guilder who had also felt sorry for the little messenger. As we got closer and closer to the meeting place I noticed she was not heading for la Place de la Grève, but for the lodgings of one of the members of the Committee of Public Safety, Citizen Chauvelin. I had heard that Citizen Chauvelin was one of the most bitter enemies of the Scarlet Pimpernel. The situation was looking serious. This was going to be harder than I thought. I was going to need some help.
Just that moment, I saw Eliza coming towards me. I signaled to her to be quiet and to come quickly.
"What is the matter?" she whispered.
"I overheard Sir Andrew reading a note from the Scarlet Pimpernel, but I wasn't the only one. An old woman also heard and I think she is going to tell Citizen Chauvelin."
Eliza lost no time. She knew just what to do.
"Louis is here in Paris, he is staying at 25 Rue Christine. Go and fetch him. We are going to need him. I'll stay here and try to listen to what is being said. I am more experienced and less likely to attract attention. Now go quickly."
I asked no questions. I just ran down the street towards la Rue Christine.
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