The Elusive Pimpernel
XXXV : Marguerite
As he re-entered the large room, she was standing beside the table, with one dainty hand
resting against the back of the chair, her whole graceful figure bent forward as if in an
agony of ardent expectation.
Never for an instant, in that supreme moment when his precious life was at stake, did she
waver in courage or presence of mind. From the moment that he jumped up and took the
candlesticks in his hands, her sixth sense showed her as in a flash what he meant to do
and how he would wish her to act.
When the room was plunged in darkness she stood absolutely still; when she heard the
scuffle on the floor she never trembled, for her passionate heart had already told her that
he never meant to deliver that infamous letter into his enemies' hands. Then, when there
was the general scramble, when the soldiers rushed away, when the room became empty
and Chauvelin alone remained, she shrank quietly into the darkest corner of the room,
hardly breathing, only waiting. ... Waiting for a sign from him!
She could not see him, but she felt the beloved presence there, somewhere close to her,
and she knew that he would wish her to wait. ... She watched him silently ... ready to help
if he called ... equally ready to remain still and to wait.
Only when the helpless body of her deadly enemy was well out of the way did she come
from out the darkness, and now she stood with the full light of the lamp illumining her
ruddy golden hair, the delicate blush on her cheek, the flame of love dancing in her
Thus he saw her as he re-entered the room, and for one second he paused at the door, for
the joy of seeing her there seemed greater than he could bear.
Forgotten was the agony of mind which he had endured, the humiliations and the dangers
which still threatened: he only remembered that she loved him and that he worshipped
The next moment she lay clasped in his arms. All was still around them, save for the
gentle patter-patter of the rain on the trees of the ramparts: and from very far away the
echo of laughter and music from the distant revellers.
And then the cry of the sea-mew thrice repeated from just beneath the window.
Blakeney and Marguerite awoke from their brief dream: once more the passionate lover
gave place to the man of action.
"'Tis Tony, an I mistake not," he said hurriedly, as with loving fingers still slightly
trembling with suppressed passion, he readjusted the hood over her head.