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The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel

III. Two Good Patriots
Being the deposition of citizeness Fanny Roussell, who was brought up, together with her
husband, before the Tribunal of the Revolution on a charge of treason--both being
subsequently acquitted.
My name is Fanny Roussell, and I am a respectable married woman, and as good a patriot
as any of you sitting there.
Aye, and I'll say it with my dying breath, though you may send me to the guillotine...as
you probably will, for you are all thieves and murderers, every one of you, and you have
already made up your minds that I and my man are guilty of having sheltered that
accursed Englishman whom they call the Scarlet Pimpernel...and of having helped him to
escape.
But I'll tell you how it all happened, because, though you call me a traitor to the people of
France, yet am I a true patriot and will prove it to you by telling you exactly how
everything occurred, so that you may be on your guard against the cleverness of that man,
who, I do believe, is a friend and confederate of the devil...else how could he have
escaped that time?
Well! it was three days ago, and as bitterly cold as anything that my man and I can
remember. We had no travellers staying in the house, for we are a good three leagues out
of Calais, and too far for the folk who have business in or about the harbour. Only at
midday the coffee-room would get full sometimes with people on their way to or from
the port.
But in the evenings the place was quite deserted, and so lonely that at times we fancied
that we could hear the wolves howling in the forest of St. Pierre.
It was close on eight o'clock, and my man was putting up the shutters, when suddenly we
heard the tramp of feet on the road outside, and then the quick word, "Halt!"
The next moment there was a peremptory knock at the door. My man opened it, and there
stood four men in the uniform of the 9th Regiment of the Line... the same that is
quartered at Calais. The uniform, of course, I knew well, though I did not know the men
by sight.
"In the name of the People and by the order of the Committee of Public Safety!" said one
of the men, who stood in the forefront, and who, I noticed, had a corporal's stripe on his
left sleeve.
He held out a paper, which was covered with seals and with writing, but as neither my
man nor I can read, it was no use our looking at it.
 
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