The Scarlet Pimpernel
XXV. The Eagle And The Fox
Marguerite's breath stopped short; she seemed to feel her very life standing still
momentarily whilst she listened to that voice and to that song. In the singer she
had recognised her husband. Chauvelin, too, had heard it, for he darted a quick
glance towards the door, then hurriedly took up his broad-brimmed hat and
clapped it over his head.
The voice drew nearer; for one brief second the wild desire seized Marguerite to
rush down the steps and fly across the room, to stop that song at any cost, to
beg the cheerful singer to fly--fly for his life, before it be too late. She checked the
impulse just in time. Chauvelin would stop her before she reached the door, and,
moreover, she had no idea if he had any soldiers posted within his call. Her
impetuous act might prove the death-signal of the man she would have died to
"Long reign over us, God save the King!"
sang the voice more lustily than ever. The next moment the door was thrown
open and there was dead silence for a second or so.
Marguerite could not see the door; she held her breath, trying to imagine what
Percy Blakeney on entering had, of course, at once caught sight of the CURE at
the table; his hesitation lasted less than five seconds, the next moment,
Marguerite saw his tall figure crossing the room, whilst he called in a loud,
"Hello, there! no one about? Where's that fool Brogard?"
He wore the magnificent coat and riding-suit which he had on when Marguerite
last saw him at Richmond, so many hours ago. As usual, his get-up was
absolutely irreproachable, the fine Mechlin lace at his neck and wrists were
immaculate and white, his fair hair was carefully brushed, and he carried his
eyeglass with his usual affected gesture. In fact, at this moment, Sir Percy
Blakeney, Bart., might have been on his way to a garden-party at the Prince of
Wales', instead of deliberately, cold-bloodedly running his head in a trap, set for
him by his deadliest enemy.
He stood for a moment in the middle of the room, whilst Marguerite, absolutely
paralysed with horror, seemed unable even to breathe.