I Will Repay HTML version
Chapter XXVIII. The unexpected
The small party walked on in silence. It seemed to consist of a very few men of
the National Guard, whom Santerne had placed under the command of the
soldier who had transmitted to him the orders of the Citizen-Deputies.
Juliette and Déroulède both vaguely wondered whither they were being led; to
some other prison mayhap, away from the fury of the populace. They were
conscious of a sense of satisfaction at thought of being freed from that pack of
raging wild beasts.
Beyond that they cared nothing. Both felt already the shadow of death hovering
over them. The supreme moment of their lives had come, and had found them
side by side.
What neither fear nor remorse, sorrow nor joy, could do, that the great and
mighty Shadow accomplished in a trice.
Juliette, looking death bravely in the face, held out her hand, and sought that of
the man she loved.
There was not one word spoken between them, not even a murmur.
Déroulède, with the unerring instinct of his own unselfish passion, understood all
that the tiny hand wished to convey to him.
In a moment everything was forgotten save the joy of this touch. Death, or the
fear of death, had ceased to exist. Life was beautiful, and in the soul of these two
human creatures there was perfect peace, almost perfect happiness.
With one grasp of the hand they had sought and found one another's soul. What
mattered the yelling crowd, the noise and tumult of this sordid world? They had
found one another, and, hand-in-hand, shoulder-to-shoulder, they had gone off
wandering into the land of dreams, where dwelt neither doubt nor treachery,
where there was nothing to forgive.
He no longer said: "She does not love me--would she have betrayed me else?"
He felt the clinging, trustful touch of her hand, and knew that, with all her faults,
her great sin and her lasting sorrow, her woman's heart, Heaven's most priceless
treasure, was indeed truly his.
And she knew that he had forgiven--nay, that he had naught to forgive --for Love
is sweet and tender, and judges not. Love is Love--whole, trustful, passionate.
Love is perfect understanding and perfect peace.
And so they followed their escort whithersoever it chose to lead them.
Their eyes wandered aimlessly over the mist-laden landscape of this portion of
deserted Paris. They had turned away from the river now, and were following the
Rue des Arts. Close by on the right was the dismal little hostelry, "La Cruche
Cassée," where Sir Percy Blakeney lived. Déroulède, as they neared the place,
caught himself vaguely wondering what had become of his English friend.
But it would take more than the ingenuity of the Scarlet Pimpernel to get two
noted prisoners out of Paris to-day. Even if...
The word of command rang out clearly and distinctly through the rain-soaked