The Elusive Pimpernel HTML version
XXXIV : The Angelus
And gradually all noises died away around the old Fort Gayole. The shouts and laugher
of the merrymakers, who had quickly recovered from their fright, now came only as the
muffled rumble of a distant storm, broken here and there by the shrill note of a girl's loud
laughter, or a vigorous fanfare from the brass trumpets.
The room where so much turmoil had taken place, where so many hearts had beaten with
torrent-like emotions, where the awesome tragedy of revenge and hate, of love and
passion had been consummated, was now silent and at peace.
The soldiers had gone: some in pursuit of the revellers, some with Collot d'Herbois,
others with Hebert and the calotin who was to ring the Angelus.
Chauvelin, overcome with the intensity of his exultation and the agony of the suspense
which he had endured, sat, vaguely dreaming, hardly conscious, but wholly happy and
content. Fearless, too, for his triumph was complete, and he cared not now if he lived or
He had lived long enough to see the complete annihilation and dishonour of his enemy.
What had happened to Sir Percy Blakeney now, what to Marguerite, he neither knew nor
cared. No doubt the Englishman had picked himself up and got away through the window
or the door: he would be anxious to get his wife out of the town as quickly as possible.
The Angelus would ring directly, the gates would be opened, the harbour made free to
And Collot was a league outside Boulogne by now ... a league nearer to Paris.
So what mattered the humbled wayside English flower?--the damaged and withered
Scarlet Pimpernel? ...
A slight noise suddenly caused him to start. He had been dreaming, no doubt, having
fallen into some kind of torpor, akin to sleep, after the deadly and restless fatigue of the
past four days. He certainly had been unconscious of everything around him, of time and
of place. But now he felt fully awake.
And again he heard that slight noise, as if something or someone was moving in the
He tried to peer into the darkness, but could distinguish nothing. He rose and went to the
door. It was still open, and close behind it against the wall a small oil lamp was fixed
which lit up the corridor.