The Scarlet Pimpernel
XVIII. The Mysterious Device
The day was well advanced when Marguerite woke, refreshed by her long sleep.
Louise had brought her some fresh milk and a dish of fruit, and she partook of
this frugal breakfast with hearty appetite.
Thoughts crowded thick and fast in her mind as she munched her grapes; most
of them went galloping away after the tall, erect figure of her husband, whom she
had watched riding out of site more than five hours ago.
In answer to her eager inquiries, Louise brought back the news that the groom
had come home with Sultan, having left Sir Percy in London. The groom thought
that his master was about to get on board his schooner, which was lying off just
below London Bridge. Sir Percy had ridden thus far, had then met Briggs, the
skipper of the DAY DREAM, and had sent the groom back to Richmond with
Sultan and the empty saddle.
This news puzzled Marguerite more than ever. Where could Sir Percy be going
just now in the DAY DREAM? On Armand's behalf, he had said. Well! Sir Percy
had influential friends everywhere. Perhaps he was going to Greenwich, or . . .
but Marguerite ceased to conjecture; all would be explained anon: he said that he
would come back, and that he would remember. A long, idle day lay before
Marguerite. She was expecting a visit of her old school-fellow, little Suzanne de
Tournay. With all the merry mischief at her command, she had tendered her
request for Suzanne's company to the Comtesse in the Presence of the Prince of
Wales last night. His Royal Highness had loudly applauded the notion, and
declared that he would give himself the pleasure of calling on the two ladies in
the course of the afternoon. The Comtesse had not dared to refuse, and then
and there was entrapped into a promise to send little Suzanne to spend a long
and happy day at Richmond with her friend.
Marguerite expected her eagerly; she longed for a chat about old school-days
with the child; she felt that she would prefer Suzanne's company to that of
anyone else, and together they would roam through the fine old garden and rich
deer park, or stroll along the river.
But Suzanne had not come yet, and Marguerite being dressed, prepared to go
downstairs. She looked quite a girl this morning in her simple muslin frock, with a
broad blue sash round her slim waist, and the dainty cross-over fichu into which,
at her bosom, she had fastened a few late crimson roses.
She crossed the landing outside her own suite of apartments, and stood still for a
moment at the head of the fine oak staircase, which led to the lower floor. On her