The Scarlet Pimpernel HTML version
IV. The League Of The Scarlet Pimpernel
They all looked a merry, even a happy party, as they sat round the table; Sir
Andrew Ffoulkes and Lord Antony Dewhurst, two typical good-looking, well-born
and well-bred Englishmen of that year of grace 1792, and the aristocratic French
comtesse with her two children, who had just escaped from such dire perils, and
found a safe retreat at last on the shores of protecting England.
In the corner the two strangers had apparently finished their game; one of them
arose, and standing with his back to the merry company at the table, he adjusted
with much with much deliberation his large triple caped coat. As he did so, he
gave one quick glance all around him. Everyone was busy laughing and chatting,
and he murmured the words "All safe!": his companion then, with the alertness
borne of long practice, slipped on to his knees in a moment, and the next had
crept noiselessly under the oak bench. The stranger then, with a loud "Good-
night," quietly walked out of the coffee-room.
Not one of those at the supper table had noticed this curious and silent
Mammanoeuvre, but when the stranger finally closed the door of the coffee-room
behind him, they all instinctively sighed a sigh of relief.
"Alone, at last!" said Lord Antony, jovially.
Then the young Vicomte de Tournay rose, glass in hand, and with the graceful
affection peculiar to the times, he raised it aloft, and said in broken English,--
"To His Majesty George Three of England. God bless him for his hospitality to us
all, poor exiles from France."
"His Majesty the King!" echoed Lord Antony and Sir Andrew as they drank loyally
to the toast.
"To His Majesty King Louis of France," added Sir Andrew, with solemnity. "May
God protect him, and give him victory over his enemies."
Everyone rose and drank this toast in silence. The fate of the unfortunate King of
France, then a prisoner of his own people, seemed to cast a gloom even over Mr.
Jellyband's pleasant countenance.
"And to M. le Comte de Tournay de Basserive," said Lord Antony, merrily. "May
we welcome him in England before many days are over."
"Ah, Monsieur," said the Comtesse, as with a slightly trembling hand she
conveyed her glass to her lips, "I scarcely dare to hope."