“Is there no other?” asked the Queen, turning to Beaufort. “Surely we are not so destitute of friends that we must send this girl upon such a dangerous mission!” she said, sorrowfully.
“I implore your Majesty to let me go,” said Adrienne, once more. “’Tis a service I would do myself as well as your Majesty,” she went on, her white face suddenly covered with a burning blush.
The Queen looked at her keenly for a moment, and then she put out her hand with a sad, comprehending smile. “You may go,” she said.
THE TENTH OF AUGUST
According to agreement, Bremond sped instantly from the Assembly to Courbevoie with news of the fresh humiliation put upon the King and the outrageous scene which had taken place. He found Calvert, Monciel, Favernay, Bachman, and several officers of the Swiss Guard, upon whose loyalty they could depend, assembled in a room of the officers’ quarters of the barracks, anxiously awaiting the issue of the day’s events. He told his news amid a dead silence, broken only now and then by an exclamation of indignation or disappointment from one of the listeners. When he had finished speaking, Calvert turned to the little group, “Then, gentlemen,” he says, “pursuant to the plan, the King’s request having been denied, we may expect their Majesties here before ten, and shall have the honor of guarding them to Compiegne.”
As he looked around upon the little company, there was not a face but expressed some secret doubt and misgiving. The King’s timidity and vacillation were so well known that ’twas impossible not to question his good faith even in this last extremity. As ten o’clock passed and eleven and no message or sign of the royal fugitives came to the anxious, impatient watchers, those secret doubts and misgivings began to be openly expressed.
“’Tis the Austrian who has kept him, I will bet a hundred louis,” said one of the Guard’s officers, gloomily. “I never believed she would keep faith with us—she is too deeply committed to Brunswick—nor will she let the King do so.” Even while he spoke there was a sound of someone’s running hurriedly up the stairs—they were assembled in an upper room—and in an instant an orderly was hammering at the door, which was flung open by Monciel.
“A messenger for Monsieur Calvert,” he says, saluting.
Calvert followed the man hastily down the steps to where a figure waited for him which made him start back with an exclamation of surprise and consternation.
Adrienne—for it was she—came forward, taking off the cap pulled over her eyes and letting fall the great cloak with which she had enveloped herself in spite of the intense heat, and appearing in the outrider’s livery which was to have been the Queen’s disguise.
“C’est moi,” she says, hurriedly, and putting a finger to her lips, “and I am come to tell you that their Majesties have failed you—have abandoned the plan—and to implore you to escape while there is time.” She stood straight and tall in her boy’s clothes, but the dim light, falling upon her upturned face, showed it pale as death, and her voice trembled as she spoke.