The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel eBook

Baroness Emma Orczy
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 229 pages of information about The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel.

What happened afterwards she hardly knew; she was in a state of semi-consciousness.  When she once more woke to reality, she was in comfortable lodgings; she moved and talked and ate and lived like a human being.  She was no longer a pariah, an outcast, a poor, half-demented creature, insentient save for an infinite capacity for suffering.  She suffered still, but she no longer despaired.  There had been such marvellous power and confidence in that man’s voice when he said:  “I pledge you my word.”  Madeleine Lannoy lived now in hope and a sweet sense of perfect mental and bodily security.  Around her there was an influence, too, a presence which she did not often see, but always felt to be there:  a woman, tall and graceful and sympathetic, who was always ready to cheer, to comfort, and to help.  Her name was Marguerite.  Madame Lannoy never knew her by any other.  The man had spoken of her as being as like an angel as could be met on this earth, and poor Madeleine Lannoy fully agreed with him.

III

Even that bloodthirsty tiger, Jean Paul Marat, has had his apologists.  His friends have called him a martyr, a selfless and incorruptible exponent of social and political ideals.  We may take it that Simonne Evrard loved him, for a more impassioned obituary speech was, mayhap, never spoken than the one which she delivered before the National Assembly in honour of that sinister demagogue, whose writings and activities will for ever sully some of the really fine pages of that revolutionary era.

But with those apologists we have naught to do.  History has talked its fill of the inhuman monster.  With the more intimate biographists alone has this true chronicle any concern.  It is one of these who tells us that on or about the eighteenth day of Messidor, in the year I of the Republic (a date which corresponds with the sixth of July, 1793, of our own calendar), Jean Paul Marat took an additional man into his service, at the instance of Jeannette Marechal, his cook and maid-of-all-work.  Marat was at this time a martyr to an unpleasant form of skin disease, brought on by the terrible privations which he had endured during the few years preceding his association with Simonne Evrard, the faithful friend and housekeeper, whose small fortune subsequently provided him with some degree of comfort.

The man whom Jeannette Marechal, the cook, introduced into the household of No. 30, Rue des Cordeliers, that worthy woman had literally picked one day out of the gutter where he was grabbing for scraps of food like some wretched starving cur.  He appeared to be known to the police of the section, his identity book proclaiming him to be one Paul Mole, who had served his time in gaol for larceny.  He professed himself willing to do any work required of him, for the merest pittance and some kind of roof over his head.  Simonne Evrard allowed Jeannette to take him in, partly out of compassion and partly with a

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The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.