“But you, milor,” stammered pere Lenegre, “and your friends—?”
“La, man,” retorted Blakeney lightly, “have I not told you before never to worry about me and my friends? We have more ways than one of giving the slip to this demmed government of yours. All you’ve got to think of is your wife and your daughter. I am afraid that petite maman cannot take more with her than she has on, but we’ll do all we can for her comfort until we have you all in perfect safety—in England—with Pierre.”
Neither pere Lenegre, nor petite maman, nor Rosette could speak just then, for tears were choking them, but anon when milor stood nearer, petite maman knelt down, and, imprisoning his slender hand in her brown, wrinkled ones, she kissed it reverently.
He laughed and chided her for this.
“’Tis I should kneel to you in gratitude, petite maman,” he said earnestly, “you were ready to sacrifice your old man for me.”
“You have saved Pierre, milor,” said the mother simply.
A minute later pere Lenegre and the two women were ready to go. Already milor and his gallant English friends were busy once more transforming themselves into grimy workmen or seedy middle-class professionals.
As soon as the door of apartment No. 12 finally closed behind the three good folk, my lord Tony asked of his chief:
“What about these three wretched soldiers, Blakeney?”
“Oh! they’ll be all right for twenty-four hours. They can’t starve till then, and by that time the concierge will have realised that there’s something wrong with the door of No. 12 and will come in to investigate the matter. Are they securely bound, though?”
“And gagged! Rather!” ejaculated one of the others. “Odds life, Blakeney!” he added enthusiastically, “that was a fine bit of work!”
HOW JEAN PIERRE MET THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
As told by Himself
Ah, monsieur! the pity of it, the pity! Surely there are sins which le bon Dieu Himself will condone. And if not—well, I had to risk His displeasure anyhow. Could I see them both starve, monsieur? I ask you! and M. le Vicomte had become so thin, so thin, his tiny, delicate bones were almost through his skin. And Mme. la Marquise! an angel, monsieur! Why, in the happy olden days, before all these traitors and assassins ruled in France, M. and Mme. la Marquise lived only for the child, and then to see him dying—yes, dying, there was no shutting one’s eyes to that awful fact—M. le Vicomte de Mortain was dying of starvation and of disease.