July 20, 1794
This may come as quite a shock to you, but I am writing you from the Temple
Prison. There is no reason to worry. I am doing quite well, but could you
please tell Percy that Chauvelin is going to try to capture him again. This
time he has Margurite. I don't have much more time to write. The guards are
getting suspicious of me I hope this letter reaches you in time. Don't worry
about me. I am in disguise and have all my papers in order. They can't do
anything to me.
If you could come here one night, I could give you more information. I am in
the first cell on the first floor facing la Place de la Grève.
I must go. The guard is coming to check on me.
Lucie de Montreux
I just finished writing the letter in time. I hid it under the chair I was
sitting in and pretended to be asleep. A split second later I heard the door
to my cell open. I did not move. I tried to sound like I was fast asleep.
There was silence for what seemed like an eternity and then I heard the door
close and lock. I was alone again and could think.
I had had a very adventurous day. I had just come from England to see if I
could be of any use to the Guild. Louis was ill and had to stay at home. I
had come with Eliza and her husband. Times were getting worse and worse and
the Pimpernel very rarely left France. We too were often busy. So many
innocents were being sent to Mme. la Guillotine, it took all our efforts to
save as many as we could. The week before was the anniversary of the storming
of the Bastille, and there was still much celebrating in Paris.
many so people in the street, it was easy for Eliza and me to get into the
city and it was easy for us to hide among the huge crowds that were there.
In all the commotion, Eliza and I were separated. I didn't worry about it.
We had agreed that if we ever where separated we would meet at La Place de la
Grève at 11:00. It was usually a good thing if we were separated. It was
usually at those times that we would find out the most information on the
plans of Citizen Chauvelin and the Committee of Public Safety.
I was heading to la Rue Christine, taking a short cut through la Rue de la
Planchette, when I heard something that made me start.
"I have come to the point, my dear Lady Blakeney. The point is that you
should have no cause to complain while you are under this roof."
It was Chauvelin. What was Lady Blakeney doing there? I went closer to the
window to listen.
"And how long am I to remain a prisoner here?"
That was definitely Margurite's voice.
"Until Sir Percy has in his turn honored this house with his presence.
Sooner or later he will learn that his wife is no linger in England. Then he
will come. Am I not right?"
Just the sound of Chauvelin's voice sent shivers down my spine. He had
kidnapped Margurite to use her as a decoy! I tried to walk away from the house
quietly, but I bumped right into one of the guards standing at the door.
"Well, what do we have here?" he said.
Just then Chauvelin came out of the door.
"Is there a problem, Captain Boyer?"
I explained very calmly that I was on my way to the Rue Christine. I had
meant no harm. It was an accident. Chauvelin asked for my papers, which I
gave him. He glanced over them and handed them back to me.
"Everything is in order, Citizeness. Just be careful next time."
Then he looked at me. His steel, gray eyes seemed to pierce right through me
and he paled for a second. I didn't know what he was thinking. It seemed to
me that he recognized me.
I had been told that my brother and I look very much alike, especially our
eyes. I believe that is what he was staring at, my eyes. I was fixed under
his stare for only a few seconds, but it seemed to me to be an eternity.
Before I had a chance to slip away, I heard him say to the guard:
that young woman!"
"But why, Citizen?" was the reply. "All her papers where in order. She
meant no harm."
"She is a spy against the Republic and possibly in league with that English
spy known as the Scarlet Pimpernel."
It was my turn to grow pale. I tried to stammer out an excuse, but I was in
such shock nothing came out. I was dragged through the streets, like so many
others had been, and thrown into the Temple Prison.
I had to tell someone about what I had heard. I fortunately always carry
some paper and a pencil with me in case of an emergency. Now the only thing
left to do was to find out how to get this letter to Eliza.
Just then, I heard some footsteps outside my window. It was a little boy.
"Petit citoyen," I called to him.
He cautiously came to the window.
I asked him to bring this letter to the hotel on Rue Christine and I would
give him a gold piece and if he brought it to a certain woman staying there he
would receive another gold piece from her. As I was saying this I took out
the coin and showed it to him. His face lit up and he agreed to take the
letter. I gave him the letter, the gold piece, and directions how to find
Eliza. He then ran off and I just hoped and prayed that he would get to Eliza
I started. It was Eliza's voice. She had gotten my note. I ran to the
"I am so glad you came," I said. "Margurite is in a house on Rue de la
Planchette. I believe she is a prisoner at the house of Mme. Théot. I
believe Chauvelin wants to use her as a decoy to get Percy to come to him.
And if anything should happen to Percy-"
I started to cry.
"Don't worry about Percy, my dear," Eliza said in a comforting voice. "He
has been in situations like this many times before and has always escaped from
the likes of Chauvelin."
"This time Chauvelin will have guards there night and day. How could he
possibly save her without putting himself in danger?" I said through my tears.
"Chauvelin will capture him this time and then what will happen to all those
poor people he has vowed to save."
"We must also find a way to free you. If Chauvelin suspects anything, you
could be me in grave danger. He already has the Scarlet Pimpernel's wife. If
he has the Scarlet Pimpernel's sister that is double assurance that he could
I then broke into another fit of tears.
"I don't care about me. Have Percy save Margurite and go back to England
before it is too late! He loves her so much. I would prefer that he focuses
all his attention on saving her. Percy has really only known me for two
years, ever since he saved me and my friends from the guillotine. He loves
his wife and would die without her. I will find a way to escape or if God
wants me to die, I will go to the guillotine happily knowing that Percy and
Margurite are safe. My life is not worth that much and I have been told ‘No
greater love no man hath than he who gives his life for his friends.'"
We were silent for a moment. I heard the clock strike eleven.
"It is getting late. You had better find Timothy and tell him. I don't know
how long Chauvelin will wait and I don't want anything to happen to Margurite.
Please go now and God go with you."
"Goodnight, Lucie," she said quietly and then slipped away as silently as she
Then I was alone again for the second time that night. I was almost
impossible to sleep. I thought of poor Margurite all alone in that house and
poor Percy. What would he do when he found out? What would happen to me?
I was not afraid to die. I had seen so many go to the guillotine before me.
Only a few days ago, I saw a group of Carmelite Nuns go to the guillotine
singing. There was life after death. That I knew. It made facing the
possibility of death much easier. I started singing the song I remembered
hearing echoing through la Place de la Grève. That calmed me down and I soon
fell into a dreamless sleep.
I was awakened by a pounding on the cell door. It was one of the guards
bringing me my breakfast. He was a strong built man, but the poor soul looked
as if he were very ill. He didn't say anything he just left the plate of what
was supposed to be my breakfast.
Naturally, I was not hungry. I was still thinking of my poor brother and
sister. And Louis? What would happen to him if I died?
The tears started flowing again. I escaped by dreaming of the old days. The
days when I lived with Louis parents. I had been left an orphan with no
living family except for Percy, who was only ten years old and was still in
school and too young to care for me. I remembered the days when Louis and I
would sit in the parlor and play our violins. It was wonderful.
I remembered the exciting times. How the Duc and Duchess were accused of
housing me and that I was a spy and of how Percy and his men had saved all of
us from the guillotine just in time. Of us almost being caught by the French
soldiers if it hadn't been for Louis's quick wit.
Of being reunited with my brother and being asked by Eliza to be in the Guild.
I began thinking of all the adventures we had had when-
"Citizeness," came a harsh voice. It was the guard. "You should eat. There
are many who do not have even food to eat. You must be in good heath for Mme
He gave me a big toothy grin and I shuddered. Then he did a curious thing.
He looked around to make sure the other guard was gone and said to me in a
much gentler voice:
"You really should eat something. Why are you here anyway?"
Something in his voice made it easy for me to talk to him.
"I am charged of being a spy, but I have done nothing. I was on my way home
from the festivities, I bumped into a soldier, and Citizen Chauvelin had me
At the mention of Chauvelin's name, the guard started.
"I know the Citizen. He is known to have made some very foolish arrests.
Don't worry, you will be fine."
I felt comforted by this poor soul. I was surprised to see any feelings left
in the Revolutionary soldiers. I must have been a pitiful sight with my
ragged dress and my tear-stained face. I thanked the soldier and he left.
I saw a lot of him during the next few days. He was always harsh when other
soldiers were around, but was always very understanding and caring toward me.
I had been in the prison for three days when I received the bad news. I was
to be executed tomorrow without a trial. Citizen Robespierre trusted no one
and anyone who was suspected of being a spy was to be executed. I was in such
shock I couldn't move or speak when my friend came to see me.
"Citizeness, what is the matter?"
I wasn't able to give him an answer. It seemed he knew by my silence what
the problem was.
"When will they be taking you?"
"Tomorrow," I managed to say.
Just then his voice changed. He wasn't the old, sick soldier that I had
known for the past few days. His voice was much younger sounding and had the
overtones of authority. It sounded strangely familiar.
"Not if you do exactly as I say."
I started. It was Percy. How in the world could I explain what I was doing
in Paris? I was supposed to be in England. He hadn't seen me closely. It
was usually fairly dark in the cell. Maybe he will never know it was me. I
didn't have much time to think.
"Quickly," he said. "Put this shawl on and follow me and whatever you do,
don't say a word, no matter what happens."
I did as I was told and he locked the door behind us as we stepped out. I
used the shawl to cover my face and head. This time I didn't want just the
guards not to know me, but even my rescuer. He gave me a broom and a pail and
we walked slowly towards the street.
"Citizen Grandfort," came a voice. "Who is that?"
"My daughter, citizen."
I tried my hardest not to laugh. Me, his daughter. Little did he know how
close he was in his description.
We went out without too much of a problem. The guards seemed to know and
trust him. Soon we were out onto la Rue Christine. It was late, but even in
the dark Percy seemed to know every street.
"Please Citizen," I said. "I am fine now thanks to you. I must go. My
mother will be worried about me. She has been all alone these last few days.
She will be distracted with worry. I thank you, sir from the bottom of my
heart for the heroic thing you have done. Who are you?" I asked innocently.
"A friend," he said and smiled as he handed me a small scrap of paper. By
the light of the moon I could discern a small five petaled flower.
He led me to the hotel and left me at the door. For a moment I was afraid he
would recognize me, but I shouldn't have worried. Even if he did recognize
me, he didn't show it. He knew I wanted to keep my travels to France a
secret, just like he did. He didn't ask questions, but he led me to the door
and, making one of his sweeping bows, he bid me good-night.
I entered the door to the room where I was staying. I don't know if he knew
of the Violet Guild or if he just knew that I was in France.
As I closed the door behind me, I smiled and said:
"God bless you, Percy."
(Percy did go on to save Margurite, but that is another story. You can read
about that adventure in The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness
- Return to the main Archives page
- Miss Blakeney has left the Violet Guild, but I remain in communciation with her. Email me with your comments on a story well written and I shall pass them on!