Isabella lifted the hood of her velvet cloak, hiding her dark brown curls beneath it.    
"It is imperative that we act--and act quickly," she whispered as she and Connor made their way through the quiet, nearly deserted street,
"So many lives hang in the balance..."    
He smiled endearingly at her worry,"I know, Isabella."    
"...Chauvelin will NOT hesitate..."    
"I know, Isabella," Connor repeated calmly.    
"What is imperative," their leader repeated,"Is that you keep safe, Isabella. If there is one thing we must avoid, it is allowing Chauvelin the opportunity to find out our hands in assisting the Pimpernel.  Lest we find ourselves with stretched necks.."    
Connor's eyes twinkled merrily in the dim moonlight,
"Stretched necks--perish the thought."
   "A sense of humour is NOT necessary, Monsieur MacLeod," Isabella hissed, while Lady Eliza attempted to hide a chuckle.
   "Indeed--it is not necessary," the other woman said with a brisk nod,"However, this is where we must part.  God be with you, my friends."  
  Isabella smiled, squeezing the other woman's be-gloved hand,
"God be with you, Lady Eliza.  You know that we shall do all that we can to keep Chauvelin from succeeding."
   "I know you shall." Pulling her black hood over her head, Lady Eliza disappeared into the darkness.
   When she had gone, the two old comrades looked at one another silently for a moment. Neither spoke--then again, neither had to.  There was a strange, almost incommunicable bond between the two friends.
"I believe we have two options," Isabella said, as Connor took her elbow, ushering her down the dimly lit street.    
"Those being?"    
"We either quietly find our way to the prison and to the Pimpernel..."    
Connor grinned, seeing the wrinkling of her pert nose at the thought.   
 "We cause a commotion the likes of which Monsieur Chauvelin has never seen--nor will ever see again."
   "Then, it's decided."
   They smiled at each other, speaking in unison,
"A commotion, it is!" ~*
   The two parted company then, and agreed to meet at the gaol before the clock struck ten.   
 They met again, not far from the gates that surronded Paris' gaol.  Connor saw that Isabella had, obviously, changed in the time they had been seperated.  She had exchanged her dark satin gown for a red velvet skirt and a peasant's off-the-shoulder blouse, exposing far more than was truly proper for a lady befitting her station in life.    
"Isabella Katerina Delacroix, I can not, for the life of me, believe you're dressed like that! You look like a common whore!"    
A smile widened on her face, her pearly white teeth flashing against the scarlet red of the lip paint she had applied,
"Don't be silly, Connor."      
  "Isabella--cover yourself at--Isabella?"
   As he continued blustering, his friend walked--or, rather, sashayed--towards the guards standing at the front of the gaol.  He heard her murmur something in a disgustingly thick French accent--much thicker than that which she spoke most commonly.  And then, unless Connor were mistaken, he saw her slip the guard a small, velvet pouch--no doubt full of gold coins.  He shook his head, grinning.  The brazen girl had attempted to bribe one of the gendarmes.  And it worked.  The guard smiled greedily at the pouch, testing it's weight in his left hand, before reaching for Isabella with his right.  Barely blinking an eye, she pulled a small dagger with a jeweled hilt from the bodice of her gown, pressing it to the man's neck, before indicating for Connor to approach.  He did so, still stupefied by his friend's daring.    
"We'll tie him up and hide him," Isabella whispered breathlessly,"Then you take the guard.  That way you'll be the first man encountered by the Pimpernel and his Bounders..and you'll be able to warn them before they even approach the gaol."    
Connor couldn't help but feel somewhat annoyed at her.  His amazement at Isabella's bravado had disappeared, replaced by a lingering feeling of displeasure.  He despised being treated as though he were incompetant, though he knew she meant nothing by it.
Isabella laughed, pressing a quick and impetuous kiss to Connor's lips.    "My darling, this is the Pimpernel we're discussing," she reminded him, a hint of teasing in her tone,"The most daring man in all of France or..Britain, for that matter."
   Connor grinned finally,"You're right.  He would use the front, wouldn't he?"    
"Indeed." she laughed.   
 "However, my `darling`," Connor interrupted, his tone sardonic,"Chauvelin, for all we know, already knows of your--escapade.  He could be using us as pawns to lure the Pimpernel in."
   "Indeed."    "We need--a commotion."
   "Indeed." Connor repeated.
   Her blue eyes lit up,"We need---gun powder."    She rolled her eyes in annoyance,
"First of all, my brain is not little.  And besides that point, I have a plan."
   "And that's supposed to make me feel better?"
   Her eyebrow arched and a slow, catlike smile spread across her features.
   "Acquire some gunpowder, Connor.  I know what to do with it."   
 "That's what I'm worried about," he muttered, before disappearing to procure the needed gunpowder. ~*
 As Sir Percy, masquerading as the Scarlet Pimpernel, approached the gaol, he saw that the small building was surronded by flames--smoke curling densely in the night sky.  A slow smile curved across his lips, realizing that the smoke was meant to be a warning.  In the distance, he saw two figures on horseback.  The slimmer figure lifted one hand in a jaunty salute, before reigning in her white horse and disappearing into the Paris night....

Return to the main Archives page

Mail the author!