Sylvia Justinian makes an effort to quiet her racing pulse, then racks
her brains. Her young interpreter, Brigitte Carfax, watches the older
woman intently, waiting for guidance as they start off toward the
"Vous savez..." (You know...) she begins, quite suddenly.
"Quoi? Tu as une idée?" (What? You have an idea?)
"Oui et non."
Sylvia sighs. "C'est mieux que rien du tout. Parlez." (It's better
than nothing at all. Talk.)
"Vous savez l'actrice, qui a joué Juliet en '91?" (You know that
actress, who played Juliet in '91?)
"Oui, un petit peu. Il y a trois ans, mais oui." (Yes, a little
bit. It was three years ago, but yes.)
"Avec un peu de maquillage--" (With a little makeup--)
. "Hé, un moment. Tu penses que je lui ressemble?" (Wait one
moment. You think I look like her?)
"Pourquoi pas?" (Why not?)
Sylvia smiles a little, then turns to Lady Hastings.
"Madame, vous avez la maquillage pour nous déguiser?" (Do you have
makeup so we can disguise ouselves?)
Brigitte translates, and Lady Hastings smiles slightly. "I have a
little, my dear Sylvia.....what do you have in mind?"
"J'ai une idée... je peux devenir une personne qui les gendarmes au
prison doit prendre son parti." (I have an idea... I can become someone
who the men at the prison will have to accept...)
Lady Hastings raises one eyebrow.
Sylvia takes a stick of greasepaint and, using a calm puddle in the
street, begins to work on her face. After a moment she turns
triumphantly on one heel.
"Voila Marguerite St. Just!"
The cry--a disarming imitation of Marguerite Blakeney's voice--comes
seemingly out of nowhere, startling Paul Chauvelin and his men.
"Marguerite?" he says, slowly.
"Oui, Paul--j'ai--je dois--" (Yes, Paul--I have--I must--)
Justinian, now dressed and made up as a dead ringer for Sir Percy's
young French wife, stumbles towards Chauvelin and collapses at his
He stoops and lifts her by the shoulders. "Marguerite? Are you--all
"Oui," she pants. "Paul--je dois parler avec toi..." (Paul--I have
to talk to you...)
"What--" He suddenly realizes she doesn't _want_ to switch to
English, and draws her aside as she stands up. "Marguerite, je
pensais--" (Marguerite, I thought--)
"Il n'y a pas de temps." (There's no time.)
Deftly switching to the
English Lady Eliza and Brigitte taught her, she continues: "It is
Percy--he has deserted me--he has gone mad!"
"Why are you telling me this?"
"You are the only friend I have in Paris," Sylvia says, her grasp on
English suddenly seeming to grow stronger. "My brother--he is back in
England--he could not come soon enough--and Percy threatens to kill me!"
Chauvelin's face grows dark. "How do I know you tell the truth?"
Sylvia yanks open her collar to reveal a series of long, ugly welts
across her neck, shoulders and left arm.
"Do these lie?" she asks, accusingly.
Chauvelin draws back a little.
"Why would he--?"
"It was--he thought I was not faithful. He is trying to follow me,
to punish me more--please, I beg of you, help me--" She breaks down in
He frowns. "Marguerite, you and your husband have both decieved
"Paul, _please_... I need you..."
He's silent for a very long moment. Then, suddenly, he calls to his
"Stand away, the Englishman is only seeking his lady."
The men break up; some of them wander away. "Marguerite" takes
Chauvelin's arm and draws him away a few paces.
"Paul, I must tell you something."
She looks up into his face, tenderly strokes his cheek... and then,
with all her might, shoves him into a nearby cell and slams the bolt
down. As soon as she hears the sharp BANG of the bolt falling into
place, she tears off running out of the prison and through the streets,
narrowly avoiding the guards who pursue her.
At last, she reaches
the appointed rendezvous where Lady Eliza and her young interpreter wait
"C'est fini," she smiles, and collapses of exhaustion.
* * *
Letter from Percy Blakeney to Marguerite St. Just Blakeney, dated the
night of the rescue
My dearest heart,
I return to England within a few days. Chauvelin is on the prowl
and we must lie low for a while.
The rescue last night had the strangest culmination one could
possibly imagine. We were on our way to the prison, when suddenly I
heard an angry shout--and saw a woman who looked almost exactly like
you go running down the street as fast as her legs could carry her,
pursued by several Revolutionary guards! For a moment I was decieved,
and my men and I engaged them with our swords, but once they were
defeated I found that the beautiful specter had vanished.
It was a good thing the image appeared to us, too--just a half hour
ago I found out that the men we were to rescue had already been safely
removed from Paris, and that Chauvelin and his brute squad were lying in
wait at the prison for us. If you--if she--had not warned us in time,
your dear husband might now be languishing in the clutches of the
Revolutionary fiend now.
So I leave it to you to find some sort of explanation, since it was
your form I saw darting through the streets, my angel--was she a ghost? did you send your spirit abroad to warn me? or was it merely a trick
of my brain, starved as I am to feel your touch and see your lovely face
I send you all the love of my soul,
And until I see you again, believe me to be
Your most faithful and loving husband,
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