I waited impatiently at my lodgings for Lady Hastings to appear.
told me she was going to be here at one,' I thought angrily, 'And it's
already 1:30.' I
heard a knocking at the door, and opened it up in
" El-Citizens!" I exclaimed, trying to hide my horror. Standing at my
door was a sight I hoped I'd never have to see, the Republic soldiers,
saying the words I hoped I'd never hear.
" Citizen Caria?" he asked. I nodded, speechless with fear. " You are
hereby under arrest, by the orders of the Republic, charged with treason
against the Republic and the people." I stood, my mind numb, as the
soldiers surrounded me, and led me off to the prison.
I looked around my cell dismally. 'Who betrayed me?' I wondered, 'Who
knew where I was, and what I was doing?' I slumped down in a corner, too
tired to think anymore. I heard the door open, but I didn't move, hoping
that whoever was there would just leave me alone to die.
" You've got five minutes, citizen," one of the soldiers said. I
opened my eyes as the door closed.
" Jean!" I exclaimed, jumping up, and holding the boy close. " But how
did you get in?" He smiled.
" I just asked for a visit," he replied. The smile fell of his face,
and he pulled out a piece of paper. " Here are the plans for your
escape, Kate," he whispered fiercely in my ear, " Read them well,
memorize them, and destroy them. I must go now," he said as the guard
opened the door, " but follow the instructions to the letter."
smile that didn't quite reach his eyes, he left. When the guard closed
the door, I hurried to the window, and squinted to make out the hurried
scrawl in the poor lighting.
'When the guard comes in to take your meal, knock him unconcious,
take the keys, and leave. Tell the other guard that the prisoner is ill,
and to take a look at him, and then lock them in. Leave as quickly as
you can without looking suspicious, and leave Paris.'
I destroyed the
note, repeating the steps over and over again in my head. I decided to
wait a day or two, so that when I escaped, they wouldn't suspect Jean
was an accomplice of mine.
Finally, I decided it was time. It had been three days, three,
terrible, long, grinding days. I heard the door open, and quickly
reviewed my plan of attack.
" That will be enough, Citizen," I heard a voice say, and nearly
fainted. It was none other than my uncle, Paul Chauvelin.
Uncle held me close as I cried quietly.
" Shhh, cherie, shhhh," he whispered soothingly in my ear.
" I don't know what happened!" I said, still crying, " Somebody
betrayed me, but I don't know who!!!" He held me closer.
" Don't worry, my dear," he said, " I've come to get you out of here.
Now listen to me, Katherine, and listen well. I'm going to take you out
of here, for questioning. You will then climb out the window, and go to
one of your hideouts. Get a disguise, and leave Paris."
I nodded, and we
walked out the door. I tried my best to hide my joy and relief.
" I'm taking the girl for questioning, citizen," Uncle said, and the
soldier nodded fearfully. We walked down the hall to his office. He
closed the door with an ill-surpressed sigh.
" Now go, Katherine!!" he said urgently. I gave him one last embrace,
and quickly climbed out the window. Miraculously, I wasn't seen, and I
ran straight to Lady Hastings' lodgings, to let her know I was free.
I knocked softly on the door, and waited impatiently for her answer.
She opened the door with a little cry.
" Katie!" she exclaimed, pulling me into the room, and closing the
door quickly behind her, " What are you doing here?"
" Someone knows about me," I said, " And betrayed me to the Republic.
I just escaped from the prison. "
" But why come here?"
" I thought you'd want to know where I was, and I was wondering if I
should stay here, or return to England."
From behind Lady Hastings I saw
one of the newcomers, Jennifer Clore, step forward.
" Save your lies, traitor," she said viciously, " We know you were
I stood there, stunned.
" Traitor?" I repeated, staring at Lady Hastings for explanation. In
her eyes I saw fear, and hurt.
" I'm no, traitor, m'lady!" I exclaimed, desperate to preserve the
friendship she and I had had. " I swear it!!"
" Your word means nothing, Katherine," Jennifer spat, " The word of a
traitor is a lie. And don't try to save your reputation, it's already
" But why me?" I asked.
" You've got close family in the revolution, and Sir Percy annoys the
h*ll out of you. Why would you join the Guild if you don't like Sir
Percy, unless you wanted to be in close contact with damaging
I couldn't bear to be there one moment longer. I ran out
the door, stumbling blindly through the streets, tears streaming
shamelessly down my face. I somehow managed to get to my little hut, and
to close the door behind me. Luckily, Jean was there, and immediately
attended to me.
" Katherine," he exclaimed, " what happened?" He led me to a chair,
and got me a hunk of bread and water as I precedeed to tell my story. He
leaned back, thoughtful.
" It must be Jennifer," he said finally.
" Why do you think that?" I asked.
" She's new. None of the others think that you're a traitor because
your uncle is the famed Paul Chauvelin. And I've seen her around people.
When she wants something, she can be really convincing. Lastly, she's
poor, and the price for the Pimpernel and his men would make her rich.
Who else could it be?"
" But how do we prove that to Lady Hastings?" I asked. " When she
finds out you work for me, she'll think I'm just trying to set Jennifer
Jean smiled devilishly.
" I have a friend in the Guild," he said, " whom you don't know very
well. He and I will spy on her, and he'll bring the information to Lady
Hastings. Since she knows you two don't know each other well, she'll
I smiled weakly.
" Thanks, Jean," I said. He smiled again.
" Get some sleep. You've got a trying period ahead of you."
Jean was right, it was trying. Very trying. For the next fortnight or
so I just sat in my hut, waiting and waiting for the word. I finally did
recieve word, but it wasn't from him.
It was from Jean's friend, whose name I didn't know, but whose face I
recognized from the Guild.
" What happened?" I asked frantically, " Where's Jean?!?" He took a
deep breath, and gently pushed me into a chair, as he himself sat down.
" Jennifer is the traitor, for the reasons Jean stated," he said, "
She found out that Jean was watching her, and turned him in. I've
already informed Lady Hastings of her treason, and she's going to do as
much as she can to help get him out."
I took a deep breath.
" Get me a soldier's outfit," I ordered, standing up. " We're going to
I took a deep, nervous breath. I already knew what I was going to do.
I had dressed myself up to look like a soldier, and had brought paints
and stuff so that Jean, when he got out, still looked like me. I had
also brought some wine, to get the soldiers drunk with.
'Please God,' I
thought frantically, 'If ever you've granted me luck, grant it to me
Taking another breath to calm myself, I stepped into the prison,
and made my way to his cell. There were about five guards there, playing
cards, and laughing uproariously. One of them caught sight of me.
" Eh, who's that?" he said with a heavy accent, " And what you got,
" Got some wine, I do," I answered, immitating his accent. " All work
and no play ain't good for anybody."
The men laughed, and we split the
wine. I managed to pretend I was drinking, while it was just sucked up
into a spounge in my mouth.
'Can't get drunk on the job,' I thought
cynically. I heard footsteps behind me, and turned around. It was the
guard, the one who brought Jean his supper.
" 'ey, come on now, Javert," one of the guards said, " And join us in
a little drink."
" Wish I could," Javert answered, " But I've got to get de prisoner
" I'll take the meal," I answered, trying to sound drunk, " Come,
'ave a little wine." He nodded, and handed me the tray and keys. I
opened the door, and went inside.
" Jean?" I whispered. I saw his head pop up from one of the corners.
" Katherine!" he whispered, surprised, " What are you doing here?"
" Coming to get you out," I answered, " Now, I'm going to turn
around, and I want you to hand me your clothes. You're going to get out
of here dressed as a soldier."
He complied, and I quickly removed my
outer garmet of soldiers clothing. I had had the sense earlier on to put
on an extra garment. As he got dressed, I quickly put on his clothes,
and applied the make-up, so that I looked like him, then did the same to
" But how will you escape?" he asked.
" I don't know," I answered, " Go! Before they get suspicious."
Looking at me sadly, he left the room. I heard no shouts, and leaned
back with relief.
'Relief?' my mind asked me incredulously, 'Relief?
Kid, you're about to die! How can you be relieved?' I thought about it
for a minute. 'Lady Hastings knows the truth,' I replied, 'And I saved
my savior's life. If I have to die to do so, then so be it. At least I
don't die dishonored.'
In my opinion, the worst part of the execution process is the
tumbroils. They are croweded, bumpy, and uncomfortable. They are full of
screaming children, sobbing women, and hysterical men. Ye gods! I don't
know how people live through it in time to die at the guillotine.
I sat, the calmest of all the people there, thinking about Jean, Lady
Hastings, and my uncle. Especially my uncle.
'I joined the Guild to save
him,' I thought, 'But he's still part of the Revolution. Have I done
But in my heart, I knew that in some small way, uncle was
differant than when I first joined, and that someday he would regain his
senses, and abandon the Revolution.
It was the jerking of the stopping cart, rather than the shouts, that
broke me out of my reverie. I looked around with interest. I could see
my uncle walking calmly down to the cart.
" Citizens, take this man back to the prisons." he said, pointing at
me, " I want to question him." The soldiers obeyed him without a murmur,
and even the crowd was rather quiet.
'Uncle does that to people,' I
thought, amused. I followed the soldiers out of the cart, and back to
the prison. Uncle and I again walked down to his office.
" Uncle, you shouldn't have," I said as he closed the door,
" They'll suspect you if people keep dissapearing from your office!"
smiled, the warm smile from so many years ago. I had missed it.
" No, they won't," he said, " This isn't my office. They think I'm a
I suddenly understood.
" You are evil, uncle," I said, chuckling. He smiled again.
" Indeed I am, my dear, for you wouldn't be here right now if your
friend here hadn't the guts to tell me your story."
I whirled around.
" Jean!" I exclaimed, giving him a big hug. " But why?"
" You didn't know how'd you get out," he replied, " so I took the
liberty of telling your uncle the story, and he agreed to help." I
turned back to my uncle.
" Come with us, Uncle," I said pleadingly, " We both know that the
Revolution is not what it used to be."
Uncle sighed, and looked away
" I wish I could, cherie," he answered, " But I'm in too deep to back
out now. But if you ever need me, I'll be right here."
He gave me one
last final embrace, and then Jean and I climbed out the window, and made
our way to Lady Hastings' hide out. Jennifer was gotten rid of, and we
boarded Lady Hastings' boat, making our way home to England.
- Return to the main Archives page
- Mail the author!