As the Guild filed out of the library, hushed whispering going on all
the time, Sir Edward noticed that the Lady was heading towards the
Drawing Room. Ronnaly hurried after her, desperate to make his
apologies and excuses.
He knocked on the door. No reply. He tried the door, unlocked. He
quietly strode in to the room, seeing Lady Hastings with her back to him
He registered with some surprise that she was weeping into a box of
tissues. Suddenly he knew why.
"It was Lord Hastings wasn't it?" he said softly, making her turn and
hide her face, embarrassed.
"I don't know what you mean, sir!" the Lady replied with some indignance.
"Who was captured. Your husband was the one who was going to be rescued.
He was going to say the epilogue, he was rescued. In doing so the rest
of the League was captured."
He started to remember the face of the man
on the stage. The expression of urgency, even more than usual, on Lady
Hastings' face when she first laid out the mission.
"If you remember, sir, he came out of the box just as you were entering
it," she replied, desperately trying to cover up the truth.
"Only because he had been telling you their plan. He must have sneaked
out of his prison while they were getting the show together. He just
came to tell you the plan and get back, unless they had noticed he had
"No," said Eliza, much calmer than she had been, and fully facing
him now, "He did not sneak out, he was let out, without his knowlage.
It was a huge trap, though we did not know it at the time."
"So what are we going to do now?"
We're going to have a talk, my lord," she said with a deep sigh, "Then
You're going home."
"I beg you're pardon M'lady?"
"Forgive me sir, but you have had too much to do with this incident.
For your own safety you must get back to your home immediately. I
"That I am a liability. That I will slip up again and might hurt the
whole d---d country. Well, I don't care about your Guild, I don't care
about your husband, but my father died defending the Scarlet Pimpernel
and I'M not going to quit now. You and your d---d charity can go to
blazes. I'll do this on my own if I have to, but I won't give up!"
this, he strode over to the door with insulting elegance, turned, and
gave a deep bow.
"Your servant, ma'am," he spoke with a false smile on
his face, and he left. The Lady Eliza sat through the whole thing; then
when the lord had exited, she wept.
Ronnaly didn't know what he was doing, not entirely. He was crawling
under the stage of the theatre in a mask, fake beard and carrying a
candle. He could barely see the rats and spiders crawling and sniffing
beneath the creaking, woodwormed floorboards. He was looking for
hinges, a handle, anything that could be a trapdoor of some kind!
a floorboard squeaked open in front of him. There was a man standing
there. Well, only his legs were visible. Sir Edward blew out his
candle, then recognised the voice. It was another of the Guild members.
He drew his pistol and ducked. Sir Edward decided that the man probably
had a far better idea of where he was going than he did. So he followed
It seemed to last forever, that crawling through cobwebs and dust, not
daring to breathe lest he should be discovered. At last they pulled up
through a hole. Edward peeked up after the gentlemen and saw, not the
League, not even the Guild, but he was staring into the handsome,
devilish face of Citizen Robespierre. The man whispered to Robespierre
for a few seconds and then the man went to the door and opened it.
"Good evening, ma'am, I think you will find that you are surrounded.
Dropping your weapons and surrendering would be highly beneficial to
your health," said the man to an unviewable audience.
"Jean, why?" said a voice instantly recognisable as the Lady's.
"Pourquoi? Pourquoi Pas?" he replied laughing. With that, eighty or so
guards, to all the Guild, shot, cut and bound the Guild. Sir Ronnaly
looked on, not able to see all that was happening. When Robespierre
strolled into the next room Edward jumped up and ran quietly into the
room opposite. In there, there was nothing. The next door was locked.
Edward looked around. No key anywhere. Only a mask, a plume and a
candle. He picked up the plume, stripped the fluffy decoration off it
and was left with the hard bone underneath. He started to pick the
lock. The door swung open. Inside there was, the League of the
pimpernel, and one guard who was smartly removed from this mortal plane
with Ronnnaly's pistol. The first to be untied was a man who looked
remarkably like his dead father.
"Sir Percy Blakeney at your service."
"Sir Edward Ronnaly at yours."
"Really, I believe I knew your father. Let's get the rest of these poor
souls untied then, shall we?"
With that, they untied the whole League. Then they stormed into the room
where the others were being held.
"Sir Edward!" exclaimed the lady.
"You didn't think I'd desert you, now did you?" said Edward, smiling
while swashbuckling with a guard.
When it was all over Sir Edward tried to look for Sir Blakeney. He had
vanished. The Lady Eliza pulled him to one side.
"Are you quite mad, sir? Not only do you get the League captured, quit
the Guild and go on private little expeditions of your own, but you put
yourself in danger and-"
"My dear lady, is that concern I hear in your voice?" he smiled.
"I'm afraid that it will be impossible for you to rejoin the Guild in
"Well, then I'll always be at the end of a telegram should you need my
"Thank you, my lord."
"And you, my lady."
With that, the gentleman bid the lady farewell, and with a kiss on her
hand jumped out of the curtains on the front of the stage.
- Return to the main Archives page
- Mail the author!