Lady Hastings was cut short as a pistol was fired from the box opposite.
"Quick, down on the floor!" she whispered as, with startling swiftness,
she pulled Sir Edward down, under the chairs, "He's an assasin," the
Lady said in response to Sir Edward's surprised look. "Quickly, out of
the door and run!"
"But," stammered Ronnaly, "The audience!"
"They'll be OK once we're gone, quickly now."
The two of them crawled through the gap in the door; once they were both
through, Ronnaly slammed the door to and they ran, the Lady holding up
her skirts, through the corridor and out into the open street.
"Well," said Lady Hastings, as she rearranged her hair, "How about going
somewhere a little less exciting, Mozart always seems to bring out the
worst in people, don't you find?"
As he stared at his cafe au lait, it suddenly struck Sir Edward Ronnaly
how beautiful Lady Hastings was. Of course he wouldn't say that, it
would be anathmea to his manners, but even so....
"Sorry, Lady Hastings, what did you say?" he said, suddenly aware that she
wass looking at him as though for a response. She sighed and repeated what
she had said.
"As I was saying, the Scarlet League is carrying out a rescue mission.
There is a League member who is being held under the stage. So there is
currently, every night, a League member in a box for every performance.
Unfortunately, my husband was known to be in the League, the only thing
that keeps him from Madame Guillotine is the lack of any real evidence
against him. He was seen entering the building, and the assasin ,that
is also present for every performance, was alerted. It is rumored that
one night, a special epilogue is to be acted which features this League
member slandering off the Pimpernel, the rebellion and the King."
Edward is taken aback at the cruelty of this, but sees, with some
embarrassment, that she sees his emotion.
"Quite, anyway, the Pimpernel himself is hiding in the theatre every
night, and they are waiting for him to make the rescue so that he can be
caught. As you are a new member of the Guild, we need you to also be in
a box, next to the assasin's. Your job will be to make sure that the
asassin will not hinder the operation, let it go if the Pimpernel does
not move. He will not do so until the Epilogue is announced. Do you
"Well, my first mission, and I get a chance to save the Pimpernel," he
thought to himself, "How can I refuse?"
"Anything for the old country Ma'am. Yes, Ma'am, anything for the true colours." replied Sir Edward with a
voice that suggested rather more courage than he felt. With a deep bow
he walked out of the building with a deep sense of forboding.
That night it was Beethoven; he kept waiting for the assasin to make a
move, but he did not.
"Oh well," thought Sir Edward as he walked down the passage, "Maybe
The following night it was Chopin, again nothing. Then a play about the
French love tradgedy 'Martin Guerre'. He was beginning to be so
doubtful about the epilogue ever actually happening that he even began
to enjoy the show!
Then it was the Friday, Martin Guerre again. Edward relaxed, not
thinking very much, and started to day dream. He noticed that the play
was near the end of the first act. He got ready for the tremendous bang
that came out of the cannon at this point and had scared him half to
death last night, but nothing happened. A young man came on the stage,
not much older than Ronnaly. He was looking very shaky and nervous,
hardly able to speak. Just as he opened his mouth, a flurry erupted
from up in the scenery catwalk. A red cloak swooped down as a man,
wearing a velvet mask, landed on the stage.
Quickly, Sir Edward took
his cue and leapt into the box next to him. He fought, punched, shook
and pushed, until he had the gun in his hand.
"Surrender!" He ordered ferociousley, "Or I'll shoot you!"
"Pardonez-moi, monsieur,I don't think so," said the assasin in a more
French accent than Madame Guillotine herself could have managed, "You
see, the premature epilogue took me by surprise too, they tell me
nothing you see. They say 'Jacques, fire the gun at the man who jumps on
stage at epilogue', so I do! Anyway, the point is I still have the
cartriges in my pocket. The gun you hold is not loaded!" he delivered
that last remark with a laugh. Just as Ronnaly examined the gun to find
out if this were true or not the Frenchman lunged at him.
stepped smartly to one side and pushed him over the rail of the box
where he fell to his death with a scream.
Sir Edward examined the scene with contempt. The audience were fleeing,
and it turned out that there was a League member in every box, for they
had all run on to the stage to stop the guards who came to try and
prevent the escape of the Pimpernel. The Pimpernel then made his
escape, but no sooner had he done so than a net was dropped over the
League members on the stage from the catwalk above. The League was
Sir Edward faltered for a second or two, then turned and fled out of the
theatre, thinking that it would be better to report his findings to
Lady Hastings then be caught now with a dead man on his conscience.
Later, after he had seen the Lady, a meeting was called for all the
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