Lark was shocked. A England? She threw a sideways glance to her brother, then across the room to Sir Douglas Shields who looked equally confused.
      The youngest Wingfield, Charlette, turned to her sister.
"I don't understand."
      "Shush," Lark hushed her. "Lady Hastings isn't through yet."
Charlette leaned over to Duncan MacLeod, who was seated on her left, and whispered something to him.
      "It seems," Lady Hastings began again, quieting the room, "that Chauvelin has sent a network of spies to England in disguise. No one had any idea what kind of guise these people will be hiding behind. We are not even sure of their exact number. All we know is that they are here in England, and that they will be at Lord Dewhurst's ball tomorrow evening. They suspect him of being a member of the League and are out to uncover the other members. These spies could be hidden behind the shrubbery, disguised as servants, or even as Englishmen. Lord Dewhursts' balls are always hectic. No one is quite invited, and no one ever knows everyone else, and this includes Dewhurst himself. Our job is to attend the ball, weed out the spies and get them out of there and back across the channel before they uncover Percy's identity. Be careful not to mistaken any one else for these spies. Remember, just because you and everyone else seem to have no clue who someone is, does not necessarily mean they are a spy." She paused to catch her breath. "Is that understood? Are there any questions?"
      Charlette's hand went into the air and she asked, "Will Sir Percy be there tomorrow night?"
      Lady Hastings laughed and replied, "Miss Charlette, did you ever attend a ball Sir Percy did not?"
      Charlette blushed and shook her head as everyone chuckled at her expense.
      "Are there any other questions?"
      No one made any indication of confusion, so Lady Hastings nodded.
"Well then, be on the lookout tomorrow night. It is imperitive we locate these spies. Good luck to all, and I will see you all tomorrow evening."
      At her dismissal, everyone stood and began engaging in private conversations.
      "I'm so glad we won't have to go to Paris," Charlette sighed in relief.
      Christopher looked disappointed. "Speak for yourself, please."
      Lark smiled as Douglas approached with another, much older, man.
      "Good afternoon, Douglas," she greeted him shyly, holding out her hand to him.
      "Good afternoon, Lark."
He kissed her fingers like a gentlemen, and indicated to the man besides him. "Friends, meet Raymond Denver. Raymond, this is Mr. Duncan MacLeod, Miss Charlette Wingfield, Miss Lark Wingfield, and Sir Christopher Wingfield."
      Raymond nodded and mumbled hello.
      The three Wingfields and Mr. MacLeod also greeted Douglas' friend.
      "Is your carriage waiting outside?" inquired Douglas, "if not, my driver will gladly take you all home as well."
      "Thank you for your offer, Douglas, but out carriage is also waiting outside," Duncan told him.
      Doug looked somewhat disappointed. "Oh. Well, I suppose I will see you all tomorrow." He looked Lark straight in the eyes as he spoke.
      "Of course," Lark breathed. Christopher tugged on her arm, but she told him, "I'll meet you outside."
      Duncan, Charlette and Christopher left the roam, as did Raymond, sensing the two wished to speak privately.
      "Will Mr. MacLeod be escorting you to this ball?" Douglas asked carefully.
      "No," Lark replied, avoiding his blue eyes. "That was only valid for that one time. It is not permanent."
      "Would you care to go with me then?" he blurted out.
      She finally met his eyes and smiled. "Of course, Douglas. I would love to."
      There was an awkward silence, broken by Douglas who said, "my carriage will come for you at seven."
      "I will be looking forward to it," she assured him.
      Cermoniously he kissed her hand, bid her farewell, and left the room.
      "I suppose you invited her," Raymond spoke up as Douglas entered the carriage with a smile.
      "Yes," Douglas confirmed, his blue eyes dancing. "And she accepted! Isn't this simply wonderful, Raymond?"
      "Please do not forget to keep your eyes open for spies," Raymond reminded his young friend gently.
      "Yes, of course," mumbled Douglas, glancing out the carriage window with a dreamy smile.
      The two rode in silence for a minute or so before Raymond questioned, "How will I be attending the ball, Douglas? I've been a peasant all my life and I've never so much thought of attending such a formal ball."
      Douglas snapped out of his daze. "Oh, yes, I had forgotten about that."
He was thoughtful for a moment more. "Well, I suppose I could purchase you some proper attire, or. . ."
      "Or what?" Raymond pressed.
      "You can wear your own clothing, but pretend to be my servant."
      Raymond groaned and turned to look out the window.
"Considering I am not familiar with upper class customs, I believe it is best for the both of us if I attend as your servant."
      The carriage rattled down the long driveway to the Shield's manor house. Raymond had been staying in one of the many empty guest rooms since the two man had struck up a friendship. Raymond had become somewhat of a mentor to the young Douglas, but Sir Shields still did not know much about the older man and vice versa.
      "Whatever you wish," Douglas told him as the carriage made an uneasy stop and he nearly went flying forward. "I believe I will have a chat with the driver."
The door opened and the young man stepped down, his walking stick in hand. Raymond found the walking stick a ridiculous prop, but Douglas insisted that all well-bred Englishmen carried them from time to time even if they had no difficulty walking.
"Jakob?" he called to the driver.       Raymond stepped out of the vehicle with a sigh.
      By 5:30 the following afternoon Charlette Wingfield was fully dressed and ready to attend that evenings ball. She entered her elder sister's room without knocking and found her sister admiring an array of dresses.
      "Have you trouble deciding?" Charlette asked, stepping into the room as she closed the door.
      "Yes," groaned Lark. "I simply cannot decide which I like best!" She turned around and saw her sister wearing a pale blue and white gown that accented her blue eyes and dark brown hair. A strand of pearls adorned her neck, and her normally straight hair had been curled and pulled back with pearly combs. Her diamond engagement ring shone on her finger.
      "I suggest the green one," Charlette spoke up.
      Lark ran her fingers across the green taffeta thoughtfully.
"Do you really like this one best, Char?"
"Yes," Charlette confirmed. A smile came to her lips and she added with a laugh, "I think Douglas will too."
      Lark shot her younger sibling a disapproving glance and picked up the gown.
"Just give me a hand with this, please."
      "You did your corset up yourself?" Charlette questioned as she helped her elder sister step into her billowy gown.
      "Of course not, Char," Lark laughed. "Mother did it for me."       "It looks dreadfully tight," commented Charlette as she began to fasten the first of many tiny buttons.
      "It is," Lark laughed. Then she quickly changed the subject. "At what time will Francis' coach be arriving to pick you up?"
      Sir Francis Foard was twenty year old Charlette's twenty-six year old fiance.
"Seven," she replied as she finished with the buttons. Lark fastened an emerald necklace around her neck. "Shall I do something with your hair as well?"
      "Go right ahead."
      Charlette retrieved gold combs from her sister's dressing table and pinned back her black curls. "I'm a bit nervous," she admitted.
      "About what, my dear? Your upcoming wedding?"
      "No, not about that," Charlette assured her sister as she pinned back hair on the other side of her head. "About the ball tonight. This is my first time involved with Guild activities. What if....what if something goes wrong? What if the spies figure out Percy's true identity? What if they gullotine him? What if-"
      "Hush up," Lark interrupted, snatching the comb from her sister's hand and pinning back her own hair. "Don't fret, Char. With so many Guilders there, I'm sure someone will spot one of them. And you can bet the League will be on the lookout as well." She studied her reflection in the mirror, and then turned around to face her sister, satisfied. "Watch out for suspicious behavior, but don't be too obvious about it. You do not want to look like you're searching, but you have to be alert. Do you follow me?"
      "Yes," sighed Charlette, "but I still do not feel at ease."
      "Well then whatever you do," Lark said seriously, "do not let the uneasiness show."
CHAPTER TWO  "There he was, there he goes. Where he is going nobody knows..."

      The mansion of Lord Anthony Dewhurst was quite crowded by the time Lark, Douglas, Duncan, Christopher, Raymond, Charlette and Francis arrived.
      "Look how many people there are!" gaped Charlette shooting her sister a sad look.
      Lark's expression remained neutral even as Francis remarked, "Quite true, my dear. You'll be lucky to find anyone here." He led his bride-to-be down the steps.
      "We'll spilt up," mumbled Duncan.
      "Wise idea, Mr. MacLeod," Raymond agreed, keeping his voice low. It was not such a hard thing to do in such a noisy room. "Douglas and Lark, why don't you both take the ballroom and the garden? Mr. MacLeod, you take this room, and Christopher, the other rooms. I will take the kitchen and other back areas since I am supposed to be a servant. Are we all agreed on this arrangement?"
      "Agreed," they chorused. Douglas gave his mentor an added pat on the back and look of gratitude.
      "Okay then," Raymond began with a hopeful look in his eye, "as Lady Eliza would say, I wish you all the best of luck." With those familiar words, they parted.
Lark and Douglas entered the ballroom arm in arm only to come face to face with Percy Blakeney, who was entertaining a small group with his foppish personality.
      "Ah, Douglas! Miss Wingfield! Come join us!" Percy called out with a wave.
      Douglas led Lark over.
"Good evening, Percy."
      "Hello, Percy," Lark nodded, "Marguerite."
      "Hello," Marguerite replied. She looked horribly bored at her husband's side.
      "You are just in time!" Percy exclaimed, "I was just about to read another one of my smashing poems!"
      Doug laughed. "Oh, Percy, please do no tell me you have written another epic concerning the Scarlet Pimpernel!"
      "Oh, but of course!" replied Percy.
      "Why just tell a small group when you could address the entire room!?" Lark encouraged. "Do  get a chair, Sir Percy, and tell everyone!"
      Everyone laughed heartily. "Miss Wingfield, you are exceedingly clever!" Blakeney praised. "Ozzy, get me a chair. Dewhurst, do tell your orchestra to stop playing for a minute or so. You cannot expect me to compete with it!"
      A minute or so later Percy, in his lovely white silk attire, stood atop a chair with the room's attention. "I have written another poem!" he announced with an inane grin. "This one is entitled 'The Scarlet Pimpernel' as well!"
The room laughed, and the actual Scarlet Pimpernel cleared his throat and began to recite:
                                   "There he was
                                    There he goes
                                   Where he is going,
                                   Nobody knows." 

The room began to applaud, but Percy cut them off with an insistant, "Ladies and gentlemen, please hold your applause. My astounding poem is comprised of more than one verse, smashing as the first one is."
He smiled and continued:
                                   "He's loved by the English,
                                   But the French hate the man,
                                   They think they will catch him,
                                   But we doubt they can,"

the room and Percy stopped for a laugh before continuing.
                                   "Who is this man
                                   Who dares to interfere?
                                   The French are all praying
                                   He will not last the year," 

everyone had to laugh again before Percy could go on.
                              "The English...say heaven," he drawled.
                              "The Frenchmen....say...h-h-hell," he forced out, grinned and mumbled, "excuse my French," to more laughter before continuing.
                              "Where is he from,                               This demmed Pimpernel? The End!"
He threw his hands into the air and bowed a few times to thunderous applause.
"Thank you. Now, maestro, if you please!"
He signaled the orchestra, which began to play again, and stepped off the chair.
      Lark finished up her clapping and laughing. "That was very enlightening, Sir Percy."
      Percy raised an eyebrow and kissed her hand. "Why, thank you, my dear. Did I happen to compliment you on your wonderful fashion taste this evening?" he winked at her, and Lark felt her cheeks redden.
      "Why thank you, Sir Percy," she accepted with a nod of her head.
      Douglas tugged on her arm. "If you'll excuse us." He led her away from the group and whispered, "Did you see anything?"
      "No," she sighed, "have you?"
      "No clue of any suspicious activity, " he told her. "Shall we check the garden, or stay here awhile longer?"
      Lark pondered the question. It was not often that a male asked her a question. "I believe we should stay here awhile more. Between the two of us, there is a possibility we overlooked something."
      Douglas nodded, and his head drifted in the direction of the dance floor.
"Lark?" he asked, shyly turning back to face her, taking both of her hands in his. "Would you care to dance?"
      Lark smiled as his eyes met hers. "I would love to."
      Duncan had never felt claustrophobic in his life, but he certainly did now. The room was wall to wall people, but he seemed to be the only one feeling uncomfortable. It was difficult to search the room from the floor, so he somehow made his way back to the steps and climbed a few of them.
      'This is much better', thought Duncan, taking a well deserved deep breaths.
'Now I can see something besides the four people standing around me.' however, he realized, there was nothing much to see from this perspective. His eyes did spot Lady Hastings standing in the far left hand corner of the room. Above her head was a large painting of a violet field. 'How clever,' Duncan thought with a smile.
      He turned and saw through the large glass doors leading to the ballroom Douglas and Lark out on the floor, dancing. The sight killed him inside. Duncan tried not to be jealous, but there was little he could do to prevent that feeling. He loved her so much....
      But he turned his head and tried not to think of it. MacLeod had work to do.

      Christopher Wingfield did not find this ball the least bit exciting. Over the past hour he had hung around in two half empty rooms, just soaking in everything around him like a sponge. No one had even been talking about anything even remotely stimulating.
      Chris wandered back into the main room and saw Duncan perched on the steps. He went over to his friend and greeted his friend with a gruff, "hello". Duncan managed a weak smile. "You look about as happy as I am."  
    Chris glowered at Duncan. "I'm bored. And I haven't seen anything. And there's no way we're going to find a couple of spies in this place!"
      "Calm down, Christopher," Duncan said, giving him a pat on the back.      
Chris wiped some sweat from his brow. "I'm sorry, Duncan. I just doubt those spies will be stupid enough to slip in public."
      Raymond found the servants to be busy and unhelpful, so he was basically on his own.
      'I don't seem to see any strange behavior,' thought Raymond glumly. 'Could it be the spies knew they would be spotted and did not attend after all?" He began to sincerely hope so. That way no one needed to be worried. But that seemed doubtful. These spies were French after all and Raymond had never known the French to keep away.
      "Marguerite, whatever did happen to that delightful French friend of yours? What was his name now.......??" Percy was thoughtful for a moment. "Shovelin was it?"
      "Chauvelin, Percy dear," Marguerite reminded him, "his name is Chauvelin. Chau- not shove."
      "No, Marguerite," Percy began, "he made it quite clear to me that his name was not chau- chau like I thought. Not 1-chau-chau-vel either," he told those gathered around, "Shovelin.  The name has such. . .such. . .punch to it. Shovelin!" he laughed, "I just adore!"
      Lark could have sworn she saw Marguerite wipe a tear from her eyes and it was obviously not from laughing.
      "Pardon," Lady Blakeney muttered fleeing from the group
.       "La!" Percy exclaimed with a grin, "I didn't think she missed Shovelin that much. His fashion sense was bloody awful!"
He was laughing on the outside, but it was blatantly clear to Lark that he was crying inside.
      "I am going to see to Marguerite," Lark told Douglas.
      "Please do," he agreed quietly letting go of her hand rather reluctantly. "The poor  woman looks awfully distressed."
      "Pardon me, gentlemen," Lark excused herself. As she walked away she heard Percy exclaim with a laugh. "Oh dear Miss Wingfield, don't tell me you too miss Mr. Shovelin!"
      She just smiled and left the crowded ball room.


            "Marguerite?" Lark entered the room Lady Blakeney had disappeared into tentively. "Marguerite, are you alright?"
She saw Percy's wife sitting on a chair, dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief. She stood up when she heard Lark approach.
      "Oh bonjour, Lark. I am fine" When she saw Lark's unbeliving eyes she was quick to add, "really."
      "Marguerite, please," Lark began gently, "do not deny your unhappiness." There was a brief pause before she inquired, "This is all about Percy, is it now?"
      Lady Blakeney's lower lip trembled. "He's not the man I married," she explained tearfully. "I feel as though I never really knew him. He has changed, Lark. He has changed into."
      Lark froze, not sure what to do say. She knew Percy's true identity, and felt very sorry that poor Marguerite was so unhappy, when her husband really WAS the wonderful man she dreamed of. Yet Lark had to stay quiet.
"Oh Marguerite, I am so sorry. Perhaps....perhaps if you look a bit deeper-"
      "Oh there's nothing there!" exclaimed Marguerite throwing her hands into the air. "He's as shallow as a puddle."
      'Percy's facade is TOO good' Lark thought. He has even Marguerite totally fooled.... "I'm sorry, Marguerite, but I....I don't know that to tell you."
She went over and gave Lady Blakeney a gentle hug.
      "I don't know what to tell myself, " muttered Marguerite.
      "Come on," Lark said, taking Marguerite by the hand, "shall we go back to the ball?"
      Marguerite heaved a sigh. "I suppose so. I don't want Percy to actually worry over me."
      Christopher was beginning to look rather pale.
      "Are you feeling alright, Master Christopher?" questioned Duncan, his voice full of concern.
      "I'm feeling a bit suffocated in here," Christopher explained taking hold of the railing. "I'm afraid I may swoon."
      Duncan took hold of his arm. "Would you like to go outside and get some fresh air perhaps?"
      Christopher nodded urgently. "Yes, I believe that will necessary. It is impossible to breathe in here. The air is so unbearably stuffy."
      The two waded their way down the steps and began their journey through the thick mass of bodies.
      Lark and Marguerite Blakeney entered the crowded ballroom once again.
      "La! Marguerite! There you are m'dear! Now really, was that French.....thing...worth the fuss?"
      Marguerite frowned. "Perhaps," she muttered, but no one but Lark heard her.
      Douglas too Lark aside. "Perhaps we should have a look in the garden now, my dear."
      "We should," agreed Lark.
      "Excuse us, gentlemen and Lady Blakeney, but we will be going to get a breath of fresh air."
      "It is dreadfully hot in here," Lark added.
      "Do hurry back," Percy told her. "I do so require your intelligence once I think up another  smashing bit of poetry."      
      "Why, Sir Percy," Lark said slyly as she began away, "I couldn't bear stray from your company for very long."
The night air was fresh and cool. A very different atmosphere than from inside the crowded manor house. Lark fully welcomed the refreshing atmosphere and drew a few deep breaths.
      Douglas took hold of her hand very gently.
"Lovely evening," he commented.       Lark smiled and glanced around. "Yes." She turned so they were face to face.
      He smiled back at her. He wasn't sure what anyone else thought, but he was rather glad not to be in France this time. His last experience there had been not so pleasant. He often thought of death nowadays. As though any day could be his last. He could die tomorrow. One of his biggest fears was that he would die without ever telling her how much he loved her.
      Now was another opportunity to try and get the words out.    
  "Lark....." he began tentatively. He stopped then. She seemed distracted.
"What's wrong?"
      With a sigh she admitted, "I'm worried about Marguerite."
      "Lady Blakeney?" Douglas repeated. "She did seem distressed. What ails her?"
      "Her heart," Lark explained. "It's Percy. She has lost all hope for him as a husband. It's as though she has never known him at all. She is very sad."
      Douglas frowned. "How awful that she thinks his love for her is extinct."
      "I do not understand why he does not reveal his identity to her. They are husband and wife after all, and should tell one another everything."
      Douglas nodded in agreement. "I would not keep any secrets from my wife."
      "Nor would I keep any from my husband," she murmured. "Perhaps Percy has a reason why he is doing this to her."
      Douglas echoed, "Perhaps."
      She turned again towards him, taking his other hand. "I am glad we got to stay in England this time around," she admitted. "Whenever I am in France I have the sensation that I'm being followed."
      "Aye," Douglas agreed, "as do I."
      Lark turned away again, and walked a few paces. "I don't see another soul out you?"
      "No." Douglas stooped to pluck a violet he saw from the ground. "Look."
      She turned  and took the flower he offered to her. "Oh, a violet. How thoughtful." She stuck it in her hair. "Thank you."
      "You are most welcome," he assured her.
      There was a brief silence. Before he could speak again, she had leaned forward and kissed him. Douglas closed his eyes and returned the gesture. As they drew apart, he began, "Lark, I l-"
      "Lark? Is that you?"
      The two tentative lovers drew apart in a moment.
      "Demmed Scotsman!" Lark cursed quietly. "Yes, Mr. MacLeod. Tis me."
      Duncan MacLeod came into the clearing with Christopher. "I thought I saw your outline," smiled the Scotsman. "Your brother was feeling a bit faint back inside."
      "Oh," Lark replied, "are you feeling alright now, Christopher?"
      "Quite alright," Chris assured his sister.
      "We haven't detected anything suspicious yet," Douglas put in before questions could be asked.
      "Nor have we," admitted Duncan.
      "Well I suppose we should all be getting back to our assignment," Lark hinted.
      "Yes, I agree." Duncan turned back to Christopher. "Do you think we can handle going back inside?"
      "I believe so," Christopher decided. "Shall we head back to our post?"
      "Aye," Duncan agreed. "We shall see you again later."
      Lark called good evening to them, then turned back to Douglas. "Now, what were you saying before we were interrupted?" she asked with a hopeful smile.
      Douglas had lost his nerve. "Oh....nothing," he mumbled, looking at the ground.
      Lark frowned. "Oh. Shall we go back inside then?"
 Douglas nodded, and they headed back indoors.


   "La, my dear! You seem a bit distracted. Does something trouble you?"
Francis Foard turned to his fiance, Charlette, with a questioning look in his eye.
   Charlette had been looking very distracted that evening. Afterall, she had been on the lookout for the spies. "No, no, my dear," she assured him, "nothing troubles me."
   Francis didn't look convinced, but he patted her hand and turned back to his conversation.
   'I'm not really looking,' Charlette thought to herself. 'Staying by his side is getting me nowhere.'
"Excuse me, Sir Francis, but I think I'm going to take a peek in the ballroom, if you do not mind."
   "Go ahead, darling," he encouraged. "I apologize if you have been bored."
He kissed her hand and she ventured from his side into the ballroom.    
"La, Miss Charlette! Where is your dashing fiance, Sir Francis?"   
 Charlette smiled upon hearing Sir Percy's voice. "Well, Sir Percy, if you must know he is back in the main room engaged in conversation with Sir Andrew." She smiled innocently at him.
   Percy chuckled. "You are becoming more like your sister, don't you think?"
   Charlette grinned. "I most certainly hope NOT."
   The group of bounders got a good foppish laugh from that comment.
   "Well perhaps it would be more comforting if you were told that you were the opposite of your sister," Ozzy put in.
   "Yes," she assured them, "that is much more comforting."
   "I apologize for any offense, Miss Charlette," said Sir Percy.    
"None taken, Sir Percy." She paused, then excused herself. "I'm sorry, gentlemen, but I must excuse myself from your company."
   "Sink me! First Miss Lark, now Miss Charlette! Are you Wingfield ladies giving me some sort of sign?" exclaimed Sir Percy with false shock.
   "Your company is just too intelligent for us I suppose," Charlette teased.
   "Well then, we wouldn't want you to strain your mind trying to keep up with my intelligent conversation!" laughed Sir Percy, "away with you now, Miss Charlette! Before you injure yourself!"
   With a grin, Charlette crossed the room.
   Lark and Douglas entered the ballroom again arm and arm and were spotted by Sir Percy who greeted them cheerfully.
"La, Miss Lark! You have indeed returned to my company as promised!"
   "Of course, Sir Percy! Did you doubt my word?" she asked with a sly grin.
   He bent to kiss her hand. "Nay, m'dear. But who would?" Lark caught a strange look in his eye for a moment, but just as soon as she produced a confused the look was gone.
   "The look confused her. "Uh. . .Sir Percy, may I speak privately with you for a minute?"
   Percy laughed. "Of course, Miss Lark, but you will remember I am a married man, right, Marguerite?"
he turned and glanced at his wife before putting his arm around Lark and leading her into the garden.
   When Percy said nothing, she began. "Sir Percy.....I saw that look you gave me back there," she slowly began, avoiding his eyes.
   "I have been meaning to ask you a very serious question, Lark," Percy began, sounding much more serious than Lark had ever heard.
   "What is it you wish to know?"
   There was a brief silence before he began with his inquiry.
"You and I both know you were not in Paris last week for the fru-fru."
   "Nor were you," she put in.
   "No," he affirmed carefully, "I was not."
   There was another silence.
   Suddenly Lark said very casually, "You're the Scarlet Pimpernel."
   Percy's eyes grew very wide. "Excuse me?" he laughed, "Miss Wingfield, how could I of all men possibly have ANYTHING to do with-"
   "Percy," she gently cut him off, "Percy, I know. I figured it out."
   "But how. . .??" breathed Sir Percy.
   "I had a feeling from the beginning. All those poems based on the Pimpernel, and you seemed the least likely of people. That occasion when we met in Paris confirmed my suspicions. What would a wealthy Englishman be doing in an obscure Parisian alley in the early morning unless he was the Scarlet Pimpernel?"
   "I knew you were exceedingly clever, Miss Wingfield," chuckled Percy, "now tell me what YOU were doing in Paris that morning."
   "I had come to warn you, of course," she revealed, "that is all."
   Blakeney did not press the issue. "Will you join the League?" he asked.
   "Oh no," she said quickly, shaking her head. "I would love to, honestly, but my parents would suspect something if I had to leave home so often."
   Percy paused. "You have told no one my identity?"
   "No, and I wouldn't dream of it," she assured him.
   Percy nodded. "Well I suppose we should be getting back inside." He turned, but Lark grabbed his arm and he turned back to her.
   "Percy....I probably shouldn't interfere with this, but Marguerite is my friend and-"
   "Marguerite?" Percy interrupted, his foppish grin appearing. "What, has she been telling you how she doesn't recognize me anymore?"
   "Yes, Sir Percy, and I think you should tell her who you are."   
 "I cannot," he said firmly.
   "Percy, why not? She dould only be proud of all you have done for her country and-"
   He interrupted again. "No. I cannot tell her, Lark. It is for her own safety." He paused. "I am certain you understand my position. If Marguerite were to get involved...." his eyes got a far away look.
   "Alright, Sir Percy," sighed Lark. "I suppose you do know what's best."
   "La!" Percy agreed, his face lighting up again. "And now shall we return?" He offered her his arm.
   Lark smiled. She was not one to refuse the arm of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Together, they went back to the party.
Chapter 5: "And someone have something or it's the gullitine for all of us."

      Charlette proceeded out into the garden to get a breath of fresh air. It deathly stuffy indoors.
      She was alone outside and with a little sigh she say down on a bench to enjoy the night air.
      "Psst! Jaques!" a voice with a very heavy French accent whispered behind the bushes.
      Charlette paid close attention as two voices began to converse in French. And although her French was not the best, she got the gist of the conversation.
      "No talk of the Pimpernel," one said. "I don't think he came."
      "Of course he came, you fool!" scolded the other. "You just have not been listening well enough!"
      "Well have you spoken with the others?" asked the first one. "They have heard something, maybe?"
      "No, they are still in the ballroom," said the second, "but you would think between the seven of us we could ascertain something."
      "Well where do we meet? And when?"
      "The clock in half an hour. And someone better have something or it's the gullitine for all of us!"
      Charlette heard footsteps, and then everything was silent again.
      She could not believe what she had just heard! The seven spies would all be meeting in a single place in only half an hour! She had to let someone else know of this!
      Charlette leaped to her feet and rushed back indoors tripping over her dress.
She pushed through the crowd where she saw her sister standing with Douglas and Percy.
"Lark, Lark!"
      Lark turned her attention to her sister.
"Charlette, what on Earth is the matter with you?"
      Charlette went to speak, but she shut her mouth and rethought what she was going to say.
"Lark, I must speak with you and Douglas privately right away."
There was a certain look in her eye that made Lark know her sister had something important to say.
      "Excuse us, Percy," Douglas apologized as he and Lark followed Charlette back out into the garden.
      "The spies," she blurted out once they were outside. "I heard them talking. There are seven of them, and they are planning to meet under the clock in half an hour."
      Douglas and Lark both smiled. "This is wonderful, Char," Lark congratulated her sister, "simply wonderful. You really have come through for the League and the Guild." she turned to Douglas. "See if you can locate Raymond or Christopher....or Mr. MacLeod. I will try and locate Lady Hastings."      
"What about me?" asked Charlette.
      "Char, go back and keep Sir Percy company," Lark told her.       "Alright," sighed Charlette, even though she really wanted to get involved in what was going to happen to the spies.
      "Let's go," Douglas broke in, "we haven't any time to waste."
      Ten minutes later, Lark, Douglas, Chris, Ray, Duncan and Lady Eliza stood against the wall across from the clock and pretended to be engaged in conversation. They all seemed to be a little nervous. The time was winding down. Lark twirled her handkerchief nervously in her hands. Lady Eliza seemed the most relaxed of the group.
      Christopher was clearly growing impatient. Where was the excitement?
      Three minutes remained until they came face to face with the dreaded spies.
How were they to go about doing this? Lark took hold of Douglas' hand and held it tightly in her own.
      That's when they heard a voice exclaim, fairly loudly, "why Douglas, Lark, what are you doing over there? Do you not enjoy my company?"
      Lark and Douglas exchanged a frantic glance. What a inoppurtune time for the Pimpernel to show up!
      "Oh, Sir Percy!" Lark said lightly, hiding her worry. She shot a look at Charlette who stood in the background, looking guilty. "Of course we enjoy your company! It is just that we assumed you were tired of ours!"
Out of the corner of her eye, Lark detected a group of seven assembling under the clock. The others, apparently had also noticed and were trying not to look obvious about it.
      "Tired of your company? I think now! Alas, Miss Wingfield, may I speak privately with you for a moment?"
      As she thought for a moment, she saw Lord Hastings approach his wife and whisper in her ear. Eliza smiled and her face relaxed, and suddenly Lark got a good feeling about all this.
"Yes, Sir Percy, what is it we need to discuss?"
      "Dewhurst told me there were spies about. Did you by any chance happen to see anyone looking suspicious?"
      Lark grinned, "Well, I have to say I have Sir Percy. Those seven assembled in front of the clock look rather strange just standing there."
            Percy and Lark both turned to look at the group, which was trying to discreetly slink away.
      "You there!" Percy called out. "What are you doing? No loitering is allowed!"
      All of the spies turned a bright beet red and escaped out the front door.
      "Well, don't want to abide by the rules, do you? Well then!" Percy shoot his head.
      Lark turned and smiled at the group. Once again, everything was solved. Though things could have went a little more smoothly....
      "We don't need them," Percy decided, turning back to Lark. "Tell me, Miss Wingfield, would you care to dance?"
      She smiled and accepted his outstretched arm.
"Sir Percy, I would be honored."
                              THE END

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