The knife-weilding stranger leaps toward me, but instead of the
stabbing pain I expect, I glance up only to see the cloaked figure
surpass me and grab the sobbing child. Then the mysterious figure
rushes off into the the shadows, while I follow in a hurried pursuit.
The screams of the child allow me to follow without much uncertainy of
the path they have taken. Soon, I hear the slam of a door, ending the
perpetuous cries of the young one. I scan my surroundings as I slow to
a trot and, lo and behold, a tall building looms before me. Quickly I
glance around for any assistance--there is no evidence of habitation any
where in the vicinity. I gather my wits about me and approach the
Inside there seems to be a gathering of some kind and when the shrouded
man enters with the child, there is much commotion. I can hear bits and
pieces of conversation and am startled by the use of English, rather
"You should never have....to do with him?"
"...it couldn't have been prevented...not informed well..."
At this point, he removes his cloak, revealing a strikingly handsome man, clad in the same unusual apparel as the others. I move to the other side of the building in order to obtain a better view of this curious meeting. As I glance into the room from my new station, I realize the window is open a crack and can now hear the discussion quite easily. The man I followed seems to be the leader of the group. He states, "What was I to do? He just saw his mother executed for goodness' sake. Was I to just leave him there in the open, for any of them to discover?"
It is during this speech, whilst he flails his arms wildly to emphasize his point, that I notice the ring. I instantly recognize it. It is quite unusual: a large, red oval, surrounded by gold and in the center, a drawing of a small flower. Just then, I slip on the crates supporting me and crash to the ground; I freeze and listen closely: I hear the scrape of chairs and the pounding of boots coming toward the door... I scramble to my feet and race back through path from which I had come.
After a short while, I notice that there no longer is any one following me and I slow to catch my breath. Just then, I hear the clock strike 11 and I realize I am late for my appointment. As I quicken my step to the Place de la Greve, the events I have just witnessed rush through my mind. I can hardly contain my excitement and, as I approach Lady Hastings, the tale of my first sighting of the mysterious pimpernel bursts forth from my lips...
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