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 nearest window. 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 than French:
"You should never do with him?"
" 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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