Chapter 4: The League at Last

It need not be said how confused Alexander was to find out that a meeting of the league of the Scarlet Pimpernel was to be held at Sir Percival Blakeney's home. Sir Percy was a good, kind, proper gentleman but Alexander just couldn't see him having any association with the Scarlet Pimpernel. Really, the man is such a complete idiot. Ah well, I will find everything out in a moment. He thought as he turned his horse into the drive at Blakeney Manor. The door was answered by an elderly servant who directed him to a room, inside of which he could hear voices conversing. As he entered the room he was greeted by Dewhurst, Ffoulkes, and all the other members present.

"Where is he?" he said under his breath to Dewhurst.

"The Scarlet Pimpernel will arrive in a moment. You'll know him when you see him."

At that moment Sir Percy entered. All conversation ceased as he entered and the men gave him their full attention. As he took a seat at the head of the table, Alexander realized, to his amazement, that this must be the Scarlet Pimpernel. He must have shown his bewilderment because as soon as Percy saw his face he said with a laugh.

"A bit surprised, Wyndham?"

"I.. are the Scarlet Pimpernel? It's just I, didn't expect..."

"The leader of such fine and gallant gentlemen, men who have done so much, to be such a complete fool?" he said with a smile.

"I suppose not, but, now that I know, I can't believe I didn't see it earlier. You really are such a good actor, though. Why on earth do you act like such a fop when you are really such a absolute hero?" queried Alexander.

"We all have to act our part. The league would never have retained it's anonymity unless we all were thought to only be rather brainless and predictable. You might say one of our chief goals is to make everyone imagine we have never had a serious thought in our whole life!" said Froggy speaking up at last (it was very unusual for him to remain silent as long as he did.). "We all--"

"Froggy!" said several voices at once.

"Percy was speaking..." said Hastings.

"Ffoulkes, do you have the papers?"

"Yes, Percy, here they are."

"Will you read the oath, Hastings?" asked Percy.

Hastings took the papers from Ffoulkes and began to read. As Alexander heard the words he felt a surge of pride at being able to join a band of such extraordinary men.

" remain loyal to fellow league members, the Scarlet Pimpernel, and those the league rescues at all costs..." Hastings continued. " you swear this, Lord Alexander Wyndham?"

"I swear, upon my honor," said Alexander.

"Then welcome to the league of the Scarlet Pimpernel!" said Tony who could hardly contain himself any longer. "It feels so good to know that there are twenty of us once again."

"Now, Froggy, is the time to talk," said Percy. "You can tell Wyndham here all about the league, everyone's names, our hideouts over in France, etc."

Everyone else groaned but Froggy had already started talking full force to Alexander about this rescue and that rescue this meeting place and that meeting place. Alexander didn't mind in the least, he had always wished for someone who would tell him everything he wanted to know about the Scarlet Pimpernel. But after Froggy had gone on for a while and had only stopped to catch his breath, Alexander turned to Percy and said.

"One thing, Percy, may I tell my sister Faith? We are so close and have shared the dream that someday I could somehow become a league member. If you say no, of course, I would never tell her. But we know each other so well, it would be terribly awkward."

"Yes, I can see how you feel the need to tell someone. If you can be certain she will tell no one, you may tell her. Just remember in the ballroom you'll have to become a foppish English gentleman like the rest of us!" he said with a grin.

"We all must be very careful to not let our disguises down at any time or let slip any information," said Ffoulkes seriously.

"You always were the voice of reason Ffoulkes," Blakeney said good-naturedly.

"I'll be extremely careful," said Alexander.

"I sure you will be," Percy said quietly. "But now you all must be getting home. Some of us have wives waiting for us, you know," he added with a laugh.

The men all joined in the laugh, knowing how impatient he was to spend every minute he could with Marguerite. Not that a few of them weren't just as anxious to rejoin their own wives. So without further discourse, they took their leave of Sir Percy, and returned to their homes.

©Blakeney Manor, 2005