Chapter 6: Paris, France

The hours spent sailing to France have sped by so quickly, Alexander reflected. He thought that Percy's yacht was very appropriately named the Daydream. Everything had seemed so ethereal. Even now things felt somewhat dream-like. A spectacular dream though. The kind you're afraid you'll wake up from any minute. These thoughts and more came crowding into Lord Wyndham's mind as he donned a blue coat, the last part of the disguise that was to turn him into a revolutionary guard. Percy had given similar outfits to Froggy, Glynde, and Dewhurst. Armand's disguise was much harder, more detailed. Everingham's was the easiest. All he needed was a ordinary working-man's outfit. All of the men worked together perfectly, even though they had hardly any idea what Percy's plans were for rescuing the Thériault family. Not a grumble was heard. Well, almost no grumbling. You couldn't really blame Hastings and Mackenzie for a little good-natured complaining when they were given the boring job of waiting with the horses outside the city.

Upon their arrival in Paris, it was decided that they would split up into several groups in order to avoid suspicion about such a large group of unfamiliar men suddenly moving in. Alexander, Tony, and Froggy would be staying together in an apartment about fifteen minutes walk from Percy's. The others were scattered in various apartments nearby. They were all to meet at Percy's apartment on Quai de l'Ecole at the back of St.Germain l'Auxerrois at noon. As Percy had asked Tony and Froggy to pick up a few things on the way, they had needed to leave earlier than Alexander had. Since that had been almost an hour ago, Alexander thought that, probably, they had reached the meeting place by now. He hurried down the street with his hands in his pockets and his head down, trying to attract as little attention as possible, a thing which he was already beginning to master. Indeed Percy had been very pleased to see how easy it was for Alexander to change his entire demeanor to whatever matched best the personality he was trying to change into. Only the day before Percy had remarked upon his obvious ability. Alexander had felt honored - and a little embarrassed at being praised so heartily in front of the others. The honor he felt most though. Hadn't those words come from the man admired most in the world? He found himself quite in awe of the man. Of course, who wasn't in England these days. But Percy was something else altogether. He was everything he had expected in his gallant hero, and yet not quite. He couldn't quite put his finger on it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I never thought that the Scarlet Pimpernel could possibly be hidden under such a dandy as Sir Percival Blakeney. The transformation was so sudden! He was so hard to understand. Always lighthearted, with a ready smile and a cheerful word. Never did a shadow of anxiety betray itself in his lazy gray eyes, never a worry seemed to pass his brow. Alexander wondered at how he could remain outwardly so carefree when he must be worrying about so many different things. The lives of so many depended upon him. Even when Percy was in his most relaxed of dispositions he had to be ever concocting new plans for their next rescues. There wasn't a man among them that wouldn't have gladly died for their "Chief". Alexander felt as if, somehow, he had known Percy all his life. At any rate, he was now certain that he was doing what he was always meant to do, becoming the man he was always meant to be. He now had a brave and fearless leader to follow into any adventure he chose to lead him into. Alexander smiled to himself as he walked the final blocks. He rounded the corner and turned to his right, ducking to enter the small, low framed door that led into the building. Next, he went down the diminutive hallway and knocked on the apartment door, Andrew let him in.

"Where are Dewhurst and Froggy?" asked Ffoulkes worriedly.

"They aren't here?" responded Alexander, the same worry now in his voice. "I thought for sure they would be here by now."

"No, neither of them have been here. Tony knows the city far to well to let himself get lost." Said Mackenzie quietly

"Maybe Tony lost it with Froggy and is even now burying him. Goodness knows Dewhurst's not used to Froggy's constant jabbering like I am," Glynde said grinning, but not without a certain measure of anxiety visible in his face.

"Come on, Glynde, be serious," said Everingham. "If they don't come back soon we will have to go looking for them, and there's no telling what mischief the two of them have gotten themselves into."

"How much longer are we going to wait, Percy?" asked Andrew. But Percy never had a chance to reply for at that moment footsteps were heard and presently Tony entered with Froggy close behind.

"Wherever have you two been?" demanded Glynde, with an air of mock wrath. Tony, ignoring him, turned to Percy and said:

"Sorry we're late. We were on our way here when we saw Chauvelin talking to a group of soldiers. Did you know he was in Paris?"

"As a matter of fact I did. But you talk as if I should dread the man. I don't see the reason for your fear. Why, we're the best of friends!"

"Oh Percy, please, this is not a laughing matter, he knows you're here! I heard him tell the soldiers that there was to be a strict watch on the gates. The only people who are to be let through without the most thorough of searches are himself and the captain he had with him. Anybody they are the least unsure about are to be apprehended immediately. This whole affair with the Thériault family is another one of his traps."

"I know, Tony. But really you must trust me, everything is actually turning out quite splendidly. My good old friend Chauvelin... such an agreeable, cooperative fellow, always manages to do the very thing you were hoping he would."

Though still a little worried, Tony trusted his Chief completely and relaxed, entering once more into the spirit of things. Percy sat on a chair in front of the fire. He listened to his men talk for a few minutes, smiling every now and then at what was said, but obviously deep in thought. Presently, he rose from his seat, looked at the old clock hanging on the wall, and said:

"Now, we have to be going,Ffoulkes, we mustn't keep our good friend Chauvelin waiting."

At that moment Armand entered in full disguise.

"Well, what do you think?" he asked. Tony started when he saw the figure in the doorway.

"As for the rest of you," continued Blakeney "I would like you to meet Guerin Devereux, your new captain."

"How on earth do you manage it Percy? He looks exactly like the captain Chauvelin had with him," said Tony.

"I am delighted that you think so. As I was saying, Ffoulkes and I must go now, but Armand and Everingham here know where you all need to go."
Tony, still recovering from the shock, asked Armand:

"Where to, Captain?"

"It looks as if Hasting and Mackenzie aren't the only ones who are going to have to learn patience. We are going to have our share of waiting today as well," said Armand

To which Alexander said: "At least we get to have some part in the action though."

"Come on, everyone, we best be leaving as well," directed Tony.

©Blakeney Manor, 2005