Chapter 8: The Trap

Armand led the other five men down streets and alleys using all the tactics Percy had taught them for making sure nobody followed them. After they had gone on for some time, Armand turned to them and said:

"I had better have you lead from here Tony. Percy told me that as we got closer I should be extremely careful to be discreet, to do no talking, and above all to keep my face over-shadowed by my hat. Otherwise I might be recognized as Captain Devereux far to early on. You had best do all the talking Tony."

"Let Froggy do it, he's the best you could wish for when it comes to talking," said Glynde, jokingly.

"For heavens sake, don't let's get him started, we'd never get him to stop again!" said Alexander, beginning to realize how serious a thing it was to get Froggy talking ."We'd never get there in time to do the least bit of good!"

Tony hurried to the front, as if to prevent any further discussion on the topic. Then he said:

"You'll have to direct me though. Where is it we're going?"

"The house is just around the corner and down a block. It's a big brick building," responded Armand, pointing forward. "But Percy said we should go around to the back."
When they had reached the back of the building Armand said:

"Percy said that we are going to get them out the back door here."

"Look, Armand, I know the guards can be idiots, but surely if they are trying to trap us they would think to post a guard at the back door as well as the front," said Glynde. "If the Chief said so it must work, but it couldn't be trap then. If it were, surely he would have thought to guard every entrance."

"Well, it seems this door has been boarded up for quite some time and it was only yesterday that Everingham repaired it. Still, you'd think that Devereux would have noticed and placed a guard here," said Armand. "I think I saw Chauvelin out front of the building. Won't he be infuriated with the poor Captain when he finds out the stupid mistake he made!"

"You saw Chauvelin?" queried Tony. "Where? I didn't see him."

"He was in a carriage. No doubt trying to stay hidden in hopes of surprising us," Armand said, chuckling.

"How much did Percy tell you two about the plans?" asked Alexander.

"Precious little, he rarely does you know, but you'll soon get used to it. It's so much fun when you don't know for sure what he is going to do, then suddenly as you continue doing what he told you to do, all the pieces just fit together! How he does it I'll never know." said Armand.

"My part will begin in a moment. All the rest of you have to do from here on is wait for the sound of the Sea mew's cry thrice repeated," said Everingham. "I do have a little more of an insight into his plans this time Armand, but since you all enjoy being surprised so much..."

"Come on, tell us!" came several shouts at once.

"Quiet! Quiet!" laughed Everingham. "Do you want to call the whole Revolutionary guard down on our heads?"

"Do you want to call the wrath of the whole league down on yours?" challenged Froggy.

"Don't tease us!" said Glynde menacingly.

"Just wait, you'll see." Everingham said.

Every once and a while Everingham would walk around to the corner, look for a while and then come back. About a half hour passed before he told them:

"I'd best be going now. As soon as I come to the door here two of you must run in and get the Thériaults out as quickly as ever you can."

They leaned back against the side of the building and sighed. Alexander was eager to learn all he could and asked them to tell him more about the previous rescues they had made. All of them did so with a good will, for they never tired of telling about their Chief's exploits.


~*~

Everingham went to the front of the building and scanned the crowd for the tall soldier he had been keeping an eye on. Good, he's still there. He thought to himself. He dashed across the street to where the soldier stood, trying his hardest to look frightened and excited. He could tell his act was working because the moment the soldier saw his face he asked:

"Come now, what's this? You look scared out of you wits Citizen."

"No time to explain," he gasped out "you must hurry if you wish to be of service to the Republic - and make good money at the same time."

"What are you going on about?"

"It's the Scarlet Pimpernel! I saw him enter that building over there," he pointed across the street. "He could be to the top and safe in hiding by the time you quit jawing!"

"The Scarlet Pimpernel?! But how would the likes of you know so much about English spies, and such, how would you--"

"You must go now!"

The intensity in his voice at last convinced the soldier who called another soldier standing nearby to come with him, Everingham followed. They ran into the building and up the stairs, despite the protestations of the landlord. It was a large old building with three stories. They were huffing and puffing by the time they reached the second landing. Everingham heard the sound of footsteps coming from down below and knew he must move fast now or all would be ruined. He pushed the soldiers to go on. They were to absorbed with their own breathing to take note of the clamor proceeding from downstairs. When they arrived at the top Everingham pointed to an open door at the end of the long hallway.

"The Englishman must be in there!" he shouted.

 

~*~

Now we must return to Chauvelin , who at last was caught up with Captain Devereux at the appointed place. He sat awkwardly peering out the window of his carriage, trying to keep watch on the building where the Thériaults were lodged, and at the same time trying to remain hidden from view. After a long wait, suddenly there was movement. It was a tall soldier with two men following, entering the building. For a moment he wondered if it could be his prey at long last. Then as he studied the figure, he knew it couldn't possibly be. He knew that Sir Percy could take on many different forms when he wanted to, but something told him "No, that can't be him.". Maybe it was the years of constant conflict he had already experienced in his struggle against this man that warned him against instant pursuit, maybe it was something else. Whatever the reason, Chauvelin knew that his enemy had not yet taken the bait. So he watched the three men disappear inside the house. Then to his dismay, he saw five soldiers going after them - Captain Devereux! The fool! What was he doing?! Chauvelin tried with all his might to make his voice heard over the noise of the street, but in an instant he knew it was all to no avail, for he heard the sound of a cheery, inane laugh coming from above him. The door of his carriage opened, and then an all too familiar, debonair voice said:

"Sink me, if it ain't monsuer Chamberton!"

"Come on men, follow me," encouraged Devereux, reaching the door of the building.

"We must catch those men!"

"But Captain, how do you know that's the English Spy? He looked an awful lot like Citizen Bontecou."

"Of course he looks like citizen Bontecou, that Englishman is clever. But we know better than to be tricked like that."

"We do?"

"Look, Citizen Chauvelin warned me about this here Spy, he can make himself look like most anyone he wants to! The Citizen Representative says to me: 'Now don't you be taking any chances, he's a sly one, he is,' and I says: 'You can depend upon me, Citizen.' And so here we are, and you making me stand here talking while the Spy escapes!"

Right away the other soldiers picked up their pace, and entered the building. They started to climb the stairs, and received much relief upon perceiving the sound of a heavy tread going up the stairs ahead of them. They even thought that, perhaps, they were fleeing from them. But they couldn't escape. Their quarry was trapped! They reached the top and couldn't see a sign anyplace of the soldiers, but they did see a man in the hall.

"Quick, Citizen, did you see three men pass this way?" asked Devereux anxiously.

"Yes, b...but t...hey were sold--" stammered the astonished man.

"Where?!"

"Down the hall and to left, the door is still open."

The men were so intent upon their pursuit that they scarcely took note of the man after that, but instead rushed down the hall towards the room the man had indicated, so they didn't see the smile of satisfaction on the strangers face, nor see him follow them. Neither did they notice that as they ran into the apartment and into the adjoining room, where they could hear the men they had been chasing, the solid oak door they had just entered through was closed and locked behind them. Fifteen minutes later they had the "spies" bound securely, despite their loud protestations. It was only then that it occurred to them to wonder why their "English" prisoners had been cursing them soundly--in French.

©Blakeney Manor, 2005