Strangers in the Night

It was close to midnight, on the day October 30th, 1799. Heavy rain was falling on a lonely landscape across rural England. A carriage of elegant features traveled in what was now a muddy road, its passengers bothered by the cold of the night. They were looking for a special place, a place to perform what they had set out to do this night. They saw a big house, perhaps a manor-house, in the distance…

They had found their place.


"Quinn Manor"


“Please, our coach driver is rather lost, and we do not have were to spend the night,” said a young man of about twenty-five years, standing at the door of the Quinn Manor. A butler was standing in front of him, guarding the door and blocking the way, while the young man was soaking wet outside. “Can we pass the night here?”

“Wait a moment, please,” said the butler. Moments later, he returned, “the Lord of the house says he will permit you to stay tonight. Come this way.”

The young man made a signal, and three women got out of the carriage and hurriedly inside the house, to avoid getting too wet. The coach driver followed suit.

Inside, the house looked splendid, and the young man was delighted that he had chosen such a marvelous place. And it was perfect; the house’s atmosphere was moody and grim, with the rain and the coldness of the night making it more so; there were candles everywhere, and they would need those, certainly; finally, the house looked rather empty, which would make it easier to…

“I bid you welcome to my house, mister…?” A man of about forty entered the room were the newcomers were waiting by the fire. He was very tall, and very pale, with eyes icy blue, and long blond hair. He was thin, but not exceedingly so, yet he looked rather sick, though joyful at the unexpected visit paid to his solitary mansion.

“Faulke,” replied the young man, “Robert Faulke. And this is my sister Alicia,” he said, referring to a young girl of about eighteen, “her friend Rose,” a redhead of also eighteen, “and my wife, Elizabeth,” who was, at twenty-two, the oldest of the three women.

“Ah, very pleased to meet you all!” said the Lord of the house, “I am Lord Edward Warren Quinn, E.W. Quinn for short,” he said with a smile.

Faulke nodded, “Lord Quinn.”

Faulke now turned his attention to a man who had just entered the room. The man appeared to be in his thirties and, contrary to Lord Quinn, he did not sport a smiling face, but seemed to scan all the visitor’s faces with a frown.

“Monsieur Robespierre!” said Lord Quinn, “you decided to come down, after all. Meet our guests…”

“Monsieur Robespierre?” Faulke interrupted, “are you, by any chance, a relative of Maximilian Robespierre?”

“Why, yes, monsieur…?” asked Robespierre.


“Why, yes, monsieur Faulke. Maximilian Robespierre was my cousin.”

“Was?” asked Elizabeth.

“Maximilian Robespierre,” explained Faulke, “was…died five years ago, in the chaos of the revolution in France.”

“Oh, that is so terrible,” said Elizabeth.

Robespierre nodded, “It is, Madam,” Robespierre gave a quick look to Lord Quinn and then turned back to Elizabeth, “but, if you promise not to tell anyone else, I will tell you a rumor that has become almost a legend amongst some circles in France.”

“Oh, I love stories and rumors, monsieur Robespierre!” said Elizabeth enthusiastically.

Rumors, my love?” said Faulke, “do you not mean gossip?”

Everyone laughed, and then he added, “we promise not to tell anyone, monsieur Robespierre.”

“Very well, then,” said Robespierre, “it has been said that the man beheaded at the mercy of the Guillotine was not Maximilian Robespierre.”


Copyright © 2001 Samuel Pérez. All Rights Reserved.



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