Little Gems - The Flashing Blade
Episode 5 - Original BBC transmission 28th April 1969
Francois and Isabelle have escaped their captors and are now having to spend the night in a little hut until morning. During the night Isabelle questions him and although he at first is very evasive she soon learns the truth and begins to fall for him. She examines Francois's hands and determins that he is not a merchant but probably a swordsman of some kind. In the morning the pair are awoken by a barrage of artillery fire. The guns are not of that country they are in since it does not have any artillery. They therefore assume it is the Spanish and that they have entered the neutral country. The assumption is a little wrong since the guns are those of the Spanish who have come to rescue the Count and all the other captives. The Spanish guards report a total success and all the brigands are dead. Don Alonso is now with the Count De Sospel who believes his daughter to be somewhere in the mountains by now. All the guns and troops used in the assault are now to be sent back to the Casal although two sections of cavalry are to be retained for use as escort for the Count and Don Alonso. Don Alonso is keen to see the men who aided the Count's escape, especially when he learns that the two were of French origin. Don Alonso has put two and two together and got four.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, our little Isabelle is really smitten with Francois and even gives him her handkerchief with her crest on it. If ever he is in mortal danger, he should somehow return it to her and she will come to his aid. Here the two part company for she is nearly home and he must continue with his mission for Thoiras.
Guillot is brought before Don Alonso and Ricardo. He is beaten in order to extract information but Guillot sticks to his story that he is a merchant. The Count tries to intervene but he is a bit weak when it comes to matters of state. Eventually Isabelle arrives and takes matters in hand. She has Guillot released and reminds Don Alonso that he is a guest in her country and she only has to complain to Madrid to have him replaced. She also threatens him with requesting French assistance as their army is just over the hill and would be only too happy to help. Guillot makes his way to Isabelle's Chateaux for there will be safety there. Francois, meanwhile, has made his way the Joseph Fabris (the next French agent) house only to find it in flames, being recently torched by Spanish agents. Francois remembers the orders of Thoiras and that he should now make for a fountain where he will make contact with another French agent on the road to Montans.
Episode 6 - Original BBC transmission 5th May 1969
Francois inscribes his name in the fountain as ordered by Thoiras. He then awaits in the bushes and along comes a young woman (Zerbinette) to collect some water. She is part of a wandering group of players. she takes him to the leader Geronimo. The troupe are on tour and offer Francois a welcome rest bite and confirm the road he needs to be on. He conceals his true mission from them and pretends to be a simple valet whose master had been attacked by bandits and taken hostage. Back at the Chateaux, Isabelle is worried about Francois. She confides in her lady in waiting (Mireille) about Francois being pursued by the Spanish army. Mireille's face changes when she realises he is being pursued (is she a spy or on the French side). She offers to go into the village to try and find out what has happened to Francois.
The playing troupe is visited by the Spaniards who allow them to continue but ask them to be on the look out for lone travellers. Francois runs back to the fountain to learn his orders from his unknown contact. The writing instructs him to go to the Chateaux de la Toby and await further instructions.
Don Alonso makes his intentions pretty clear to the Count. Don Alonso does not trust the Vatican diplomat as he believes the escape in the carriage to have been staged and that he Monsignor Julio Mazarin is probably sympathetic to the French. Again the Count does not understand why the interception of Francois is so important. Don Alonso informs him that he wishes all French ambassadors to be prevented from attending the peace conference. That way they non cooperation of France would prevent any truce being agreed and would be seen as the perfect excuse for the Spanish to take Casal. The Count finally understands and regrettably agrees to the demands.
In the woods Francois is being pursued by the Spanish. He almost gets caught but manages to swap clothes with the Spanish soldiers and makes his way safely back to the players who have now been moved on by Ricardo. They head for the Chateaux of the Sospels and there, Geronimo hands over the handkerchief that Isabelle gave Francois. They are immediately allowed into the grounds. Mireille takes the handkerchief to Isabelle and asks her to describe Francois. Mireille then goes looking for him amongst the players and asks Francois if he got her message she left in the fountain. Mireille is revealed to be a French agent working for the Cardinal Richelieu.
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