Scarlet Pimpernel


By Baroness Orczy
The "Scarlet Pimpernel" was written in 1905 by Baroness
Orczy. It was an adventurous tale of love and courage.
In 1792, during the French Revolution, a figure named the
Scarlet Pimpernel saved many aristocrats from the French.
Using daring plots and disguises he escaped from the French
and his archenemy, Chauvlin. The richest man in England,
Sir Percy Blakenley was married to the most beautiful woman
in France, Lady Marguerite St.Just. Sir Percy was an
important character in The Scarlet Pimpernel.
The story took place in both England and France. It started
in Paris, France at the scene of the guillotine. Some of
the story took place at The Fisherman's Rest in Dover,
England. Other parts of the story took place at Sir Percy's
house in Richmond, England, The Chat Gris in Calais,
France, Lord Greenville's Ball and The Covent Garden
Theatre in England.
The theme of the story was love and courage. It showed how
much Sir Percy cared about and loved Marguerite. Marguerite
once loved him, but now took him for granted and thought of
him as a fop. It also limned how brave Sir Percy, The
Scarlet Pimpernel, was in risking his life for the lives of
the aristocrats. 

The Scarlet Pimpernel and a small band of devoted followers
had dedicated their lives and fortunes to saving the
innocent aristocrats of the French Revolution and the
horror of the guillotine. They risked their lives on
numerous occasions and rescued many French noblesse
bringing them to the safety and security of England. 

Sir Percy Blakenley, one of the wealthiest men in England,
was married to Lady Marguerite St. Just who was thought to
be the most beautiful and smartest woman in Europe. She was
perceived as a traitor to the French cause for having
betrayed the Marquis de St. Cyr and his whole family to the
bloody guillotine. This she was duped into doing because of
her brother, Armond, who was almost killed by them for
having dared to love the daughter of an aristocrat.
Therefore Sir Percy showed no love toward Marguerite and
acted the part of a fool. She thought Sir Percy to be a
vain, pompous dandy and could not conceive how she ever
married him. In spite of this she still had feelings of
love for him. Sir Percy loved her deeply, though he also
hated and detested her for what she did. He was emotionally
torn between love and hate though he would have given or
done anything for her, save revealing his true identity as
The Scarlet Pimpernel. 

The French authorities sent the accredited agent, Monsieur
Chauvlin with the fox-like expression to England to capture
the League of The Scarlet Pimpernel and their leader. He
approached Marguerite for help because of her past
cooperation and friendship. She denied his request with
disgust. Through a turn of events he acquired damaging
information concerning her brother Armond, who was involved
with the League. She was forced to assist the clever
Chauvlin in his evil task with the promise that her brother
would be set free from prosecution. At Lord Greenville's
Ball she took a scrap of paper from Sir Andrew, a League
member of The Scarlet Pimpernel. This paper revealed the
meeting time of the League leader in the supper room. She
gave the paper to Chauvlin who hid himself in the room and
cleverly deduced that Sir Percy was the leader of the
League. He formed a plan to capture the Scarlet Pimpernel. 

After Marguerite realized what a terrible thing she did,
she told Sir Percy everything about Chauvlin and her
brother. Sir Percy assured her he would save Armond and the
Comte de Tournay and sailed for France the next day. Next,
Marguerite investigated his room and found maps of Paris, a
large painting of his mother, a large desk with many papers
scattered on it and a ring with the engraving of a scarlet
pimpernel on it. Knowing then that the Scarlet Pimpernel
was Sir Percy she enlisted the help of Sir Andrew Foulkes.
Quickly they sailed to Calais to try to warn Sir Percy that
Chauvlin knew his true identity and had laid a trap for
him. Although unable to warn him, Sir Percy was clever
enough to know of Chauvlin's plans and took appropriate
measures to deceive and elude him. They eventually escaped
his clutches and returned safely to England with their love
renewed. Chauvlin was disgraced and condemned for his
incompetence and suffered the consequences of the

Sir Percy Blakenley was a good looking and well bred
Englishman. He was a young man, taller than average,
broad-shouldered and massively built. To conceal his
identity as The Scarlet Pimpernel he assumed the manners of
a fop with a nonsensical conversation and a perpetual inane
laugh. In reality, he was the bravest,most honorable,
daring and intelligent man in all of Europe, who risked his
life for the sake of others. 

Lady Marguerite St. Just, a member of the artistic Parisian
circles, was lavishly gifted with talent and beauty. She
was thought by many to be the most beautiful and the most
clever woman in Europe. She had one fault, her unfathomable
love for her brother Armond, whom she raised from
childhood. She was a woman of deep emotions and unrelenting
pride. This caused her much grief and anguish and despite
the extent of her intelligence, she was unable to discern
the events that were happening around her.
Monsieur Chauvlin was a representative of the French
Republican Government, whose duties were to find out about
the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel and deliver the members
to their punishment. Chauvlin was nearly forty years of
age, with deep sunken yellow eyes, a fox-like expression
and a non prepossessing little figure. Above all, he was
intelligent, shrewd and clever. He would stop at nothing to
attain his end. He would use any sinister method, any cruel
device, any despicable act in his quest to capture the
League of the Scarlet Pimpernel.
The Scarlet Pimpernel was a tale of adventure, danger and
supreme excitement. It showed what love can do to people
under different circumstances. Marguerite's love for her
brother made her betray her compatriots, Sir Percy and her
own morals. Conversely, her love for The Scarlet Pimpernel
made her risk her life to save him. Sir Percy's love for
justice and honor compelled him to risk his life to save
the French aristocracy. His love for Marguerite made him
sail to France despite the fact he knew that Chauvlin and
his spies were waiting for him. The story shows that love
has no bounds, similarly that evil has none either. 


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