The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy,
This review is from: The Scarlet Pimpernel (Paperback)
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Orczy’s most famous character, is Percy, the gallant daredevil, Sir Percy Blakeney Bart. He is the hero of her novels and short stories set in the French Revolution, so aptly named The Reign of Terror.
Percy revealed himself to Orczy while she was waiting for a train in an underground station. She saw him dressed in exquisite clothes that marked him as a late 18th century gentleman, noted the monocle he held up in his slender hand and heard both his lazy drawl and quaint laugh. Inspired by this meeting she wrote The Scarlet Pimpernel in five weeks.
Percy, a man of wealth and influence well-acquainted with the Prince Regent, heir to the throne, married Marguerite St Just, a French actress. Until Percy discovered Marguerite was responsible for an aristocratic French family’s death he was an adoring husband. Still loving Marguerite in spite of her crime, he feigned indifference, treated her coldly, shunned her company and acted the part of a fool so successfully that he bored her. His tragedy was that he still loved her and:-
“He was but a man madly, blindly, passionately in love, and as soon as her (Marguerite’s) light footstep had died away within the house, he knelt down upon the terrace steps, and in the very madness of his love he kissed one by one the places where her small foot had trodden, and the stone balustrade there, where her tiny hand had rested last.”
Against the background of the horror of the French Revolution, Baroness Orczy wove a story of romance and heroism to defeat evil, in which Percy rescued innocents from Madame Guillotine.
Anyone who has only seen the film adaptations of this famous novel will be surprised by the Baroness Orczy’s satisfying end of The Scarlet Pimpernel, with which the films have nothing in common.