January 24, 2002

The Scarlet Pimpernel Discovered

Category: Literature :: Permalink

They seek him here; they seek him there;
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven? Is he in hell?
That demmed elusive Pimpernel.

My mother has long been a fan of Baroness Orczy’s works. Over the years, she’s accumulated quite a collection, several of which I’ve found for her in used bookstores. In fact, she has almost the whole Scarlet Pimpernel series. But she was still missing two volumes: Sir Percy Leads the Band and Mam’zelle Guillotine. If you check AddAll, you’ll find the latter for $500 – $1200 or so, which is well beyond anything I can afford.

I’d long dreamed of being able to present a copy of those books to my mother. Last night, the dream came true. I was surfing the web and I thought of checking Google and lo and behold! there they were was in e-text: Mam’zelle Guillotine and Sir Percy Leads the Band. I was delighted, and so was my mother.

By the way, for those who don’t know, the Scarlet Pimpernel (Sir Percy Blakeney) is an Englishman who sets out to rescue people from the murderous Revolutionaries in France. He often leaves behind a copy of the poem quoted above or the sign of a small red flower, the scarlet pimpernel. The books are a lot of fun, especially when Sir Percy (who pretends to be an idle, brainless fop) encounters Citizen Chauvelin, Robespierre’s agent. But I suspect they also give a fairly accurate representation of the spirit of revolutionary France.

Posted by John Barach @ 9:46 pm | Discuss (0)

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