The Scarlet Pimpernel Summary & Study Guide

Baroness Emma Orczy
This Study Guide consists of approximately 30 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Scarlet Pimpernel.
This section contains 881 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Scarlet Pimpernel Summary & Study Guide Description

The Scarlet Pimpernel Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emma Orczy.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is a classic novel of romance and intrigue. The Scarlet Pimpernel is an unknown English gentleman who risks his life to help targeted French aristocrats escape the persecution of the revolutionary government in 1792 France. Lady Blakeney is a French woman who is married to an English gentleman. Lady Blakeney is approached by a French agent who needs her help in learning the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel. At first Lady Blakeney refuses, but when she learns that her brother has been discovered collaborating with the Scarlet Pimpernel, Lady Blakeney agrees to help in exchange for her brother's safe return to England. However, when Lady Blakeney learns the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel, she finds herself forced to choose between her brother and the man she loves. The Scarlet Pimpernel is an exciting, romantic novel that will keep readers on the edge of their seats to the final sentence.

The Scarlet Pimpernel has made a game out of embarrassing the French government, constantly coming into their country and rescuing aristocrats who are targeted as victims of the guillotine. The French government knows the Scarlet Pimpernel is an English gentleman, they just do not know his true identity. However, they intend to find out. The French government sends an agent into England to identify the Scarlet Pimpernel so he can be followed and caught red-handed aiding and abetting fugitives from French justice. This agent, Chauvelin, approaches Lady Blakeney, a French woman who is married to an English gentleman with powerful friend, to help him learn the identity of this man. Lady Blakeney refuses.

Later that same night, Chauvelin and one of his assistants overtake two men who work with the Scarlet Pimpernel and take from them some papers related to their secret missions on French soil. One of these is a letter from Lady Blakeney's brother, Armand St. Just, implying his assistance in the Scarlet Pimpernel's latest escapade. The other is a note stating where the Scarlet Pimpernel will be in a few days. Chauvelin again approaches Lady Blakeney, telling her that if she will help him learn the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel, he will allow her brother to return safely to England. Lady Blakeney agrees.

That night, Lady Blakeney attends a ball with her husband, Lord Percy Blakeney. Lady Blakeney witnesses a covert note exchange between a friend of her husband's and one of the men caught with her brother's letter. Lady Blakeney feigns illness and manages to sneak a look at the note. Later, Lady Blakeney tells Chauvelin that the Scarlet Pimpernel will be in the supper room at exactly one. Chauvelin goes into the supper room at the appointed time, but the only person he sees is Lord Blakeney asleep on a couch. Lady Blakeney is frightened that Chauvelin will not free her brother as a result of this apparent failure to identify the Scarlet Pimpernel. In desperation, Lady Blakeney turns to her husband, from whom she had been estranged since almost the moment of their wedding, and asks for his help. Lord Blakeney soon leaves for the north, promising to help Armand St. Just.

After her husband has left, Lady Blakeney wanders into her husband's study where she finds evidence of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Lady Blakeney realizes with growing horror that the Scarlet Pimpernel and her husband are one in the same. Lady Blakeney rushes to a friend of Lord Blakeney's whom she knows to be in league with the Scarlet Pimpernel to ask him to help her warn Lord Blakeney. The two rush to France, but appear too late to warn Lord Blakeney. Chauvelin arrives an hour after them. Lady Blakeney overhears Chauvelin describe how he has guards on every road in and out of town watching for Lord Blakeney. Then, when Chauvelin learns that Lord Blakeney has rented a horse and cart to travel to a cabin outside of town, he rents a horse and cart of his own to follow. Lady Blakeney follows them, intent on dying with her husband if she cannot save him.

When Chauvelin and his soldiers arrive at the cabin, Chauvelin gives strict orders that no one is to move as they surround the cabin until Lord Blakeney arrives, even though they know there are four fugitives in the cabin. Lady Blakeney follows the soldiers up to the cabin and tries to warn its occupants, but is caught by Chauvelin. Lady Blakeney waits in terror with the soldiers, torn between warning her brother and risking his death and staying silent and allowing her husband to walk into a trap. When Lady Blakeney hears her husband approaching the cabin, she can no longer remain silent and she screams to her brother to fight.

Chauvelin orders his soldiers to move on the cabin, but they find it empty. The fugitives have escaped. However, Chauvelin finds a note signed by the Scarlet Pimpernel that tells where he is going. Chauvelin leaves Lady Blakeney and the Jewish man who drove him to the cabin alone while he and his men rush after the Scarlet Pimpernel. However, the Scarlet Pimpernel has outsmarted the French once again. The Scarlet Pimpernel is the Jewish man in disguise. Lord Blakeney and Lady Blakeney escape to their schooner and return happily home.

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This section contains 881 words
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