The Scarlet Pimpernel


Baroness Orczy

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The Scarlet Pimpernel: Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Lady Blakeney only managed to make out a few words before Sir Andrew snatched back the paper, but she is sure that she read “start myself to-morrow” and “if you wish to speak to me again I shall be in the supper room at one o’clock precisely.” It is nearly eleven now, which means that both Marguerite and Armand’s “fate will be sealed” in two hours. To Lady Blakeney, “it seems a horrible thing to do,” but she must think of her brother.
Betraying the Scarlet Pimpernel “seems like a horrible thing to do” because it is. Orczy suggests that Marguerite is making a mistake, but Marguerite continues to rationalize her decision. In this way, Orczy implies that Marguerite would be better served sticking to her moral convictions, and that condemning one man to save another is morally wrong.
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During Lady Blakeney’s dance with Sir Andrew, he says nothing of the incident in the boudoir and is a perfect gentleman. After their dance, he leads her into the next room where Lady Blakeney asks if she is “forgiven.” Sir Andrew is confused. “Forgiven?” he asks. “Yes,” Lady Blakeney replies. “I do not look upon the exchange of billets-doux as a crime,” she says, “and I vow I’ll not tell my little Suzanne.”
“Billets-doux” is a French term for love letters, as Lady Blakeney tries to cover up for her actions by implying that Sir Andrew was merely trading love notes with Suzanne, not working on behalf of the Scarlet Pimpernel. While this is certainly plausible, it isn’t clear if Sir Andrew believes her or not—and their polite society keeps him from questioning her further.
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