The Scarlet Pimpernel

by

Baroness Orczy

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The Scarlet Pimpernel: Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Alone, Lady Blakeney thinks about her predicament. She will tell Chauvelin what she has discovered, save Armand, and “let that cunning Scarlet Pimpernel extricate himself after that.” Soon, Chauvelin slips quietly into the room. “You have news for me?” he asks. Lady Blakeney quickly recaps her meeting with Sir Andrew, the mysterious paper he burned, and the few words she was able to decipher. “Then I have plenty of time,” Chauvelin says looking at the clock.
Despite her struggle, Lady Blakeney gives up the Scarlet Pimpernel and hopes that his cleverness is enough to save him. Here, Lady Blakeney decides that Armand’s life is worth more than the Scarlet Pimpernel’s.
Themes
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
“I think,” says Chauvelin, “that I may safely expect to find the person I seek in the dining-room, fair lady.” Lady Blakeney agrees, but there are sure to be many people in the dining-room—it is, after all, a ball. Of course, says Chauvelin, but he has also learned (through Sir Andrew’s letters) that the Scarlet Pimpernel will be leaving for France tomorrow and is headed to an inn called “Le Chat Gris.” He will continue to the coast, to an unknown place called Père Blanchard’s hut. Chauvelin will go to the dining-room at “precisely one o’clock,” note who is there, and then follow him to Calais, trapping the Scarlet Pimpernel on French soil, where he will be vulnerable to Madame la Guillotine.
This lays out Chauvelin’s entire plan on how he will take down the Scarlet Pimpernel and outlines the novel’s upcoming events.  Apprehending the Scarlet Pimpernel in England where he is guilty of nothing makes little sense, but in France, the Scarlet Pimpernel will be executed before England even knows he is gone. Chauvelin must arrest the Scarlet Pimpernel in France, and whoever is in both the dining-room and in Calais will be his man.
Themes
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
Disguise, Deception, and Dual Identity Theme Icon
Chauvelin promises to send Armand’s “imprudent letter” to Lady Blakeney tomorrow by carrier, and heads directly to the dining-room. He arrives a few moments before one o’clock, and the empty room is “a ghostlike replica” of the ball upstairs. He walks about the deserted room, trying to appear casual, and notices Sir Percy sleeping soundly on a sofa in a dark corner. He watches Sir Percy sleep— “his mouth open, his eyes shut, the sweet sounds of peaceful slumbers proceeding from his nostrils”—and decides that he won’t interfere with his plan. Chauvelin finds a nearby couch obscured by the dark and sits down. He stretches out, closes his eyes, “and…waits.”
Whether or not Chauvelin yet realizes that Sir Percy is the Scarlet Pimpernel is unclear, but he appears to know by the time he escorts Marguerite to her carriage about a half-hour later. For now, Sir Percy’s disguise appears to be working, and Chauvelin thinks that it is a good way to disguise his own reasons for being in the deserted dining-room.
Themes
Disguise, Deception, and Dual Identity Theme Icon