The Scarlet Pimpernel


Baroness Orczy

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The Scarlet Pimpernel: Chapter 15 Summary & Analysis

Lady Blakeney watches as Chauvelin makes his way through the crowd to the dining-room. After several minutes, a cabinet member Lady Blakeney had sent to find Sir Percy appears. He had been unable to find him at first, but then he found him fast asleep in the dining-room. Sir Percy was difficult to wake, but the kind man managed, and he has gone to ready their horses for their return home. Lady Blakeney asks the man who else was in the room. Only Sir Percy, he says, and “the agent of the French Government, M. Chauvelin, equally fast asleep.”
Lady Blakeney has no idea that Sir Percy is the Scarlet Pimpernel. She likely doesn’t have any difficulty believing her “dull” husband had found a corner to sleep in and thinks nothing of it. Chauvelin’s presence is of course expected, but she too seems curious to know who the Scarlet Pimpernel is.
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Lord Grenville appears to escort Lady Blakeney to her carriage, and Chauvelin is waiting at the door. He takes Lady Blakeney’s arm and guides her to Sir Percy waiting at the reigns. “I must know what has happened,” she whispers to Chauvelin. He tells her that no one came into the dining-room—only Sir Percy was there sleeping in a corner. “Then we have failed, you and I?” she asks. “Perhaps,” responds Chauvelin. “But Armand?” Lady Blakeney questions. “Ah!” Chauvelin says. “Armand St. Just’s chances hang on a thread…Pray heaven, dear lady, that that thread may not snap.”
Again, Chauvelin certainly appears to know, or at least suspect, that Sir Percy is the Scarlet Pimpernel, but he also appears to enjoy torturing Marguerite, which is another reflection of his cruel and ruthless character. He could tell Marguerite that they have not failed, and Armand is indeed safe, but he leaves her wondering and agonizing for the rest of the night.
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