The Scarlet Pimpernel


Baroness Orczy

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The Scarlet Pimpernel: Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Lady Blakeney bids Suzanne farewell and tells her servants to ready the horses and carriage. She cannot afford “to delude herself with any vain and futile hopes.” The fact that Chauvelin sent her Armand’s letter means that he too has discovered Sir Percy’s identity as the Scarlet Pimpernel. She has “betrayed [her husband] to his enemy—unwittingly ‘tis true—but she had betrayed him,” and she must warn him immediately.
Marguerite finally admits that she is responsible for her actions even when they are unintentional—which is precisely why she claims she isn’t responsible for the Marquis. This suggests that Marguerite is beginning to learn her lesson and correct her impulsive French behavior.
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Lady Blakeney has her servant drive her to Sir Andrew’s house in Pall Mall, where she tells him about Chauvelin and that he is heading to Calais to intercept Sir Percy as he attempts to rescue the Comte de Tournay. “Will you tell me,” Sir Andrew asks, “whose hand helped to guide M. Chauvelin to the knowledge which you say he possesses?” Lady Blakeney refuses to lie. “Mine,” she says. “I own it.” Now, she must get to Calais and warn Sir Percy.
Lady Blakeney doesn’t try to deny her responsibility in Percy’s predicament, and she doesn’t offer explanations or excuses. She completely owns her betrayal, which is further proof that she is beginning to assume responsibility for her actions. Furthermore, Lady Blakeney is determined to warn Percy, or save him, which suggests that Lady Blakeney is heroic, a trait that Orczy claims is British. In the dualistic world of the book, Lady Blakeney is slowly losing her French traits and becoming more British.
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