The Scarlet Pimpernel

by

Baroness Orczy

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The Scarlet Pimpernel: Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Lady Blakeney sits quietly for more than fifteen minutes, and then Brogard begins to set the table again. He arranges the table with care, and he “seems to take some trouble in making the place look a trifle less uninviting.” Obviously, Lady Blakeney thinks, it is “for Percy that this semblance of supper is being” prepared, and she smiles to herself. Evidently, Brogard has “a certain amount of respect for the tall Englishman.”
The fact that Brogard, an unpleasant Frenchman, too has respect for the Scarlet Pimpernel speaks to Percy’s innate superiority. Brogard shouldn’t respect the Scarlet Pimpernel—as a representation of the French Republic, Brogard should hate the Scarlet Pimpernel—but instead Brogard goes out of his way for him, which reflects Orczy’s support for the aristocracy and her disapproval of the revolution.
Themes
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
Lady Blakeney hears footsteps outside the inn, and hopes that it is Sir Percy, but then she hears another set of footsteps that tells her this new customer is not alone. Brogard goes to the door and opens it, and Lady Blakeney can see two men dressed in the official garb of the French priesthood. Brogard regards his new patrons “with even more withering contempt than had bestowed upon” Lady Blakeney and Sir Andrew. “Sacré soutane!” he mutters quietly. Although Lady Blakeney cannot see their faces, she knows that one of the men is Chauvelin, and the other is Desgas, his “secretary and confidential factotum.”
The French Republic was considered anti-religious by the British, and Chauvelin’s disguise as a priest can be considered sacrilegious and disrespectful. Brogard too appears to despise religion and curses the sight of a priest at his inn. He certainly has no reason to believe that Chauvelin is wearing a disguise and undoubtedly thinks a real priest has come to his inn, and he is clearly not happy about it. By making the French appear anti-religious, Orczy further depicts them as savage and uncivilized.
Themes
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
Disguise, Deception, and Dual Identity Theme Icon
“A plate of soup and a bottle of wine,” Chauvelin orders Brogard “imperiously,” “then clear out of here—understand? I want to be alone.” Once Chauvelin is sure the landlord has gone, he begins to speak to Desgas. “The English schooner?” he asks. Desgas says that have “lost sight” of it, but it was last headed west. Chauvelin is pleased with this news. “Ah! —good!” he says. Desgas informs him that “all the roads which converge to this place have been patrolled” and “the beaches and cliffs have been most rigorously searched and guarded.” They do not yet know where Père Blanchard’s hut is, but several fishing huts litter the coastline.
Orczy use of the word “imperiously” has noble connotations. As a republican, Chauvelin presumably believes in equality and brotherhood, but he speaks to Brogard like he is beneath him. Chauvelin orders Brogard around and clearly doesn’t consider him an equal. In this way, Orczy again implies that the leaders of the French Republic are hypocrites who are not fit to run their own country.
Themes
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
Lady Blakeney’s high spirit begins to dissipate. For Sir Percy, escape will surely be “impossible.” Chauvelin’s “plans are well laid,” and it seems he has not left the smallest “loophole” through which even “the bravest, the most cunning man” could escape. Lady Blakeney hears another set of footsteps approaching the “Chat Gris” and hears the “cheerful sound of a gay, fresh voice singing lustily, ‘God save the King!’”
Sir Percy’s frequent singing of “God save the King!” both identifies him as an aristocrat and is a direct insult to Chauvelin and the French Republic. As France has abolished feudalism, they no longer observe the social or political power of the aristocracy. Sir Percy is the personification of nobility, which is exactly what Chauvelin and the French Republic hate most.
Themes
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
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