The Scarlet Pimpernel

by

Baroness Orczy

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A member of British high society. Lady Portarles refers to the French revolutionists as “bloodthirsty ruffians” and is obviously opposed to the republic; however, she tells the Comtesse de Tournay she is “acting like a fool” when the Comtesse condemns Lady Blakeney for her role in the execution of the Marquis de St. Cyr and his family. Lady Portarles calls the Comtesse “hoity-toity” and believes that Lady Blakeney deserves respect simply because she is married to a rich man of noble birth, regardless of her actions in France, but Orczy seems to disagree. Lady Blakeney is directly responsible for the death of an entire noble family, which most of British society, like Lady Portarles, ignores and passively accepts. Through Lady Portarles’s rather shallow acceptance of Lady Blakeney’s questionable and violent history with the French Republic, Orczy implies that Lady Portarles should have been more critical of Lady Blakeney’s role in the Reign of Terror and less accepting of violence against the aristocracy. Not even Lady Blakeney’s marriage to a British nobleman excuses her behavior in France, Orczy implies, which reflects Orczy’s overall contempt for the revolution and her support of the monarchy.

Lady Portarles Quotes in The Scarlet Pimpernel

The The Scarlet Pimpernel quotes below are all either spoken by Lady Portarles or refer to Lady Portarles. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet edition of The Scarlet Pimpernel published in 1974.
Chapter 10 Quotes

“I am sure,” said the Comtesse, pursing up her thin lips, "that if this Chauvelin wishes to do us mischief, he will find a faithful ally in Lady Blakeney.”

“Bless the woman!” ejaculated Lady Portarles; “did ever anyone see such perversity? My Lord Grenville, you have the gift of the gab—will you please explain to Madame la Comtesse that she is acting like a fool? In your position here in England, Madame,” she added, turning a wrathful and resolute face towards the Comtesse, “you cannot afford to put on the hoity-toity airs you French aristocrats are so fond of. Lady Blakeney may or may not be in sympathy with those Ruffians in France; she may or may not have had anything to do with the arrest and condemnation of St. Cyr, or whatever the man’s name is, but she is the leader of fashion in this country; Sir Percy Blakeney has more money than any half-dozen other men put together, he is hand and glove with royalty, and your trying to snub Lady Blakeney will not harm her, but will make you look a fool. Isn’t that so, my lord?”

Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Scarlet Pimpernel PDF

Lady Portarles Character Timeline in The Scarlet Pimpernel

The timeline below shows where the character Lady Portarles appears in The Scarlet Pimpernel. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10: In the Opera Box
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
...staring at his guest. The Comtesse de Tournay and her children approach, as well as Lady Portarles , a member of British high society. They all stop and politely converse, and it... (full context)
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
...Comte out soon enough. “Ah!” he says, “if I were but a few years younger…” Lady Portarles cuts him off. “La, man!” she says, “you are still young enough to turn your... (full context)
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
...Chauvelin wishes to do us mischief, he will find a faithful ally in Lady Blakeney.” Lady Portarles gasps. “Will you please explain to Madame la Comtesse that she is acting like a... (full context)