The Scarlet Pimpernel


Baroness Orczy

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The Marquis de St. Cyr Character Analysis

A member of the French aristocracy. Before the French Revolution, the Marquis had Armand St. Just beaten “like a dog within an inch of his life” because Armand, a “plebian,” had “dared to love” the aristocrat’s daughter. Armand’s sister, Marguerite, later found out the Marquis was in “treasonous correspondence with Austria” during the revolution and publicly denounced him in revenge, which ultimately led to the Marquis’s execution and that of his entire family. Marguerite claims she only intended to humiliate and inconvenience the Marquis, not get him killed, and his death was due to “fate” and the French Republic. Thus, Marguerite reasons that she is “morally innocent” in his death, but Orczy implies otherwise. Sir Percy, a British aristocrat, resents his wife for her role in the Marquis’s death. Initially, Sir Percy knows nothing of the Marquis’s history with Armand, and Marguerite does not tell him. She refuses to offer an explanation and expects Sir Percy’s automatic acceptance as a “test” of his love for her. Sir Percy’s love does not “bear the test,” and Marguerite must atone for her sin against the St. Cyr family before Sir Percy is able to love her again. Through Sir Percy’s resentment, Orczy implies that Marguerite is, at least partially, to blame for the death of the Marquis and his family. Whether or not Marguerite intended to have the Marquis executed is of little consequence, and it matters even less if the Marquis deserved his punishment. Orczy’s overall point seems to be that it is never acceptable to execute an aristocrat, regardless of the circumstances.

The Marquis de St. Cyr Quotes in The Scarlet Pimpernel

The The Scarlet Pimpernel quotes below are all either spoken by The Marquis de St. Cyr or refer to The Marquis de St. Cyr. 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 5 Quotes

She went up effusively to them both, with not a single touch of embarrassment in her manner or in her smile. Lord Tony and Sir Andrew watched the little scene with eager apprehension. English though they were, they had often been in France, and had mixed sufficiently with the French to realise the unbending hauteur, the bitter hatred with which the old noblesse of France viewed all those who had helped to contribute to their downfall. Armand St. Just, the brother of beautiful Lady Blakeney—though known to hold moderate and conciliatory views—was an ardent republican; his feud with the ancient family of St. Cyr—the rights and wrongs of which no outsider ever knew—had culminated in the downfall, the almost total extinction, of the latter.

Page Number: 38-9
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

She hated the Marquis. Years ago, Armand, her dear brother, had loved Angele de St. Cyr, but St. Just was a plebeian, and the Marquis full of the pride and arrogant prejudices of his caste. One day Armand, the respectful, timid lover, ventured on sending a small poem—enthusiastic, ardent, passionate —to the idol of his dreams. The next night he was waylaid just outside Paris by the valets of the Marquis de St. Cyr, and ignominiously thrashed—thrashed like a dog within an inch of his life—because he had dared to raise his eyes to the daughter of the aristocrat. The incident was one which, in those days, some two years before the great Revolution, was of almost daily occurrence in France; incidents of that type, in fact, led to the bloody reprisals, which a few years later sent most of those haughty heads to the guillotine.

Related Symbols: The Guillotine
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
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?”

Chapter 16 Quotes

"Listen to the tale, Sir Percy,” she said, and her voice now was low, sweet, infinitely tender. "Armand was all in all to me! We had no parents, and brought one another up. He was my little father, and I, his tiny mother; we loved one another so. Then one day—do you mind me, Sir Percy? The Marquis de St. Cyr had my brother Armand thrashed— thrashed by his lacqueys—that brother whom I loved better than all the world! And his offence? That he, a plebeian, had dared to love the daughter of the aristocrat; for that he was waylaid and thrashed ... thrashed like a dog within an inch of his life! Oh, how I suffered! His humiliation had eaten into my very soul! When the opportunity occurred, and I was able to take my revenge, I took it. But I only thought to bring that proud marquis to trouble and humiliation. He plotted with Austria against his own country. Chance gave me knowledge of this; I spoke of it, but I did not know—how could I guess?—they trapped and duped me. When I realised what I had done, it was too late.”

Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Marquis de St. Cyr Character Timeline in The Scarlet Pimpernel

The timeline below shows where the character The Marquis de St. Cyr appears in The Scarlet Pimpernel. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
...than the men,” and the Comtesse agrees. One woman, Marguerite St. Just, had “denounced the Marquis de St. Cyr and all his family to the awful tribunal of the Terror,” she... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Secret Orchard
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
...Marguerite if Sir Percy knows about “the part [she] played” in the capture of the Marquis de St. Cyr. “That I denounced the Marquis de St. Cyr, you mean, to the... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Accredited Agent
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
Loyalty Theme Icon
...contributed to the death of the St. Cyr family. She admits that “she hated the Marquis,” but she never intended for them to go to the guillotine. Years ago, Armand had... (full context)
Chapter 16: Richmond
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
...death of the Scarlet Pimpernel will “be at her door”—just like the death of the Marquis de St. Cyr. In the latter case, however, she is “morally innocent.” She never intended... (full context)
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
...she cries. Percy stares at her. “Twenty-four hours after our marriage, Madame,” he says, “the Marquis de St. Cyr and all his family perished on the guillotine, and the popular rumor... (full context)
Pride and Humility Theme Icon
...intend to deceive him. She had “strained every nerve” and “every influence” to save the Marquis, but his fate was sealed. As Sir Percy stares coldly at his wife, Lady Blakeney... (full context)
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
Pride and Humility Theme Icon the tale, Sir Percy,” Lady Blakeney begs, as she tells him all about the Marquis de St. Cyr and his despicable treatment of Armand, a mere “plebian,” for “daring to... (full context)
Chapter 19: The Scarlet Pimpernel
Social Class and the French Revolution Theme Icon
Disguise, Deception, and Dual Identity Theme Icon
Pride and Humility Theme Icon
...her of his identity after they married, but heard first about her involvement with the Marquis’s death. Of course, Sir Percy is the Scarlet Pimpernel! “The mask of the inane fop... (full context)