The Scarlet Pimpernel

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Is he in heaven? — Is he in hell? That damned elusive Pimpernel!

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a classic play and adventure novel by Baroness Emma Orczy, set during the French Revolution. It was first produced as a record-breaking play in an adaptation by Julia Neilson and Fred Terry.

The play first opened on 15 October 1903 at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal; it was not a success. But Terry had confidence in the play and, with a re-written last act, he took it to London where at the New Theatre on 5 January 1905 it began a run of 122 performances and numerous revivals. The novel became a runaway bestseller and Fred Terry had a hit, playing the Pimpernel for the rest of his life, on and off.

The story is seen as a precursor to the spy fiction and the superhero genres. It gave rise to numerous sequels, and has been adapted several times for television and film.

The Scarlet Pimpernel (novel)[edit]

The Scarlet Pimpernel works in the dark, and his identity is only known under the solemn oath of secrecy to his immediate followers.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel works in the dark, and his identity is only known under the solemn oath of secrecy to his immediate followers.
    • Ch. 4 : The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel
  • "The Scarlet Pimpernel?" said Suzanne, with a merry laugh. "Why! what a droll name! What is the Scarlet Pimpernel, Monsieur?"
    She looked at Sir Andrew with eager curiosity. The young man's face had become almost transfigured. His eyes shone with enthusiasm; hero-worship, love, admiration for his leader seemed literally to glow upon his face. "The Scarlet Pimpernel, Mademoiselle," he said at last "is the name of a humble English wayside flower; but it is also the name chosen to hide the identity of the best and bravest man in all the world, so that he may better succeed in accomplishing the noble task he has set himself to do."
    "Ah, yes," here interposed the young Vicomte, "I have heard speak of this Scarlet Pimpernel. A little flower — red? — yes! They say in Paris that every time a royalist escapes to England that devil, Foucquier-Tinville, the Public Prosecutor, receives a paper with that little flower designated in red upon it.
    • Ch. 4 : The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel
  • We seek him here, we seek him there,
    Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
    Is he in heaven? — Is he in hell?
    That damned, elusive Pimpernel
    • Ch. 12 : The Scrap of Paper
  • It is only when we are very happy, that we can bear to gaze merrily upon the vast and limitless expanse of water, rolling on and on with such persistent, irritating monotony, to the accompaniment of our thoughts, whether grave or gay. When they are gay, the waves echo their gaiety; but when they are sad, then every breaker, as it rolls, seems to bring additional sadness, and to speak to us of hopelessness and of the pettiness of all our joys.
    • Ch. 21 : Suspense

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1997 musical)[edit]

  • Sing! Swing!
    Savor the sting!
    As she severs you
    Madame Guillotine.
    Slice!
    Come paradise!
    You'll be smitten with
    Madame Guillotine!
    • Madame Guillotine [Track 2, Original Cast Recording]
  • We all are caught in the middle
    of one long treacherous riddle.
    Can I trust you?
    Should you trust me too?...

    We shamble on through this hell
    taking on more secrets to sell
    'til there comes a day
    when we sell our souls away.

    • The Riddle [Track 14, Original Cast Recording]
  • We seek him here,we seek him there,
    Those Frenchies seek him everywhere!
    Is he in heaven? Is he in hell?
    Where is that damn elusive Pimpernel!
    He gives the Frenchies nothing but frustration
    Popping in and out each week!
    Spoiling every lovely execution
    LA! What cheek!
    • They Seek Him Here [Track 16, Original Cast Recording]

External links[edit]

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