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The Scarlet Pimpernel (English Edition)
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The Scarlet Pimpernel (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Baroness Emma Orczy
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit


Chapter I

Paris: September 1792

A surging, seething, murmuring crowd, of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures, animated by vile passions and by the lust of vengeance and of hate. The hour, some little time before sunset, and the place, the West Barricade, at the very spot where, a decade later, a proud tyrant raised an undying monument to the nation’s glory and his own vanity.

During the greater part of the day the guillotine had been kept busy at its ghastly work: all that France had boasted of in the past centuries, of ancient names, and blue blood, had paid toll to her desire for liberty and for fraternity. The carnage had only ceased at this late hour of the day because there were other more interesting sights for the people to witness, a little while before the final closing of the barricades for the night.

And so the crowd rushed away from the Place de la Grève and made for the various barricades in order to watch this interesting and amusing sight.

It was to be seen every day, for those aristos were such fools! They were traitors to the people of course, all of them, men, women, and children, who happened to be descendants of the great men who since the Crusades had made the glory of France: her old noblesse. Their ancestors had oppressed the people, had crushed them under the scarlet heels of their dainty buckled shoes, and now the people had become the rulers of France and crushed their former masters—not beneath their heel, for they went shoeless mostly in these days—but beneath a more effectual weight, the knife of the guillotine.

And daily, hourly, the hideous instrument of torture claimed its many victims—old men, young women, tiny children, even until the day when it would finally demand the head of a King and of a beautiful young Queen.

But this was as it should be: were not the people now the rulers of France? Every aristocrat was a traitor, as his ancestors had been before him: for two hundred years now the people had sweated, and toiled, and starved, to keep a lustful court in lavish extravagance; now the descendants of those who had helped to make those courts brilliant had to hide for their lives—to fly, if they wished to avoid the tardy vengeance of the people.

And they did try to hide, and tried to fly: that was just the fun of the whole thing. Every afternoon before the gates closed and the market carts went out in procession by the various barricades, some fool of an aristo endeavoured to evade the clutches of the Committee of Public Safety. In various disguises, under various pretexts, they tried to slip through the barriers which were so well guarded by citizen soldiers of the Republic. Men in women’s clothes, women in male attire, children disguised in beggars’ rags: there were some of all sorts: ci-devant counts, marquises, even dukes, who wanted to fly from France, reach England or some other equally accursed country, and there try to rouse foreign feeling against the glorious Revolution, or to raise an army in order to liberate the wretched prisoners in the Temple, who had once called themselves sovereigns of France.

But they were nearly always caught at the barricades. Sergeant Bibot especially at the West Gate had a wonderful nose for scenting an aristo in the most perfect disguise. Then, of course, the fun began. Bibot would look at his prey as a cat looks upon the mouse, play with him, sometimes for quite a quarter of an hour, pretend to be hoodwinked by the disguise, by the wigs and other bits of theatrical make-up which hid the identity of a ci-devant noble marquise or count.

Oh! Bibot had a keen sense of humour, and it was well worth hanging round that West Barricade, in order to see him catch an aristo in the very act of trying to flee from the vengeance of the people.

Sometimes Bibot would let his prey actually out by the gates, allowing him to think for the space of two minutes at least that he really had escaped out of Paris, and might even manage to reach the coast of England in safety: but Bibot would let the unfortunate wretch walk about ten mètres towards the open country, then he would send two men after him and bring him back, stripped of his disguise.

Oh! that was extremely funny, for as often as not the fugitive would prove to be a woman, some proud marchioness, who looked terribly comical when she found herself in Bibot’s clutches after all, and knew that a summary trial would await her the next day and after that, the fond embrace of Madame la Guillotine.

No wonder that on this fine afternoon in September the crowd round Bibot’s gate was eager and excited. The lust of blood grows with its satisfaction, there is no satiety: the crowd had seen a hundred noble heads fall beneath the guillotine to-day, it wanted to make sure that it would see another hundred fall on the morrow.

Bibot was sitting on an overturned and empty cask close by the gate of the barricade; a small detachment of citoyen soldiers was under his command. The work had been very hot lately. Those cursed aristos were becoming terrified and tried their hardest to slip out of Paris: men, women and children, whose ancestors, even in remote ages, had served those traitorous Bourbons, were all traitors themselves and right food for the guillotine. Every day Bibot had had the satisfaction of unmasking some fugitive royalists and sending them back to be tried by the Committee of Public Safety, presided over by that good patriot, Citoyen Foucquier-Tinville.

Robespierre and Danton both had commended Bibot for his zeal, and Bibot was proud of the fact that he on his own initiative had sent at least fifty aristos to the guillotine.

But to-day all the sergeants in command at the various barricades had had special orders. Recently a very great number of aristos had succeeded in escaping out of France and in reaching England safely. There were curious rumours about these escapes; they had become very frequent and singularly daring; the people’s minds were becoming strangely excited about it all. Sergeant Grospierre had been sent to the guillotine for allowing a whole family of aristos to slip out of the North Gate under his very nose.

It was asserted that these escapes were organised by a band of Englishmen, whose daring seemed to be unparalleled, and who, from sheer desire to meddle in what did not concern them, spent their spare time in snatching away lawful victims destined for Madame la Guillotine. These rumours soon grew in extravagance; there was no doubt that this band of meddlesome Englishmen did exist; moreover, they seemed to be under the leadership of a man whose pluck and audacity were almost fabulous. Strange stories were afloat of how he and those aristos whom he rescued became suddenly invisible as they reached the barricades and escaped out of the gates by sheer supernatural agency.

No one had seen these mysterious Englishmen; as for their leader, he was never spoken of, save with a superstitious shudder. Citoyen Foucquier-Tinville would in the course of the day receive a scrap of paper from some mysterious source; sometimes he would find it in the pocket of his coat, at others it would be handed to him by someone in the crowd, whilst he was on his way to the sitting of the Committee of Public Safety. The paper always contained a brief notice that the band of meddlesome Englishmen were at work, and it was always signed with a device drawn in red—a little star-shaped flower, which we in England call the Scarlet Pimpernel. Within a few hours of the receipt of this impudent notice, the citoyens of the Committee of Public Safety would hear that so many royalists and aristocrats had succeeded in reaching the coast, and were on their way to England and safety.

The guards at the gates had been doubled, the sergeants in command had been threatened with death, whilst liberal rewards were offered for the capture of these daring and impudent Englishmen. There was a sum of five thousand francs promised to the man who laid hands on the mysterious and elusive Scarlet Pimpernel.

Everyone felt that Bibot would be that man, and Bibot allowed that belief to take firm root in everybody’s mind; and so, day after day, people came to watch him at the West Gate, so as to be present when he laid hands on any fugitive aristo who perhaps might be accompanied by that mysterious Englishman.

“Bah!” he said to his trusted corporal, “Citoyen Grospierre was a fool! Had it been me now, at that North Gate last week . . .”

Citoyen Bibot spat on the ground to express his contempt for his comrade’s stupidity.

“How did it happen, citoyen?” asked the corporal.

“Grospierre was at the gate, keeping good watch,” began Bibot, pompously, as the crowd closed in round him, listening eagerly to his narrative. “We’ve all heard of this meddlesome Englishman, this accursed Scarlet Pimpernel. He won’t get through my gate, morbleu! unless he be the devil himself. But Grospierre was a fool. The market carts were going through the gates; there was one laden with casks, and driven by an old man, with a boy beside him. Grospierre was a bit drunk, but he thought himself very clever; he looked into the casks—most of them, at least—and saw they were empty, and let the cart go through.”

A murmur of wrath and contempt went round the group of ill-clad wretches, who crowded round Citoyen Bibot.

“Half an hour later,” continued the sergeant, “up comes a captain of the guard with a squad of some dozen soldiers with him. ‘Has a cart gone through?’ he asks of Grospierre, breathlessly. ‘Yes,’ says Grospierre, ‘not half an hour ago.’ ‘And you have let them escape,’ shouts the captain furiously. ‘You’ll go to the guillotine for this, citoyen sergeant! that cart held concealed the ci-devant Duc de Chali...

From AudioFile

With the stage debut of The Scarlet Pimpernel (1903), the Baroness Orczy invented the "masked avenger" genre of fiction--the swashbuckling hero of dual identity. Her progeny include Zorro, Superman, The Lone Ranger and many others. The Baroness's Pimpernel is a British fop who, in a play and series of popular novels, daringly spirited condemned innocents out of France during the Reign of Terror. Hugh Laurie, best known Stateside as the foppish Bertie Wooster in TV's "Wooster and Jeeves," plunges into these two adventures with childlike relish. Yes, he is corny; yes, he overdoes it; but irresistibly. That's what this fare is made for. As he reads, one pictures, not the dashing Leslie Howard, cinema's Pimpernel, but a little boy performing for the family behind his homemade puppet theater. Sorry, Baroness, I know this isn't what you had in mind, but it's far better. Y.R. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 513 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 322 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0375406581
  • Utilisation simultanée de l'appareil : Illimité
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°93.225 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
Par bernie
I first saw several movie versions of "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and always wanted to see the Play. With the purchase of a Kindle and text-to-speech I could not afford to pass up the book.

I was amazed to see that the book started out like the movies with the telling of the blood lust of the French revolution and how one man for the sport of it saved many from the guillotine thwarting the authorities and tricking the sergeant at the city gate into letting him through.

Then I was afraid the story was going to bog down as we took a long time to drudge through a scene in an inn. I did not realize that this was to introduce the major players in the soon to be mystery.

The essence of the story was best said in the book:
"Only between these two hearts there lay a strong, impassable barrier, built up on pride on both sides, which neither of them cared to be the first to demolish."

The story really picks up after Marguerite realizes what she has done by giving away the pimpernels identity and disides to make amends.

Usually I cannot stand flowery writing or long descriptions of feelings. But for some reason this book was so well written that what would seem like extraneous information actually enhanced the tale. I also noticed it is told mostly from Lady Blakeney's point of view.

Once again this is a case of the book being better than the movie. I was surprise to find the Pimpernel poem came from the book:

They seek him here they seek him there
Them Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in Heaven?
Is he in Hell?
That damned elusive pimpernel.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 L'ancêtre de Zorro 21 janvier 2013
Par Aspasie
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Oui, car Zorro n'est qu'un avatar du Scarlet Pimpernel ! Et le Scarlet Pimpernel ne doit rien à Zorro, c'est un livre, avec une intrigue quasi policière, au temps où la Terreur chassait de France royalistes et autres privilégiés, ce qui donne une autre vision de la Révolution française qu'on aborde toujours sous l'angle du sans-culotte. Non, tous les nobles n'étaient pas méchants et bons pour la guillotine.....merci à nos ennemis héréditaires messieurs les Anglais de les avoir aidés.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.4 étoiles sur 5  502 commentaires
51 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Adventure, Disguise, Romance, Drama... It's all Here 19 mars 2003
Par Alicia Van Hecke - Publié sur
This story introduces us to a circle of friends in England during the French Revolution who, for the sport of it, travel to France in disguise to rescue French aristocrats from the certain death of the guillotine, right under the noses of their captors. The identity of their leader, the Scarlet Pimpernel, is a guarded secret but one that interests more and more people as more and more French aristocrats are discovered in safety in England. Constant danger, wit, romance, and adventure befall the reader at every turn.
I've noticed in other reviews that people complain about the book starting out slow or gruesome or whatever. I don't remember noticing this myself, but I think any book worth reading can take a little patience in parts. Just let yourself absorb the story and give the author a chance. Don't spoil the book by watching the movies first. It's more fun to see the mystery unfold in all its subtleties and intensity in the book first.
94 internautes sur 102 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 God Save the King! 11 août 2007
Par Joseph Boone - Publié sur
The Scarlet Pimpernel is a classic novel, though it is hard to categorize. It is part romance, part adventure, part spy thriller, and part superhero fiction. All of these elements went into the pot and the resulting stew is extremely entertaining.

The book follows the adventures of Sir Percy Blakeney as he seeks to help French aristocrats escape the guillotine during the French Revolution. Since official English policy forbids this, Blakeney adopts a masked identity as the Scarlet Pimpernel to remain anonymous. The French, of course, detest this interference in their affairs and set out to trap and kill the Pimpernel at all costs. As part of his effort to deflect suspicion from himself, he plays the fool in every day life and he does it well. His own wife considers him a useless fop... and that's where the story really gets interesting.

I won't give away more of the plot, but she ends up following him into danger in an attempt to save him. This allows the most suspenseful section of the book to be told from Mrs. Blakeney's perspective. Her terror for her husband's fate is pure and adds to the tension considerably. If we saw it through the Pimpernel's eyes, it would doubtless be far more composed and nowhere near as suspenseful.

In closing, The Scarlet Pimpernel is well worth buying. It's laugh out loud funny, suspenseful, romantic, and generally quite a page-turner.
34 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Percy does it again 30 novembre 1999
Par A. J. Denton - Publié sur
Format:Belle reliure
A spunky young Parisian named Josette must find a way to help her best friend, a young mother whose husband has been murdered by the CGS, get out of France. She barters for their passage to England with some incriminating letters that the CGS is desperate to get ahold of. But when the plan falls apart and Josette herself is facing the guillotine, The Scarlet Pimpernel must spirit her away from the jaws of death. This is a well-crafted tale of intrigue, murder and romance. Percy is in top form battling Chauvelin and his goons. Chauvelin is particularly bloodthirsty in this one!
39 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Orczy has woven a stirring French Revolution-era tale. 27 septembre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format:Belle reliure
I picked up this book when I was fourteen and have read it numerous times since. Orczy's dramatic writing fully captures the drama and the tragedy of the French Revolution. This novel has something for everyone: political intrigue, adventure and romance. I particularly appreciate the development of her three main characters. They live lives that require superhuman intellect and courage. All of them find themselves searching for something: whether it be love, power or heroic fulfillment. Orczy has a true talent for writing. She envelopes her plot with dramatic dressing. One can see this by reading the novel's first sentence: "The seething, surging, mumuring crowd of people, human only in name..." If you enjoy this book, I recommend you read her other titles in the series. Most are not in print, but usually libraries have some or most of the hard to get titles. My other favorite novel in the series is The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel. It carries the same premise as the first book but incorporates more edge-of-your seat excitement.
31 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Edition 26 juin 2005
Par Musical Lover - Publié sur
This is one of my favorite books. I love the story and was excited to finally own my own copy. This edition is really great because it is lightly annotated. There are one or two footnotes on just about every page, defining french terms or just uncommon words. This makes reading that much more enjoyable because one understands more.

If you enjoy the book, there is a musical with an amazing soundtrack by the same name.
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