P is for — Sir Percy Blakeney, from Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel
I’m sure it’s obvious by now that I love adventure stories. The Scarlet Pimpernel is another exciting adventure set in England and France during the French Revolution. Many, many aristocrats — men, women, and children — have been sent to the guillotine, regardless of whether or not they’ve personally oppressed the poor. All French aristocrats are guilty in the eyes of the lower classes and must pay the price. Sir Percy Blakeney, an English nobleman and master of disguise, daringly rescues innocent people bound for the guillotine and smuggles them to safety in England. His calling card — the seal of a small, star-shaped, red flower: a scarlet pimpernel. Acting the brainless fop in public, he engages in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with the leaders of the Revolution who are determined to catch him.
I love the 1982 movie version with Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymour, and Ian McKellen (pre-Gandalf). Even though it’s a made-for-TV-movie, it’s a great swashbuckler with sword fights and daring escapes, beautiful costumes, and first-rate performances by the lead actors. I haven’t yet seen the 1934 movie with Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon, but I’ve read good things about it and have it high up on my to-be-watched list.