We do love England. Stuffy sometimes and royalist to the core; the fog-laden wind blowing the opposite direction bucking trends in politics or culture product of the good-humoured orneriness of the Britt. Safe, quiet vales and hollows away from the ravages of Europe.
Never was this more true than during the French Revolution; guillotines and angry mobs barricading Paris, hunting house-by-house for their hated nobles to lop their heads off to the bizarre gleeful elated cries of the madding crowds. Across the channel and over the impenetrable safety of the white cliffs of Dover, the English could only look on in dismay. There they go again, the “Frenchies”. England as safe haven; England as a land of Anglo-Saxon order from the basement of time, proud that they (mostly) have weathered the madness of the mainland.
That is what “Scarlet Pimpernel” is about – an English noble who makes it his mission to help and save the hated nobility of France from their executioners. A cat and mouse game between the Pimpernel and Chauvelin, the French Republican Government inquisitor keen on assuring nobody escapes the sharp end of the knife.
This is a fun read, well written and fully English, in the best of all ways.