The Scarlet Pimpernel

by Baroness Orczy

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How did Sir Andrew’s description of The Scarlet Pimpernel bring out his respect and admiration for his leader in chapter 4?

In chapter 4 of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sir Andrew Ffloukes, the Pimpernel's young second-in-command, expresses his deep admiration for his leader, a man he considers the best and bravest man he knows, in response to Suzanne de Tournay's question about the nature of this mysterious figure.

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As chapter 4 of The Scarlet Pimpernel begins, Sir Andrew Ffoulkes has just arrived at a British inn, having escorted the wife and two children of a French aristocrat, the Comte de Tournay, to England as the second-in-command to the mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel. The latter is a British baronet who leads a small group of young aristocrats who have dedicated themselves to rescuing innocent members of the French nobility from the guillotine.

When Suzanne, the vulnerable young daughter of the Comte de Tournay, who is deeply affected by the part that Ffoulkes has played in saving the lives of her family, expresses her absolute faith in his ability to deliver her father from the Revolutionary Tribunal, Sir Andrew humbly explains that the escape was planned and organized by their leader, who is known as the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Amused by this name, the young woman asks him to tell them more about him. Ffloulkes is almost overwhelmed by youthful enthusiasm and admiration for a man who is clearly a hero to him, as he tries to explain:

The Scarlet 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.

Suzanne's brother, the Vicomte de Tournay, says that he has heard of this man. He says that every time a royalist escapes to England the Public Prosecutor, Foucquier-Tinville, receives a piece of paper marked with that particular red flower. Sir Andrew acknowledges this fact, adding:

...he will have many more opportunities of studying the shape of that small scarlet flower.

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