Here comes Part Five of my serialization of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Orczy's tale of France's Reign of Terror, and timelier than ever in its view of revolutionary bloodletting and the urge to erase what went before. Derek Frew is enjoying it so far:
As a new member of this Mark Steyn Club (joined Nov 10) I'm very much looking forward to listening to the Tales of Our Time. I've already heard the first two instalments of the Scarlet Pimpernel and they were worth the price of admission.
May I suggest for books to read in the future you consider Patrick O'Brian's The Road To Samarcand. I have just finished it and it is beautifully written, entertaining and informative.
Welcome to the Club, Derek, and The Road to Samarcand is indeed a fine yarn. Glad you're enjoying this current tale, and hope you'll prowl around our back catalogue - lots of fine stories there, set in London and St Petersburg, the Sudan and the Yukon. In tonight's episode of The Scarlet Pimpernel, we meet Sir Percy Blakeney, a stylishly accoutred baronet about town:
Tall, above the average, even for an Englishman, broad-shouldered and massively built, he would have been called unusually good-looking, but for a certain lazy expression in his deep-set blue eyes, and that perpetual inane laugh which seemed to disfigure his strong, clearly-cut mouth...
Physically, Sir Percy Blakeney was undeniably handsome—always excepting the lazy, bored look which was habitual to him. He was always irreproachably dressed, and wore the exaggerated 'Incroyable' fashions, which had just crept across from Paris to England, with the perfect good taste innate in an English gentleman. On this special afternoon in September, in spite of the long journey by coach, in spite of rain and mud, his coat set irreproachably across his fine shoulders, his hands looked almost femininely white, as they emerged through billowy frills of finest Mechlin lace: the extravagantly short-waisted satin coat, wide-lapelled waistcoat, and tight-fitting striped breeches, set off his massive figure to perfection, and in repose one might have admired so fine a specimen of English manhood, until the foppish ways, the affected movements, the perpetual inane laugh, brought one's admiration of Sir Percy Blakeney to an abrupt close.
It's a good thing this effete dandy is on the English side of la Manche rather than among the sans-culottes on the streets of Paris.
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear Part Five of our adventure simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes of The Scarlet Pimpernel can be found here, and previous Tales for Our Time here.
If you'd like to join Derek in The Mark Steyn Club, we'd love to have you: please see here. And, if you've a chum who enjoys classic fiction, we've introduced a special Mark Steyn Gift Membership: you'll find more details here. Oh, and we also do video poetry.
~As you might have heard in my conversation with Dennis Miller, I'll be shipboard next year, hosting the second Mark Steyn cruise following our sold-out inaugural voyage. More details soon.
See you on the radio in Toronto with John Oakley on Wednesday afternoon, and tomorrow evening for Part Six of The Scarlet Pimpernel.