Welcome to Part Six of the latest audio entertainment in our series Tales for Our Time: The Scarlet Pimpernel. Baroness Orczy's thrilling adventure from France's Reign of Terror speaks to us still two-and-a-quarter centuries after the events she describes. Jacob Shepherd, a first-week Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, writes:
The Scarlet Pimpernel is one of my favorite books. Thanks for this great series!
No, thank you, Jacob. Hope we do justice to it - and I'm very grateful for all the other kind comments. In tonight's episode Marguerite bids farewell to her brother Armand as he prepares to sail for the seething shores of their homeland:
Silhouetted against the ever-changing sky, a graceful schooner, with white sails set, was gently dancing in the breeze. The Day Dream it was, Sir Percy Blakeney's yacht, which was ready to take Armand St Just back to France into the very midst of that seething, bloody Revolution which was overthrowing a monarchy, attacking a religion, destroying a society, in order to try and rebuild upon the ashes of tradition a new Utopia, of which a few men dreamed, but which none had the power to establish.
Establishing Utopia is always a bloody business - and it's a key difference between the French Revolution and its American predecessor:
They had reached the edge of the cliff. The gentle sea-breeze blew Marguerite's hair about her face, and sent the ends of her soft lace fichu waving round her, like a white and supple snake. She tried to pierce the distance far away, beyond which lay the shores of France: that relentless and stern France which was exacting her pound of flesh, the blood-tax from the noblest of her sons.
'Our own beautiful country, Marguerite,' said Armand, who seemed to have divined her thoughts.
'They are going too far, Armand,' she said vehemently. 'You are a republican, so am I... we have the same thoughts, the same enthusiasm for liberty and equality... but even you must think that they are going too far...'
'Hush!â€”' said Armand, instinctively, as he threw a quick, apprehensive glance around him.
If you're one of that brave band who prefer me in vision, I'll be back with Tucker Carlson tomorrow evening, Thursday, coast to coast across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific. Hope you'll tune in. And, of course, an hour or so before that we'll be right here with Part Seven of The Scarlet Pimpernel.
If you're minded to join us in The Mark Steyn Club, you're more than welcome. You can find more information here. And, if you have a chum you think might enjoy Tales for Our Time (so far, we've covered Conan Doyle, H G Wells, Dickens, Conrad, Kipling, Kafka, Gogol, Jack London, Anthony Hope, Scott Fitzgerald and Robert Louis Stevenson), we've introduced a special Gift Membership that lets you sign up a pal for the Steyn Club. You'll find more details here. Oh, and don't forget, over at the Steyn store, our Steynamite Special Offers on books, CDs, and much more.
Following our sold-out inaugural Mark Steyn cruise, we're now planning the second. Details to come, but do hold the date: We sail next September 4th. Ahead of that, of course, is a mini-tour of Pennsylvania and New York with Dennis Miller. More details here.