Welcome to the penultimate episode of Baroness Orczy's tale of romance and adventure in France's Reign of Terror - The Scarlet Pimpernel. In tonight's installment, what's a devoted wife to do when a chap comes sauntering along the Cap Gris-Nez surrounded by fervent revolutionaries and starts singing "God Save the King"?
With a wild shriek, she sprang to her feet, and darted round the rock, against which she had been cowering... She was seized and thrown to the ground. She lay there moaning, bruised, not caring, but still half-sobbing, half-shrieking,—
'Percy, my husband, for God's sake fly..! Armand!'
'One of you stop that woman screaming,' hissed Chauvelin, who hardly could refrain from striking her.
Something was thrown over her face; she could not breathe, and perforce she was silent.
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read Part Twenty-Three of The Scarlet Pimpernel simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here.
David Wilson, a first-weekend Founding Member from California, writes:
I am curious about how the episode breaks are chosen for Tales for Our Time. You do not indicate any chapter breaks in this Tale, and it has been especially great at building cliffhanger suspense at the end of each espisode. I have had to change my habit of listening just at bedtime because I am too keyed up to sleep for a while after listening. I wondered whether the Baroness gets the credit for this, or you?
Oh, definitely the Baroness, David. As a general rule, I try to observe the authors' chapter breaks in our serializations. But we're also mindful that writers of books have medium-length chapters and short chapters and long chapters, and we want something a little more consistent in length for our nightly episodes. So sometimes we'll combine two short chapters into one episode or break one long chapter into two episodes. If the latter proves necessary, I do try to give the end-point an Orczyesque cliffhanger, but I'm only trying to follow the master, or mistress, and ninety per cent of the credit for the episode breaks belongs to her. Which is a roundabout way of saying don't miss tomorrow night's grand finale.
If you've yet to hear any of our Tales for Our Time, you can do so by joining The Mark Steyn Club. For more details, see here - and don't forget, for fellow fans of classic fiction and/or poetry, our Steyn Club Christmas Gift Membership. This festive season it comes with a special personalized Christmas card from yours truly and a handsomely-engraved gift-boxed USB stick with a trio of our most popular Tales for Our Time for your loved one to listen to in the car or perambulating through the wilderness or almost anywhere else. (The three tales are The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Time Machine and The Thirty-Nine Steps.) For more details on our special Christmas Gift Membership, see here.
Please join me tomorrow evening, Sunday, for our final episode of The Scarlet Pimpernel.
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