[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/The-Scarlet-Pimpernel_8669.jpg]]

->''"We seek him here, we seek him there,\\
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.\\
Is he in heaven? Is he in hell?\\
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel."''

''The Scarlet Pimpernel'' is a classic action-adventure story written by Baroness Emmuska Orczy and turned into a play in 1903-05. This wildly popular tale is set during UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution, an era when peasants rose up against the aristocracy and began slaughtering them wholesale. (Madame la Guillotine was a very busy woman at this time.) It seemed there would be no hope for the French Nobs, until a dashing hero arrived on the scene to snatch those destined for death from the hands of the bloodthirsty and fanatical Revolutionary government. This hero was a mysterious masked figure known only as ''The Scarlet Pimpernel'' (a small flower with five petals), and together with his small band of followers, he managed to spirit many a doomed aristocrat safely to England.

But who ''is'' this "Scarlet Pimpernel"?

The beautiful expatriate French actress, Marguerite Blakeney, doesn't know. But she's recently discovered that her brother, Armand, is one of his band of followers. Unfortunately, Armand's been revealed to the Revolutionaries. And if Marguerite doesn't help Citizen Chauvelin, the slimy agent of the French Republic, discover the Pimpernel's true identity, Armand will be executed.

To whom can Marguerite turn for help? Certainly not her [[RichIdiotWithNoDayjob foppish, empty-headed dandy of a husband, Percy]]. He barely has the brain cells to choose what outrageous outfit he'll wear to their next social function. He surely couldn't be of any use in finding out who the Pimpernel really is.

''The Scarlet Pimpernel'' is a notable work of Western literature, which would go on to influence popular culture throughout the generations. It's an early precursor to the SpyDrama genre of fiction, and the Pimpernel himself can be counted as a ProtoSuperhero. The book arguably created the modern concept of the SecretIdentity. Like Franchise/{{Batman}} (or that other early "superhero", Franchise/{{Zorro}}), the Pimpernel is a [[RichIdiotWithNoDayJob wealthy personage who hides behind a foppish face by day]] and performs dashing and heroic deeds under the cover of darkness. Like Franchise/{{Superman}}, he hides his intellect and intentions behind a mask of clueless ignorance. He also uses an iconic symbol (the Pimpernel flower) to denote his identity. Truly, modern-day movies and comic books owe a lot to this character. Even {{Anime}} seems to have been influenced a bit by him, judging by the number of series (like ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'' and ''LightNovel/TrinityBlood'') which feature seemingly dorky -- yet secretly competent -- heroes who often wear red.

''The Scarlet Pimpernel'' would go on to spawn a series of sequel books, operettas, musicals, movies and TV adaptations. The third sequel novel, ''Eldorado'', has often been drawn on to spice up adaptations of the original novel, as it has a high-stakes plot in which the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel goes to the aid of a surviving member of the French royal family.

The ''Literature/PinkCarnation'' book series by Lauren Willig features characters who took up where the original Pimpernel left off (''i.e.'' the Carnation, and prior to that, the Purple Gentian). In 1941 the lore was even updated and remade as ''Film/PimpernelSmith'' to be about rescuing Jews from [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazi Germany]].

[[folder:Novels and collections by Baroness Emuska Orczy]]
Listed by publication order. The chronological order of the series is a bit more complex.
* ''The Scarlet Pimpernel'' (1905)
* ''I Will Repay'' (1906)
* ''The Elusive Pimpernel '' (1908)
* ''Eldorado '' (1913)
* ''The Laughing Cavalier '' (1913). Set in the 17th century, it covers the adventures of Percy Blake, the Laughing Cavalier. He is an ancestor to the Pimpernel.
* ''Lord Tony's Wife '' (1917)
* ''The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel '' (1919)
* ''The First Sir Percy '' (1920). A direct sequel to the Laughing Cavalier.
* ''The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel '' (1922).
* ''Pimpernel and Rosemary '' (1924). Set in the 1920s, it follows the adventures of Peter Blakeney, a descendant of the Pimpernel.
* ''Sir Percy Hits Back'' (1927)
* ''Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel'' (1929)
* ''A Child of the Revolution'' (1932)
* ''The Scarlet Pimpernel Looks at the World'' (1933). The Pimpernel offers his views on the world of the [[TheThirties 1930s]].
* ''The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel'' (1933)
* ''Sir Percy Leads the Band'' (1936)
* ''Mam'zelle Guillotine'' (1940)
[[/folder]]

!!Adaptations with their own pages:
* ''Film/{{The Scarlet Pimpernel|1934}}'' (film, 1934)
* ''Film/{{The Scarlet Pimpernel|1982}}'' (TV film, 1982)
* ''Theatre/TheScarletPimpernel'' (musical, 1998)
* ''Series/TheScarletPimpernel'' (TV series, 1999)

!!This story has also been the subject of many a parody:
* The Daffy Duck cartoon ''[[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes The Scarlet Pumpernickel]]''
* The ''Series/{{Blackadder}} the Third'' episode "Nob and Nobility": Blackadder derides the public's obsession with the mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel, and makes a bet that he could rescue a French aristocrat just as well.
* ''Film/DontLoseYourHead'' had the "Black Fingernail", played by Creator/SidJames, with Creator/KennethWilliams playing Chauvelin's {{Expy}}, Citizen Camembert.
* ''Series/WayneAndShuster'': "Close Encounters of the Brown Pumpernickel Kind"
* In ''ComicStrip/FootrotFlats'', The Dog sometimes adopts the persona "The Scarlet Manuka" and attempts to rescue abused {{Cricket}} balls.
----
!!The original novel provides examples of:
* AgentPeacock: Sir Percy, in this and just about every adaptation ever made except [[Series/TheScarletPimpernel the A&E miniseries]]. Special note is taken of his hands, which are lily white and slender enough to pass as a woman's hands (on multiple occasions), and which the ladies at court fawn over.
* AlmostKiss: Sir Percy desperately wants to kiss Marguerite after she asks him to save her brother, but [[DatingCatwoman he doesn't trust her]], so he stops himself.
* ArchEnemy: Chauvelin.
* TheAtoner: Marguerite.
* AtTheOperaTonight: Chapter 10. Marguerite is attending the opera when Chauvelin pays a visit to her box to propose [[{{Blackmail}} an arrangement of mutual benefit]].
* AuthorCatchphrase: Read the unabridged version and count how many times Chauvelin's "fox-like face" is mentioned. Or Marguerite Blakeney's "tiny" feet and hands.
* BatmanGambit: The Scarlet Pimpernel is fond of these. No, seriously. The entire final rescue of the first book hinges on [[spoiler:the French's hatred of the Jews]].
* BetaCouple: Suzanne and Sir Andrew.
* BigBad: Robespierre.
* BigGood: The Scarlet Pimpernel.
* {{Blackmail}}
* BlackmailIsSuchAnUglyWord: When Chauvelin blackmails Marguerite into spying on her peers to learn the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel:
-->"Well!--and you would now force me to do some spying work for you in exchange for my brother Armand's safety?--Is that it?"\\
"Fie! two very ugly words, fair lady," protested Chauvelin, urbanely. "There can be no question of force, and the service which I would ask of you, in the name of France, could never be called by the shocking name of spying."
* BlueBlood
* BoundAndGagged: Well, Percy gets bound, and Marguerite gets gagged in the climax.
* BurnBabyBurn: One of the Pimpernel's associates tries to burn his instructions to prevent Marguerite reading them. It doesn't work.
* CampStraight: Percy is effiminate even by the standards of the time, but he's also got a reputation as a rake. Many aristocratic male characters also qualify, but Percy stands out the most.
* ChekhovsGun: Chauvelin's snuff habit.
* ClarkKenting
* ColorCharacter [[CharacterTitle Title]]
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: Unless he's disguised, Chauvelin ''always'' wears black ("sable"), even in the sequels.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Percy
* DatingCatwoman: Sir Percy, leader of the aristocrats' proverbial Secret Service, marries a French republican. He distances himself from his wife when she confesses her (unwitting) contribution to the execution of the Marquis de St. Cyr.
* DeadpanSnarker
* {{Determinator}}: Marguerite
* DressingAsTheEnemy: A ruse often used by the Pimpernel and his associates.
* EvilGloating: Chauvelin indulges a lot in the last act of the first book... and he pays for it.
* EvilLaugh: Bibot and Chauvelin love indulging in these; the phrase "evil laugh" is even used once.
* GoneHorriblyRight: Marguerite denounces the Marquis de St Cyr as revenge for attacking her brother; as a result, the Marquis and his entire family are sent to the guillotine, to Marguerite's horror.
* GratuitousFrench: Just to remind the reader that the scene is laid in France, Orczy sprinkles the dialogue with phrases like ''ci-devant'', ''citoyen'', and ''Sacres aristos!'' even when [[PoirotSpeak the rest of a given Frenchman's speech is translated]].
* GrandeDame: The Comtesse de Tournay is a stiffly dignified old lady, implacably opposed to Marguerite -- but forced by the Prince Regent to acknowledge her nonetheless.
* TheGuardsMustBeCrazy: Chauvelin has his men so scared to disobey him, they ignore CommonSense in favor of following his orders to the letter.
* HeelRealization: Marguerite and her brother, just prior to the start of the novel.
* HeroesWantRedHeads: Marguerite is a redhead, shading towards strawberry blonde.
* HeroSecretService: The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel
* TheHerosJourney: For Marguerite, complete with "Night Sea Voyage."
* HiddenDepths: Both Marguerite and her husband, which they both wish they'd discovered long ago.
* {{Historical Domain Character}}s: Robespierre; Lord Grenville; the Prince of Wales; the Dauphin...
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Chauvelin is loosely based on a real French politician of the time.
* IDidntMeanToKillHim: Marguerite with the Marquis de St. Cyr, in her {{Backstory}}.
* IHaveYouNowMyPretty: Chauvelin's treatment of Marguerite at the Opera and when he captures her on the beach.
* IHaveYourWife: The French have Marguerite's brother. She frequently finds herself on the other end of this trope in the sequels, being taken hostage by Chauvelin to force Sir Percy's hand.
* IWantThemAlive: Which, naturally, proves to be Chauvelin's undoing. NiceJobFixingItVillain!
* InnocentInnuendo: Chauvelin claims he has the remedy to Marguerite's boredom and disappointment in her marriage... helping him track down the Scarlet Pimpernel.
* InspectorJavert: Chauvelin -- must be a French thing.
* ItsAllMyFault: Marguerite and her husband while reconciling, natch.
* ItsPersonal: Chauvelin
* JerkassHasAPoint: While the author can hardly be accused of being too favourably disposed to the French revolutionaries, there are several passages where the narration does acknowledge that the aristocracy could be needlessly cruel and oppressive. In particular, both Marguerite and her brother Armand are committed (albeit more moderate) Republicans who are nevertheless treated sympathetically, and their backstory involves a nobleman who ordered the low-born Armand viciously beaten after he dared express romantic interest in one of the nobleman's daughters. The point is clear that it's not exactly a mystery why the French lower classes had enough and decided to rebel, even if they took it a bit too far.
* LadyOfAdventure: Marguerite
* LovesMyAlterEgo: Marguerite swoons over the Pimpernel while unhappy in her marriage with Percy. Most of England falls in this trope, too, loving the daring and romance of the mysterious Pimpernel.
* MachiavelliWasWrong: The Pimpernel's men follow him out of devotion, Chauvelin's out of fear.
* ManipulativeBastard: Chauvelin, even moreso in the sequels.
* MasterOfDisguise: The Pimpernel himself. [[spoiler:Even his own wife can't recognise him when he's dressed up. His wife?! Not even Chauvelin recognises him, more than once!]]
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Marguerite
* NoAccountingForTaste: The world can't understand why the intellectual Marguerite St. Just fell for the ditzy Sir Percy.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Ordered by Chauvelin on their Jewish prisoner after the Scarlet Pimpernel escapes their surveillance. [[spoiler:Sir Percy had to let them do it so they would leave him behind with his wife afterwards.]]
* NotWhatItLooksLike: When Marguerite and Sir Andrew show up in disguise at the Fishermen's Rest inn, Mr. Jellyband and his daughter naturally assume they're running away together.
* NumberTwo: Sir Andrew
* ObfuscatingStupidity
* OppositesAttract: Pondered by Armand -- the graceful, witty Marguerite and her husband, the ditzy dandy. Of course, [[spoiler:his ditzyness is all just an act]], turning this into [[spoiler:BirdsOfAFeather]].
* PaperThinDisguise
* PepperSneeze: During a confrontation with Chauvelin, the Pimpernel sneaks some pepper into his snuff box; the consequent sneezing fit gives the Pimpernel an opportunity to escape.
* PlayAlongPrisoner: The Pimpernel, at one point, to be in position to aid another prisoner.
* ProtoSuperhero
* PseudoCrisis: It seems many times that the Pimpernel or the people he's rescuing are on the verge of capture, but many of these "crises" were actually built into his rescue plans.
* PoorCommunicationKills: Marguerite's pride won't let her give Percy a full explanation of her 'betrayal' of the Count of St. Cyr putting their marriage on ice for years leading to her inadvertant betrayal of Percy.
* RedemptionQuest: For Marguerite.
* RefugeInAudacity: Most of the plans that aren't {{Batman Gambit}}s.
** Percy wins at the end of the original novel by... [[spoiler:dressing up as a Jew and relying on the French's rampant anti-Semitism to make them overlook him.]] It comes as quite a surprise to modern students who have to read the book for English class...
* RichIdiotWithNoDayJob: The ur-example.
* RightInFrontOfMe
* SadisticChoice: Chauvelin gives one to Marguerite -- ''either'' your brother ''or'' your husband. He specializes in his "either -- or" tactic.
* SecondaryCharacterTitle: Adaptations would do well to remember that ''Marguerite'' is the protagonist here.
* SecretKeeper: The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel, as well as Percy's butler Frank, all know his SecretIdentity.
* SexlessMarriage: Marguerite and her husband have apartments as far apart in their mansion as possible.
* ShutUpAndSaveMe: Yeah, Margot, honey, I'm glad to see you, too, but how about we talk after you untie me?
* TheSummation: Percy explains exactly what he did to save everyone as he sits on the beach with Marguerite after it's all over.
* StarCrossedLovers: In his {{Backstory}}, Armand St. Just fell in love with the aristocrat Angèle de St. Cyr. He ended up [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown beaten within an inch of his life]] as punishment for sending her a love letter.
* StayInTheKitchen: Blink and you'll miss it -- Sir Andrew tries to dissuade Marguerite from chasing after her husband because "this is man's work." And that one sentence is the first and last time he tries.
* SternChase
* TheStoic: Sir Percy's mask of choice for when alone with his wife.
* {{Superhero}}: The Ur-example
* {{Swashbuckler}}: Hovers near the edge of this genre. The Pimpernel tends to use his wits rather than weaponry.
* TermsOfEndangerment: Chauvelin towards Marguerite; adaptations have run with this and [[PromotedToLoveInterest promoted him to a past love interest]].
* ThisIsReality: Chauvelin tells himself this at one point, when he catches himself speculating that the Pimpernel's ability to evade capture may have some supernatural source.
* TogetherInDeath: Marguerite constantly steels herself for this fate. [[spoiler:Fortunately, they both EarnYourHappyEnding.]]
* TwoAliasesOneCharacter: The Scarlet Pimpernel and his everyday identity are treated as two separate characters until Marguerite realises who the latter is, a considerable distance into the novel.
* [[ViolentlyProtectiveGirlfriend Violently Protective Wife]]: Marguerite.
* WellExcuseMePrincess: Lady Marguerite "smartest-woman-in-Europe" Blakeney
* WhatDoesSheSeeInHim: Everyone wonders, what did the smartest woman in Europe see in the foppish Sir Percy Blakeney?
* YouDontWantToCatchThis: Done with smallpox.
* YouGotSpunk: Both Chauvelin and Percy realize this about Marguerite.
* YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame: The revolutionists hail Marguerite as a heroine for turning in the Marquis de St. Cyr.
----
!!Orczy's sequels provide examples of:

* AesopAmnesia: Chauvelin repeatedly continues to underestimate his ArchEnemy and to use the IHaveGotYourWife SadisticChoice no matter how many times it backfires on him.
* AlwaysSaveTheGirl: Armand for Jeanne Lange in ''Eldorado''. Tragedy ensues.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Jean-Baptiste Carrier, governor of Nantes in ''Lord Tony's Wife'', and his aide Jacques Lalouët.
* AnyoneCanDie: [[spoiler: Bertrand Moncrif]] in ''The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel''.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: Sir Percy lists the methods of Chauvelin and his colleagues: "Murder, outrage, abduction... and wearing breeches the cut of which would provoke a saint to indignation!"
* BaddieFlattery: Chauvelin towards Marguerite, particularly in ''Eldorado''.
-->'''Chauvelin:''' Just now you taunted me with my failure in Calais, and again at Boulogne, with a proud toss of the head, which I own is excessively becoming...
* BadGuyBar: The Cabaret de la Liberté in the short story of the same name. Sir Percy, in his persona of Citizen Rateau, is a frequent drinker there.
* {{Blackmail}}: The McGuffin of ''The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel'' is a packet of letters, the publication of which would compromise three of Danton's political allies. Various characters attempt to use them for blackmailing purposes.
* BeenThereShapedHistory: In ''The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel'', it's Sir Percy who brings about the arrest of Theresia Cabarrus, thus starting the chain of events leading to the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermidorian_Reaction fall of Robespierre]].
* BerserkButton: Threatening Sir Percy's wife is '''''not''''' [[GoneHorriblyRight a good idea]], Chauvelin...
* TheCaligula: Carrier in ''Lord Tony's Wife'' is obsessed with mass executions, and paranoid about assassination attempts.
* CallBack: In ''The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel'', Josette Gravier is eating at an inn, with Chauvelin at another table. Then, to her bewilderment, a tall sailor wanders over to Chauvelin and offers him a pot of pepper. She's astonished at Chauvelin's horrified reaction; but then, she doesn't know it's a reference to the PepperSneeze by which Sir Percy escaped from Chauvelin in the first book.
* CassandraTruth: In ''The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel'', Theresia has the vanishingly rare ability to recognise Sir Percy when he is disguised. She spots him while being dragged away by Chauvelin's men, and points him out as the Pimpernel. Nobody believes her.
* CasualDangerDialogue: Apparently an English thing that the French Armand at first finds unnerving in ''Eldorado''.
* ChekhovsGun: In ''Lord Tony's Wife'', Carrier's habit of having a fast coach on 24-hour standby in case he needs to make a quick getaway.
* ColdBloodedTorture: 17 days of sleep deprivation in ''Eldorado''.
* TheCoronerDothProtestTooMuch: In ''The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel'', Bastien de Croissy is found dead in his ransacked office, an iron bar lying beside his body. Since no money is missing, and the police chief doesn't want to consider any political motive, he closes the case as an obvious suicide.
* CoveredInKisses[=/=]AnywhereButTheirLips: Marguerite and Sir Percy, ''repeatedly''.
* CruelMercy: Percy's revenge on Chauvelin in ''Sir Percy Hits Back'' is sparing his life, which Chauvelin considers a FateWorseThanDeath.
* DamselInDistress: Chauvelin switches tactics from giving Marguerite the SadisticChoice to making her the hostage in her husband's {{Sadistic Choice}}s.
* DeathByChildbirth: Fleurette's mother.
* EtTuBrute: ''Eldorado''
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Even the Committee of Public Safety think Carrier's mass executions at Nantes are taking things a bit far.
* EveryoneLooksSexierIfFrench: English gentlemen seem to have a thing for Parisian beauties and are very eager to marry them. Poor English gals, they are doomed to die old spinsters at that rate.
* EvilCannotComprehendGood: Chauvelin is repeatedly guilty of this. Prime examples are ''Eldorado'', where he believes his current SadisticChoice plot has been foiled because he doesn't in the least expect the Scarlet Pimpernel to consider giving his life or honor for the "friend" who betrayed him, and ''Sir Percy Hits Back'', where he thoroughly believes his daughter is doomed because surely the Scarlet Pimpernel wouldn't lift a finger to save his ArchEnemy's daughter.
* EvilLaugh: Inverted -- Sir Percy's laugh is perfectly pleasant, but it gives Chauvelin an OhCrap moment whenever he hears it.
* FateWorseThanDeath: Planned by Chauvelin in ''The Elusive Pimpernel'', to Collot d'Herbois' chagrin.
* ForcefulKiss: When Pierre Adet is introduced in ''Lord Tony's Wife'', he has a legitimate grievance against the Duc de Kernoghan. But to make sure the reader has no sympathy with him, Orczy has him forcefully kiss the Duc's teenage daughter, gloating about how she'll never be able to forget it.
* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: Just short of stated outright for the Blakeneys, whenever Sir Percy can take a break from his heroics, that is. (They have a year of lost time to make up for, after all...)
* HappilyMarried: The Blakeneys and the Ffoulkeses.
* HeroicBSOD: Armand in ''Eldorado''
* HistoricalDomainCharacter:
** Baron de Batz, a real-life royalist agent of the time, in ''Sir Percy Leads the Band''.
** Jean-Baptiste Carrier in ''Lord Tony's Wife''.
** Jean-Lambert Tallien and Theresia Cabarrus in ''The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel''.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Robespierre, though he didn't need too much alteration to make him into a larger-than-life EvilOverlord.
* HoneyTrap: ''The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel'' -- Theresia first asks her would-be employers if they're not worried about her BecomingTheMask.
* TheIngenue: Fleurette.
* ItsAllMyFault: Percy's guilt over what Marguerite suffers as the Scarlet Pimpernel's wife features prominently in ''Eldorado''.
* KarmicDeath: Sir Percy predicts that as one of Robespierre's henchmen, Chauvelin will share the fate he inflicted on so many others: a show trial followed by the guillotine.
* LegacyCharacter: The Pimpernel is the descendent of a hero of TheCavalierYears, as shown in ''The Laughing Cavalier'' and ''The First Sir Percy''. His own IdenticalGrandson appears in ''Pimpernel and Rosemary''.
* LoveAtFirstNote: Armand for Jeanne in ''Eldorado''
* LovedINotHonorMore: Comes up in just about every one but is discussed most prominently in ''Eldorado''.
* LoveMakesYouEvil:
** The residents of Laragne attribute "citizen Armand's" sudden [[FaceHeelTurn change in personality]] to the death of his wife in childbirth. This is most likely not true, given that the narrator calls his daughter the only person he's ever loved.
** Devinne in ''Sir Percy Leads The Band'' is infatuated with an aristocrat's daughter, and turns traitor in the hope of sending his rival for her to the guillotine.
* MaliciousMisnaming: Sir Percy constantly deliberately mispronounces Chauvelin's name as things like "Chaubertin" and "Chambertin."
* MasterActor/ MasterOfDisguise: The Pimpernel impersonates several known French people, authority figures, civil servants and grimy tramps alike. At one point, he reflects that he plays the part of Rateau (a coal-heaver he often impersonates) more convincingly than Rateau himself.
* MissingMom: ''Sir Percy Hits Back'' states that Fleurette's mother is dead. No more information about her whatsoever is shared, not even her name.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Armand in ''Eldorado''.
* NotMyDriver: In ''The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel'' -- the substitute driver is, of course, the Pimpernel.
* OneSteveLimit: Marguerite's brother and Chauvelin share the first name Armand, but Chauvelin's first name is very infrequently mentioned (and if Armand St Just is in the book, never).
* PapaWolf: Chauvelin in ''Sir Percy Hits Back''.
* PerspectiveFlip: Several novels focus more on the rescuees than on the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel.
* PluckyGirl: Josette Gravier in ''The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel''.
* PoliceAreUseless: The Paris police in ''The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel'' -- see TheCoronerDothProtestTooMuch.
* PoorCommunicationKills: In ''The Elusive Pimpernel'', Marguerite bids Sir Percy a tearful farewell as he heads to France on his latest mission. Despite ample opportunity, she neglects to mention the important conversation she's just had with Desiree Candeille, and therefore falls straight into Chauvelin's latest trap.
* PromotionToParent: After being hinted in ''The Scarlet Pimpernel'', established in ''Eldorado'', which reveals that Armand's name for Marguerite is "little Mother."
* RealityEnsues: In ''Lord Tony's Wife'', two separate characters attempt to use a TapOnTheHead to put someone briefly out of action. One victim ends up in hospital, the other in the cemetery.
* RedOniBlueOni: Chauvelin, a coldly intellectual patriot, often has to team up with a passionate revolutionary such as Collot d'Herbois or Martin-Roget. [[WeAreStrugglingTogether They invariably can't stand each other]].
* RescueRomance: Armand and Jeanne both decide they're in love (less than 24 hours after they first met) after Jeanne saves him from Héron.
* SaveTheVillain's Daughter: ''Sir Percy Hits Back''
** Sir Percy seems almost tempted to try it with Chauvelin himself: "But no one will free you from the guillotine when the time comes, unless I myself... a pleasant conceit--what? I'll think on it, I promise you!"
* SlobsVersusSnobs: On a national level: Scruffy revolutionary France against well-ordered, aristocratic England. There's also an element of it among the French government:
--> Martin-Roget was the personification of sans-culottism, of rough manners and foul speech -- he chafed against the conventions which forced him to wear decent clothes and boots on his feet -- he would gladly have seen every one go about the streets half-naked, unwashed, a living sign of that downward levelling of castes which he and his friends stood for, and for which they had fought and striven and committed every crime which human passions let loose could invent. Chauvelin, on the other hand, was one of those who wore fine linen and buckled shoes and whose hands were delicately washed and perfumed whilst they signed decrees which sent hundreds of women and children to a violent and cruel death.
* StatingTheSimpleSolution:
** Chauvelin's HypercompetentSidekick Collot d'Herbois wonders why they don't just shoot the Pimpernel in ''The Elusive Pimpernel''.
** In ''Lord Tony's Wife'', it's Chauvelin who points out to Martin-Roget that it would be simpler to have the de Kernogans quickly executed than put them through an elaborate FateWorseThanDeath, followed by death. The longer they're alive, he reasons, the more chance the Pimpernel has to rescue them.
* ThatsWhatIWouldDo: In ''The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel'', Sir Percy and Chauvelin both come up with the idea of making a copy of the McGuffin and substituting it for the original (Sir Percy's version includes his signature rhyme, of course). Sir Percy notes the similarity:
-->In fact, you will observe, Sir, that my process was identical to the one employed by our mutual friend Chambertin when he stole what he thought was the precious packet of letters from little Josette Gravier and substituted for it another contrived by himself to look exactly similar. I am very fond really of Monsieur Chambertin; for a clever man he is sometimes such a silly fool, what?
* UltimateJobSecurity: Chauvelin's persistent failure to catch the Pimpernel would have had him dismissed from his job if not executed -- were it not that he's the only man in the French government who knows the Pimpernel's secret identity. He's careful to keep things that way.
* VictoriasSecretCompartment:
** In ''Eldorado'', Marguerite smuggles letters from the Scarlet Pimpernel to his League out of prison in her kerchief... or, as her husband puts it, "... on your exquisite bosom where I so love to pillow my head."
** In ''Sir Percy Hits Back'', the Scarlet Pimpernel sends a secret message to Fleurette, his latest rescuee, by slipping it into ''her'' Victoria's Secret Compartment... while disguised as her prison warden, which freaked the poor girl out.
* VillainEpisode: ''Sir Percy Hits Back''
* VillainousBSOD: Chauvelin in ''Sir Percy Hits Back''
* WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove?: Explored in ''Eldorado''.
* WhatTheHellHero: Two in ''Eldorado''. First, Armand accuses Percy of not understanding what it means to love; Percy thoroughly agrees with him (Marguerite, however, doesn't) and spends a good subsequent portion of the novel condemning himself for what he puts his wife through. Later, Percy sends Armand a letter to this effect after his brother-in-law [[EtTuBrute betrays him]].
* NotSoSafeHarbor: The port area of Nantes in ''Lord Tony's Wife'', with warehouses repurposed by the authorities as disease-ridden prisons, and unpaved streets where hollow-eyed urchins roam. Plus the delightfully-named BadGuyBar, the ''Rat Mort''.
* YouCantThwartStageOne: In ''Lord Tony's Wife'', the Pimpernel knows the antagonists' plan from the beginning, but still doesn't manage to stop them taking their intended victim to France.
* YouGotSpunk: Citizen Merri in the short story ''The Cabaret de la Liberté'' likes a wench with spirit.
* YouHaveFailedMe:
** Robespierre gives Chauvelin this ultimatum in ''The Elusive Pimpernel''.
** Inverted at the end of ''The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel''. Chauvelin is theoretically under Citizen Chabot's command, but by the end it's Chauvelin who has Chabot sent to the guillotine for his bungling.
----