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Old 12-20-2018, 08:39 AM   #76
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On the matter of leadership, the League clearly revolved around Percy. He was the head daredevil, and I thought it was more like a gang of schoolboys getting up to mischief and egging each other on. Writing notes to each other, secret signs, disguised handwriting ...

I wonder what sorts of hoops they had to go through to become a fully paid up member of the League?
I like the image this conjures up, and it fits quite well with the discussion at the start of the book about it all being for sport.
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Old 12-20-2018, 03:48 PM   #77
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So presumably, at the time she was writing at least her earlier books, it was okay to use her foreign title.
Excellent find. Still, I think style might mandate adopting one's new country's mores in toto, rather than trying to skim most favorable from new and old. But everyone loves a lord (or lady).

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I wonder what sorts of hoops they had to go through to become a fully paid up member of the League?
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Orczy at times plays a little bit loose with whose thoughts we get to read.

And yes, the interlocking relationships between Armand, Marguerite and Percy seemed problematic to me.
The hoops are an issue in regard to Armand, as it raises the issue of Armand's loyalty. Privy to Percy's secret identity, he knows that Percy is deceiving Marguerite, but is willing to go along with it. Out of weakness? Our of a desire to be one of the guys and distance himself from the woman's influence? But his opting for Percy is not very defensible, especially as he knows the extent of Marguerite's guilt in regard to the Marquis de St. Cyr. But he presumably decided not to raise the issue with Percy. Because he didn't want to jeopardize his own relationship with Percy?

Yeah, I think this is something we just have to accept. There's no good explanation.
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Old 12-20-2018, 07:46 PM   #78
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Excellent find. Still, I think style might mandate adopting one's new country's mores in toto, rather than trying to skim most favorable from new and old. But everyone loves a lord (or lady).
I wonder if that document I found (there was no indication of where it was from, by the way) indicates that it had been the norm for foreign titles to continue to be used even when the individual was resident in England. I see this decision that it should stop as part of the changing times after the Great War.
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Old 12-20-2018, 07:51 PM   #79
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The hoops are an issue in regard to Armand, as it raises the issue of Armand's loyalty. Privy to Percy's secret identity, he knows that Percy is deceiving Marguerite, but is willing to go along with it. Out of weakness? Our of a desire to be one of the guys and distance himself from the woman's influence? But his opting for Percy is not very defensible, especially as he knows the extent of Marguerite's guilt in regard to the Marquis de St. Cyr. But he presumably decided not to raise the issue with Percy. Because he didn't want to jeopardize his own relationship with Percy?

Yeah, I think this is something we just have to accept. There's no good explanation.
Armand would have been treated with caution initially you would think, as he and Marguerite were declared republicans, and Percy thought his wife had been capable of betraying St Cyr.

Given that Armand was questioning Marguerite just before he set sail for France, he may not have realised until then that there was an estrangement between Percy and Marguerite, and that the supposed betrayal was the reason.

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Old 12-20-2018, 09:20 PM   #80
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Given that Armand was questioning Marguerite just before he set sail for France, he may not have realised until then that there was an estrangement between Percy and Marguerite, and that the supposed betrayal was the reason.
OK. That's plausible. And it was his first visit. Still, while Orczy said (in Marguerite's mind) that Percy and Armand were close, and also noted that both had secrets, Armand's internal thought that Marguerite "might have set her affections on a fool," is problematic, given that Armand was working for the League. Could he have been recruited by a lower-down and not know that Percy was the big cheese? I suppose that's plausible, too, and even makes sense in the same manner that subversive political cells limit contacts. You can't betray someone you don't know.
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Old 12-20-2018, 09:39 PM   #81
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I wonder if that document I found (there was no indication of where it was from, by the way) indicates that it had been the norm for foreign titles to continue to be used even when the individual was resident in England. I see this decision that it should stop as part of the changing times after the Great War.
I can see additional issues after the Great War, too. It would have been harder to justify using a title from a former empire-turned-republic where titles had become defunct, as with Orczy. And surely the English wouldn't have cared to observe titles from countries they'd been at war with. Just the same, I have the sneaking suspicion that Orczy went by Baroness until the end of her life.

On the topic of Orczy and the Great War, I remember years ago coming across a reference to her own brand of patriotism. She founded an organization called the "Women of England's Active Service League," wherein the members formally vowed, "At this hour of England's grave peril and desperate need I do hereby pledge myself most solemnly in the name of my King and Country to persuade every man I know to offer his services to the country, and I also pledge myself never to be seen in public with any man who, being in every way fit and free for service, has refused to respond to his country's call."

Totally absurd, but it attests to the slow end of the attitudes she promulgated in her books. As I recall, her "League" (and that's just embarrassing, under the circs) was undersubscribed.
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Old 12-21-2018, 01:22 AM   #82
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I wonder if that document I found (there was no indication of where it was from, by the way) indicates that it had been the norm for foreign titles to continue to be used even when the individual was resident in England. I see this decision that it should stop as part of the changing times after the Great War.
My understanding was that foreign titles were routinely used before the war. Hardly surprising, when you consider the amount of intermarrying that went on between the various noble and royal houses.
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Old 12-21-2018, 01:24 AM   #83
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On the topic of Orczy and the Great War, I remember years ago coming across a reference to her own brand of patriotism. She founded an organization called the "Women of England's Active Service League," wherein the members formally vowed, "At this hour of England's grave peril and desperate need I do hereby pledge myself most solemnly in the name of my King and Country to persuade every man I know to offer his services to the country, and I also pledge myself never to be seen in public with any man who, being in every way fit and free for service, has refused to respond to his country's call."

Totally absurd, but it attests to the slow end of the attitudes she promulgated in her books. As I recall, her "League" (and that's just embarrassing, under the circs) was undersubscribed.
The whole white feather thing was cruel and dangerous.
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Old 12-21-2018, 01:25 AM   #84
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OK. That's plausible. And it was his first visit. Still, while Orczy said (in Marguerite's mind) that Percy and Armand were close, and also noted that both had secrets, Armand's internal thought that Marguerite "might have set her affections on a fool," is problematic, given that Armand was working for the League. Could he have been recruited by a lower-down and not know that Percy was the big cheese? I suppose that's plausible, too, and even makes sense in the same manner that subversive political cells limit contacts. You can't betray someone you don't know.
Good point about Armand's thoughts on Percy. I have just gone back and looked at that chapter again. He had been on a visit to England and was now to return to France on his brother-in-law's yacht.

So he could well be unaware that Percy was the Scarlet Pimpernel, if he had been recruited by one of the lieutenants, as it were. There seemed to be little secret about who some of the League members were; the big secret was the identity of the Pimpernel himself. That would make sense in terms of testing Armand's trustworthiness.
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Old 12-21-2018, 02:21 AM   #85
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Good point about Armand's thoughts on Percy. I have just gone back and looked at that chapter again. He had been on a visit to England and was now to return to France on his brother-in-law's yacht.

So he could well be unaware that Percy was the Scarlet Pimpernel, if he had been recruited by one of the lieutenants, as it were. There seemed to be little secret about who some of the League members were; the big secret was the identity of the Pimpernel himself. That would make sense in terms of testing Armand's trustworthiness.
That Armand didn't know probably makes the most sense of those opening chapters. This is how I read it at the time, but my reaction was how unlikely it seemed that he wouldn't work it out (oh look, there's Sir Percy again) ... but I suppose, since Sir Percy is his brother in-law the coincidence might be less apparent.

I became less certain that Armand didn't know with the intrigue surrounding the incriminating note. However the exact contents of that are not revealed, as far as memory and quick scan can verify, so it remains feasible that the note was not explicit regarding Armand having met the Pimpernel in person, although I am at a loss to think of what he needed to say in a note that he could not have said in person before he left.
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Old 12-21-2018, 07:35 AM   #86
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Perhaps they wrote notes to each other because that was safer than meeting up and possibly being seen. The real problem was in not immediately destroying any correspondence, but without that, there wouldn't be anything to hold over Marguerite to get her co-operation.
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Old 12-21-2018, 11:58 AM   #87
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Perhaps the point of notes (aside from being a plot device) was so as not to be overheard?
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Old 12-21-2018, 08:34 PM   #88
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And/or perhaps the point of notes as a plot device is that it worked well on stage?

I seem to keep coming back to the thought of how much this book felt like a stage play. (Is that the rustle of changing scenery I hear as I turn the page to a new chapter? ) I wonder how many of its shortcomings might relate to translation from its origins - reading on to the subsequent books might reveal more.
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Old 12-21-2018, 09:36 PM   #89
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And/or perhaps the point of notes as a plot device is that it worked well on stage?

I seem to keep coming back to the thought of how much this book felt like a stage play. (Is that the rustle of changing scenery I hear as I turn the page to a new chapter? ) I wonder how many of its shortcomings might relate to translation from its origins - reading on to the subsequent books might reveal more.
I'd love to read the stage play for comparison's sake, but I was unable to find it anywhere. To me it didn't seem "stagey", though; the changes of focus were just a factor in its fast pace. The shortcomings, such as they are (and I don't see them as a significant factor) for me are related to the underlying credibility, and with this type of story if you're not willing to suspend disbelief you might as well move on.

I'm having fun picking flaws, but I still love it.
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Old 12-22-2018, 01:26 AM   #90
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Probably the closest we can get to it might be the Leslie Howard/Merle Oberon film. And of course we don't know what the original ending was in the play, as presumably Orczy used the altered ending for the book, given that the play became such a success.

While it definitely wasn't a five star read for me this time around (by comparison with my breathless excitement over it when 10 or 11), I have certainly enjoyed this discussion a lot.
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