Chapter 1: Pepper Memories
Percy wasn't the only one teasing people about pepper.
Written for the prompt "Andrew Ffoulkes, pepper."
In a parlor at Blakeney Manor, Andrew Ffoulkes was recounting one of the Pimpernel’s exploits. “...and then he set the pepperpot down, right in front of Chauvelin!”
“Percy never let Chauvelin live that down, did he?” said Marguerite.
“He certainly didn’t,” said Andrew, “but then the rest of us made sure Percy never forgot it either. We always made sure to have pepper no matter how poor the rest of our meal was. And then there was the time at Lord Portarles’ ball when Hastings almost sneaked pepper into Percy’s snuff. I talked him out of it.”
“Spoilsport!” said Marguerite.
Chapter 2: Pudding Memories
Andrew tells of one of Percy's less successful exploits.
Written for the prompt "Percy, bouncy."
“It wasn’t all fun and games, hanging out in the woods in France,” said Andrew. “Our privileged upbringings may have helped us speak perfect French, ride hell-for-leather, and have plenty of money for travel, but unfortunately that same privilege meant none of us knew how to cook. Do you remember when you tried to make hasty pudding, Percy?”
Percy groaned. “Don’t remind me!”
“What? Tell us about it!” begged Marguerite and Suzanne.
“He forgot to be hasty about it—let it cook all night. It was so solid it bounced when we dropped it. We made him eat it anyway.”
Chapter 3: Banana Memories
The Blakeneys find a use for every part of the banana.
Written for the prompt "Percy, banana."
“When that exploration vessel from the South Seas landed at Dover, everyone wanted some of its exotic cargo,” Marguerite recalled. “Unbeknownst to me, Percy bought several of an oddly bent yellow fruit. The next time we were hiding in a Paris hovel, he brought them out for dinner. The outsides were very tough and tasteless, so we cut them off and ate the delicious creamy insides.”
“The outsides came in handy, though,” said Percy. “We had dropped them where we sat on the stairs, and when soldiers broke in later, they tripped on them and fell in a lovely heap.”
Chapter 4: Clothing Memories
Sir Andrew Ffoulkes recalls his most harrowing moment.
Written for the prompt "Ffoulkes, ragamuffin."
“The first time we got off the Day Dream and Percy handed us costumes, it was quite a shock,” said Sir Andrew. “There we were, fine English gentlemen with brocaded coats, fine linens, and priceless Mechlin lace on our cuffs, and the fanciest and best-dressed among us wanted to transform us into ragamuffins. He put a torn coat on over an ancient shirt and shoved his stockingless feet into sabots. Nowhere was there even a grain of starch to be seen. I came closer to turning tail and deserting that day than I ever did in the line of fire.”
Chapter 5: Tricoteuse Memories
Marguerite's acting skills came in handy when she joined the League, but she still had things to learn.
Written for the prompt "Marguerite, knit."
“After I learned the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel, I sometimes accompanied the League to France and assisted in their rescues,” said Marguerite. “It was only a matter of time before Percy decided that for his latest rescue, we needed to both be tricoteuses sitting near the guillotine. He had done so many times before, and I already possessed all the costume pieces necessary to transform me into an old hag. It should have been easy.”
“But unfortunately,” her husband interjected, “in her fancy days as an actress she had never learned how to knit. I had to teach her.”
Chapter 6: Hummingbird Memories
Marguerite recalls her days in Paris.
Written for the prompt "Chauvelin, hummingbird."
Percy helped Marguerite into their carriage. “Your dress is lovely, m’dear,” he said. “Is it new?”
“No, I’ve had it several years,” his wife replied. “When I won my first big role, a friend told me that I needed to dress fittingly if I was going to be the talk of the town. So—he bought me some new Parisian gowns.”
“Please tell me the friend who dressed you up like a jeweled hummingbird wasn’t our dear Monsieur Chauvelin.”
“I’m afraid it was.”
“How can he have such good taste in gowns when he can’t even tie his own cravat?”
Chapter 7: Rose Garden Memories
It was hard to enjoy a ball when your husband was risking his life in France.
Written for the prompt "Yvonne Dewhurst, roses."
“To those of us left at home in England, it seemed that we were being left out of all the fun,” said Suzanne. “It was painful to go to balls and pretend to be normal, if perhaps just a bit annoyed that our husbands had gone off fishing again. Marguerite and I often visited just to be able to worry about our husbands’ safety without revealing their secrets to the general populace. Yvonne would come also, after she married Lord Tony. We would wander the rose gardens at Blakeney Manor, and tell stories about our husbands or memories of Paris.”
Chapter 8: Lake Memories
"Sink me if that lake wasn't wider than it looked!"
Written for the prompt "Percy, water."
“I always thought ‘sink me’ was a harmless expression,” said Percy. “But then there was the time we were preparing to rescue the Delacroix family. Dewhurst found a lovely little lake near our campsite and insisted that we all go swimming. Do you remember that, Ffoulkes?”
“I’m afraid I do. Dewhurst dared me to race across the lake. When we returned and were standing in the shallows, I made a harmless comment to the effect of ‘Sink me if that lake wasn’t wider than it looked,’ and everyone pretended to take me literally. I was dunked almost a dozen times.”
Chapter 9: Kite-flying Memories
Percy has to rescue Marguerite once again.
Written for the prompt "Percy rescuing somebody."
“Suzanne and I caught a bit of our husbands’ adventurous streak,” Marguerite said. “One afternoon, we decided to make kites and fly them in the gardens at Blakeney Manor. Suzanne’s could barely get off the ground, but mine caught the air just right. It flew up and caught on the chimney.”
“So Marguerite climbed out her bedroom window and headed for the chimney,” Suzanne recalled. “I stuck my head out the window and cheered her on. She reached the kite easily, but couldn’t find a way back. We had to wait until Sir Percy returned and could carry her down.”
Chapter 10: Poetry Memories
Being a fop is more work than people think.
Written for the prompt "Percy, frou-frou" (not that I stuck very close to this).
“Convincing everyone that I was a brainless fop actually involved a sizable time investment,” Percy said. “The poetry that I would claim was ‘all done in the tying of a cravat’ actually took me several hours of thought while sitting in the shadow of the guillotine or riding across the countryside.”
“But it was all worth it,” Andrew said, “when you could fool everyone with an inane laugh and a poem like:
“With lace and starch and crisply tried cravat,
A gentleman of English stock is armed.
He knocks the fashion-lacking Frenchman flat
By knowledge that our tailors aren’t alarmed.”
Chapter 11: Flower Memories
How did Percy decide upon the Scarlet Pimpernel as his emblem?
“How did you choose the Scarlet Pimpernel as your emblem, Sir Percy?” Lady Ffoulkes asked.
Percy smiled in recollection. “We happened upon the lovely little wayside flower while we were on our first mission of mercy in France. Andrew spotted it first, I think.”
“I just remarked that it reminded me of home. Making it our symbol was all your idea,” said Andrew.
“I had been wondering furiously how I should sign my note to the prison-keeper,” Percy explained, “and the Pimpernel was much easier to draw than my previous ideas of an English flag or the coastline near Dover.”
Chapter 12: Soap Memories
Ffoulkes and Dewhurst were just trying to protect the refugees.
Written for the prompt "Percy, soap."
“We hid in lots of basements,” Andrew recalled. “We had a very nice one in Orange. Dewhurst and I were there, guarding refugees, when we heard troops nearby. We panicked, and decided to fortify the basement somehow. It was such a nice basement, after all.”
“What did you do?” asked Suzanne.
“Poured water on the staircase, then scrubbed the steps with soap until they were extremely slippery.”
“It worked, too. The first person to enter the basement slipped on the top step and went flying. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a French soldier.”
“Nearly broke my demmed leg,” said Blakeney.
Chapter 13: Rock-throwing Memories
Armand and Jeanne have come to visit.
Written for the prompt "Armand St. Just, rock."
Armand and Jeanne were sometimes present at the Blakeneys’ reminiscence-filled evenings. Jeanne was shy in the presence of people she respected so highly, but Armand jumped right in.
“I thought you had already climbed up to the driver’s seat,” he was saying acerbically one Friday night. “If I’d known you were still down among the horses, I never would have thrown that rock.”
“Well, it’s a little late for excuses four years after the fact,” said Blakeney.
“Right,” said Armand. He sighed and looked up at his leader and brother-in-law. “I am sorry you were hurt though,” he added quietly.
Chapter 14: Gentleman Memories
Happy birthday, Percy!
Written for the prompt "Percy, birthday."
Andrew Ffoulkes stood up at the end of dinner, and the others followed suit. “A toast,” he said, “to the bravest English gentleman I’ve ever known. To the man who would never send you closer to the guillotine than he was willing to go himself, to the man who devised the most brilliant and daring plans I’ve ever known, to the man who mastered disguise so even our dear friend Chauvelin couldn’t recognize him unless he chose to reveal himself—to my best friend, Percy Blakeney. Happy birthday, Percy.”
Wine glasses clinked. “Happy birthday, Percy,” their friends and family echoed.
Chapter 15: Hideuses Memories
Percy has a bad dream.
Written for the prompt "Chauvelin, nightmare."
It was one o’clock in the morning, but the League’s monthly gathering at Blakeney Manor showed no signs of ending. Marguerite, Suzanne, and Yvonne were giggling over a new dress pattern from Paris. In the ingle-nook, Ffoulkes and Dewhurst reminisced about one of their more thrilling escapes. And on a couch hidden behind the harpsichord, Sir Percy Blakeney was indulging in a nap.
Suddenly, Percy jumped to his feet, exclaiming, “Monsieur Chambertin, votre cravate est hideuse!”
Marguerite hurried over. “Don’t worry, chéri,” she said. “Chauvelin isn’t here.”
“But wherever he is, I’m sure his cravat is still hideous,” Andrew added.