Now I come to the Scarlet Pimpernel. It really is almost unbelievable, but this is just what happened. A magazine editor... asked her [in case you didn't know, 'her' refers to Baroness Orczy. This was written by her husband, Montagu Barstow] to call at his office. She went off. It was a regular London day, foggy and damp, and I didn't like her going off by herself, but she would go: The Editor told her he had an opening for a long serial story, but it must be of a very exciting and 'romantic' character. My poor wife came away from the interview feeling despondent -- she had done nothing but detective fiction so far and said she hadn't a romantic idea in her head. As she paced up and down the platform at the Temple underground station -- waiting for a train -- the place wrapped in fog and mist, she suddenly looked up and saw The Scarlet Pimpernel! She stood rooted to the spot and simply stared -- he came towards her and laughed and looked at her through his quizzing glass -- he was dressed in his caped coat and wore breeches and hessian boots: he passed her and she turned to watched him, but he had disappeared! She came home nearly frantic with excitement. All she could say was, 'I've found him -- my Hero!'
So you see the Scarlet Pimpernel does, in all reality, take a quiz sometimes at our world of to-day. Our author has often seen him since, for to her eyes he takes visible shape -- in fact, he sometimes 'barges in' when she is writing on quite different subjects, nothing to do with him at all. She looks up and finds him sitting against the angle of her desk, looking at her and smiling and she says to him, 'I'm not writing about you now, my dear man.' And she sees him smile and say, 'Oh, you think not-but I'm not demmed sure of it!'
And sometimes when she is dozing in a chair in front of the fire after her day's work, she feels he is there and looks up and finds him laughing quietly and looking at her through his quizzing-glass -- and he begins without any preamble:
'Now, m'dear, I must tell you what happened on the 3rd Brumaire in 179-- I was in Paris, you know, by the Seine, and it was a demmed disagreeable sort of day'
And he just tells her the whole story so that she is compelled to write it down -- and that's how it happens.
You may believe it or not-but it's a fact!