“Marital Issues,” A Play

A comedy from the French Revolution, based on The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Act I: The First “Appointment”

Counselor: Okay, so, what have we come for today?

Percy: We’ve been having some problems with our marriage lately.

Counselor: So, how did this all start?

Marguerite: We had just gotten married about a week before, and I thought I would him about the time I indirectly lead a whole French family to the guillotine.

Counselor: Well, that does seem like an issue we should take care of. Your thoughts, Sir Percy?

Percy: Well, I had at that time, been a strong disbeliever in the ways of the French Republicans and what they had been doing at this time. So, I was quite distressed, especially since I had just recently decided to covertly do something about it. Hence, the League of the Scarlet Pimp-

Marguerite: (interrupting angrily) And you never told me about it! You’re not completely off the hook here! Why didn’t you tell me?

Percy: (serenely) I assure you, it was because of my great precautions to not be revealed who I was or what I was doing.

Marguerite: But you did not entrust me with your secret? Why did you not trust your own wife, for pity’s sake?

Percy: As I have said, it was because of my great precautions. And, I would have revealed it to you, had you not told me of your little “mishap,” if you would.

Marguerite: But-

Counselor: (interrupting, politely) Excuse me a minute, Lady Blakeney. I had just wanted to clarify something. Sir Percy, you did not tell her that you were, in fact, the Scarlet Pimpernel, because you heard that she had a role in the capture and execution of the St. Cyr family prior to your marriage?

Sir Percy: Precisely.

Counselor: Madame Blakeney, if I may, you did not very well want to tell Sir Percy of your past mistakes, but you did because you believed he would forgive you for your wrongdoings and you could have a happier marriage, knowing that you trusted each other with your secrets?

Marguerite: Very much so, sir.

Counselor: (leans back in his chair slightly) So now we’re getting somewhere. Now, if I may be a little bit nosy, Madame, how did you come to know that Percy was in fact the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Marguerite: Oh, yes, very well. It was the day he had left quite early in the morning to “head north,” which was also a dirty lie (giving Percy a contemptuous look), as he was heading to France, the complete opposite way . . . Oh, please excuse me, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Where were we?

Counselor: You were-

Marguerite: (interrupting) Ah, yes, telling of when Percy left without telling me the whole truth, right. Thank you, sir. Yes, so I had plans for wonderful Suzanne to come over that day and just before she had arrived, I ventured into Percy’s office. As I looked around, examining all his possessions, I caught a glance of a letter on the neatly organized desk. It had a scarlet pimpernel stamped on it, and that is when I realized that Percy was in fact, the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Counselor: I see. Now, when did you learn of this, Sir Percy?

Percy: Well, Sir Andrew Ffoulkes actually, informed me via a discreet letter that arrived as soon as I had washed up on the shores of France, the bloody place. Excuse me, ahem, I meant to say that I had just received word that my Lady had heard of the secret and that he had been escorting her to France to save me. I was in no position to send word back, as I had to get to the Comte de Tournay as soon as humanly possible. And so I did, getting to Perè Blanchard’s hut to meet the Comte as well as Marguerite’s brother Armand, (with annoyance) whom she betrayed me to save. Anyw-

Marguerite: (interrupting angrily) Stop right there! I’ve heard enough of your lies and misgivings. I’m leaving to go see Suzanne, as I had planned to do today, but was rudely interrupted by this “appointment,” as you has so crudely decided to call it (stomps out of the room pouting and sobbing).

Counselor: Will she be all right?

Percy: She does that. Just give her a few days and she’ll be fine. I regret to say so, but I must leave. Thank you for your time, however. It was most . . . ahem . . . intriguing.

Counselor: At your service. Have a good day (Percy exits with a nod).

Act II: Resolution and Revolution

Percy: Alright, sir, we’ve returned, after dealing with our differences. At least in the slightest bit, anyway.

Counselor: Very well. Now, where did we leave off?

Marguerite: We were talking about how we betrayed each other and then I stomped off in rage.

Counselor: Oh, yes, right, I remember that like it was yesterday.

Percy: It was yesterday.

Counselor: Oh, yes, right. Please forgive me; I’m a little forgetful sometimes (nervous laughter).

Percy: Aren’t we all, from time to time?

Counselor: True, very true. Alright, enough chit-chat, let’s get back to the task at hand here. So, Percy, you are disappointed, not mad, because she betrayed you to save her brother Armand. Correct?

Percy: (nodding) Yes, right.

Counselor: (facing Marguerite) And you, Madame are upset with Sir Percy because he did not entrust his secret into your keeping.

Marguerite: Precisely.

Counselor: Now, we should be able to resolve this quite quickly and effectively if you two agree to listen to each other’s opinions. Do you both agree to this?

Percy: Very well, proceed.

Marguerite: Agreed.

Counselor: Perfect, now, Percy, it seems to me that she may have betrayed you for Armand, because she didn’t know you were the Scarlet Pimpernel. Do you see what I mean?

Percy: Of course. I was not disappointed in her for betraying me specifically, but betraying all the French aristocrats that I was to save, just to save one person, her brother Armand, who was, in fact, in my most watchful keeping. I would not have let him slip through my fingers so much as I would my own wife.

Counselor: What do you have to say, Madame?

Marguerite: (staring hard at the ground) That is very sweet and kind of you Percy, but you must realize, I didn’t know that you were the Scarlet Pimpernel, nor did I know that Armand was under your command. If the Scarlet Pimpernel were anyone else, they wouldn’t have known how dear he was to me, and that is why I betrayed you. You must realize this.

Percy: Alright, m’lady. I understand where you’re coming from. But why did you lead the St. Cyr family to their death at the guillotine?

Marguerite: My brother, Armand, had fallen in love with one of his daughters. Now, Armand and I were very poor, for our parents died when we were quite young, in fact. He took care of me, just like a father, and I did my best to mother him. (raising her voice) But, when he went to talk to St. Cyr about his daughter, he was ridiculed, beaten, and tortured, within an inch of his life! Oh, Armand! How bad he had been beaten, when he walked through the door tattered and bruised. I couldn’t just stand there and do nothing, I had to get back at them. And I know, it was the most wrong thing I could do, but I blackmailed them and got them sent to the guillotine. I have a pang of regret every time I think of it (eyes water).

Percy: (taking her in his arms) I see, Madame. Please forgive me for my harsh treatment of you over this whole debacle. I have not fulfilled my husbandly duties to you and I’m ready to start now. But, why did you not contact the authorities, or deal with them diplomatically?

Marguerite: They would have nothing to do with the “lower class,” which is what started this bloody revolution in the first place. Please forgive me, Percy. I love you, and I want it to be like it was when we fell for each other out of sheer love.

Percy: I understand. Please forgive me again for not dealing with this properly before. I promise to love you the way I was supposed to for the rest of our time (lightly kisses Marguerite).

Marguerite: (softy, smiling) I’ve been waiting for you to do that for a long, long time.

Percy: (mock bow) At your service, Madame.

Counselor: (clapping) Very good! It seems I was not needed as much as I may have thought previously.

Percy: (smirking) We have our ways.

Marguerite: You certainly do. I don’t know about me (chuckling).

Percy: Ah, yes, the wonderful world of Sir Percy Blakeney (chuckling).

Counselor: Ah, yes. Well, thank you for coming. That will be ₤250.

Percy and Marguerite: What?!?!?!?!?!?!

Counselor: Healing comes at a price, I’m afraid.

Marguerite: You didn’t even say anything in the past five minutes!

Counselor: It seems I have outwitted the “most clever woman in Europe.”

Marguerite: Not before I box your chubby face in!

Percy: M’lady, please. I have more than enough money to pay for this . . . ahem . . . expense, so to speak.

Counselor: And it would also seem I have conned the richest man in this great union (laughs heartily).

Percy: Shut up, or I shall give you something you will remember for the rest of your petty life. And it won’t be a custom-tailored sportcoat!

Counselor: I can live without your dainty luxuries. Now go, before I charge you highway robbery and become the richest man in all of Europe through one marriage counsel.

Percy: Fine, return to your life of thievery and robbery. I will not recommend you. You will regret your conning schemes!

Counselor: Begone! Or I shall . . . I shall . . . you know, I’m not quite sure what I’ll do.

Marguerite: That’s right! Because you’ll be too busy wallowing in self-pity, you won’t be able to think of anything else, you filthy slug!

Percy: Now, now, Madame, let’s not get nasty. I shall take you out for a spot of tea. Let us begone of this rat hole!

Marguerite: Yes, let us!

Counselor: Good riddance, you loonies!

THE END

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