Gentle Reader, Those of us who have read The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy know that Sir Percy Blakeney pretends to be an effete dandy. Unbeknownst to his wife, who cannot conceal her disappointment in her foppish husband, he smuggles people out of France during the French Revolution and away from danger. Sir Percy, despite his heroics, is a bit of a clothes horse. Here, then, is his opinion of cravats after he accidentally on purpose spills wine on Monsieur Chauvelin, for whom the public admiration for the Scarlet Pimpernel was a source of bitter hatred.
Sir Percy Blakeney to Monsieur Chauvelin: “Sir, my most abject and humble apologies. I’ve completely drowned your cravat! How can I possibley make amends for such clumsiness?”
Monsieur Chauvelin, Ministry of Justice: “It’s of no consequence. It’s only a cravat.”
Sir Percy: “Only a cravat! Oh, my dear sir! A cravat is the apotheosis of all neckwear! A cravat distinguishes a man of refinement from the merely ordinary. It sneers at the severity of the stock. It is the only item of dress that expresses true individuality. And whether it be made of lace or silk or the finest lawn it thrives on ingenuity, on originality, and above all, on personality down to the last skilled twist of bow or knot.”
Prince Regent: “Bravo, Percy! Bravo!”
Bravo, indeed! More on the topic
- The Art of Tying the Cravat: This blog
- The Regency Gentleman: Neckwear
- Bend it Like Byron
- The Scarlet Pimpernel: Streams on Netflix
- The Scarlet Pimpernel: on YouTube, Episode 1 and etc.
- The Scarlet Pimpernel: An Episode Guide
- Movie Costumes: Scarlet Pimpernel with Richard E. Grant, Elizabeth McGovern, Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour