For the past eight years now -- ever since the true story of The Scarlet Pimpernel was put on record by the present author -- these gentle, kind, inquisitive friends have asked me to trace their descent back to an ancestor more remote than was Sir Percy. Strangely enough his history has never been written before. it is to the man himself -- to the memory of him which is so alive here in Haarlem -- that I am indebted for the true history of his life, and therefore I feel that but little apology is needed for placing the true facts before all those who have known him hitherto only by his picture, who have loved him only for what they guessed. The monograph which I now present with but few additions of minor details, goes to prove what I myself had known long ago, namely, that the Laughing Cavalier who sat to Frans Hals for his portrait in 1624 was the direct ancestor of Sir Percy Blakeney, known to history as the Scarlet Pimpernel. So it must also come from those members of the Blakeney family in whose veins runs the blood of that Sir Percy Blakeney -- who is known to history as the Scarlet Pimpernel -- for they in a manner are responsible for the telling of this veracious chronicle.
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