Scaramouche is a historical novel by Rafael Sabatini, originally published in 1921. A romantic adventure, Scaramouche tells the story of a young lawyer during the French Revolution. In the course of his adventures he becomes an actor portraying "Scaramouche" (a roguish buffoon character in the commedia dell'arte). He also becomes a revolutionary, politician, and fencing-master, confounding his enemies with his powerful orations and swordsmanship. He is forced by circumstances to change sides several times. The book also depicts his transformation from cynic to idealist. The three-part novel opens with the memorable line: "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." This line was to become Sabatini's epitaph, on his gravestone in Adelboden, Switzerland.
Andre-Louis Moreau, educated as a lawyer, lives in the village of Gavrillac in Brittany with his godfather Quentin de Kercadiou, the Lord of Gavrillac, who refuses to disclose Moreau's parentage. Moreau has grown up alongside Aline, Kercadiou's niece, and their relationship is as cousins. Because he loves her as a cousin, he warns her against marrying the Marquis de la Tour d'Azyr; however, she is ambitious and wishes to marry high, so she ignores him. A peasant, Mabey, is shot by the gamekeeper of the Marquis de la Tour d'Azyr, on the Marquis's instructions, for poaching. The idealistic Philippe de Vilmorin, Moreau's closest friend and a seminarian, denounces the act as murder. While pleading for justice with the Marquis, Vilmorin is provoked to a duel with the Marquis and killed for his "gift of eloquence", which the Marquis fears would set the common people against the clergy and nobility.
Moreau then vows to avenge the death by undertaking Vilmorin's work, even though Moreau himself doesn't believe in the cause. He sets off from Gavrillac for Rennes to the King's lieutenant in Brittany to see justice done. After being brushed off by the arrogant official, who refuses to act against a man of the Marquis' status, Moreau discovers a large political gathering where one of the speakers against the nobility's excesses has been assassinated. Much to the surprise of his peers (who thought him on the side of the aristocracy), he delivers convincing rhetoric, using Vilmorin's arguments. Moreau goes on to Nantes and, using the name "Omnes Omnibus", whips up the crowds there. These events set the stage for the French Revolution and make Moreau a wanted man.
Rafael Sabatini (29 April 1875 – 13 February 1950) was an Italian-English writer of romance and adventure novels. He is best known for his worldwide bestsellers: The Sea Hawk (1915), Scaramouche...More about Rafael Sabatini
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