A/N I was with my family by the checkout counter at Trader Joe's when a brightly colored box of Jelly Beans caught my eye. It occurred to me that I never ever eaten Jelly Beans.
We left with a box of Jelly Beans, and my sister and I opened our first box of Jelly Beans in the van. She quickly decided that they were rather gross, and that she didn't like them, and that I could have the whole box. Yummmm!
I continued to eat these newly-found treats, enjoying them thoroughly. Then I started offering them to her to tease her. (We're both old enough that we're best friends and we tease each other heaps without ever getting mad.)
"You know," she said, after rejecting a perfectly good Jelly Bean, "You should write a FanFic where Sir Percy is eating Jelly Beans and keeps bothering Chauvelin with them."
So I did, and I ate Jelly Beans while I did it.
Scarlet Jelly Beans
Chauvelin worked his way through the fashionable Englishmen, their equally fashionable Englishwomen, and the occasional aristocratic French refugee. This crowd was almost unbearable. The women were the worst, the rich women, with their vast gowns and flapping fans, barely veiled their sneers at him. The men were slightly better, but they were mostly staunch royalists, or confirmed fops, or both. The whole ballroom oppressed him. He would never have come here unless he had to.
All evening, one particularly inane laugh had been grating on Chauvelin's ears as well as his nerves. Sir Percy Blakeney's laugh. It rang out often, and he knew that either there was absolutely nothing for Sir Percy to be laughing about, or there was altogether too much for Sir Percy to be laughing about. That man! Chauvelin cursed under his breath. His arch-enemy, his ultra-nemesis.
If only he could catch him. If only he could catch him, discredit him, humiliate him, destroy him! Anything! If only he could get his hands on some damaging little scrap of paper, defame the darling Sir Percy and ruin the renowned Scarlet Pimpernel.
There was that blasted Lord Tony Dewhurst, a member of the League, smiling and nodding… And that idiot Sir Andrew Ffoulkes, another of that League, winking and laughing. Enjoying themselves to the fullest, were they?
That inane laugh rang out again, and this time he caught the lazy, accompanying voice that followed it, "But no, I told them, really, 'twasn't the thing to be had! You wouldn't dream of what trouble I had…"
Chauvelin turned away as loathing filled him. He would have to bide his time. He was certain that the League members were going to slip some secret note between each other at some time during the night; he would just have to wait and keep watch.
He watched each one of the men he knew to be members of the league, and the minutes stretched into hours.
Lord Tony finally made move that warranted suspicion on Chauvelin's part: he moved to a more secluded hallway, set his snuff box on a lavishly skirted side-table and raised his quizzing-glass in Sir Andrew's direction. A swift glance showed that he, Chauvelin, was closer to the tantalizing snuff-box than Sir Andrew was.
All the waiting was set at naught, and the ridiculous Englishwomen were neutralized, as he made his way to that piece of spy-work. Anticipation welled up in him, Sir Percy was nowhere in sight! He could snatch the snuff-box-!
He had his hand outstretched …
"Ah! My good friend, Chaubertim!"
Sir Percy clapped him on the shoulder from behind. Chauvelin whirled around to face Percy.
"Err, what…?" Percy peered down through his quizzing-glass at Chauvelin's hand. "Were you planning to pinch some-one's snuff-box? Oh, ha! Pinch some-one's snuff-box! 'Tis monstrous funny, though I do say so myself."
Chauvelin pretended to smile.
"I daresay there is something a little more… er… well, something-or-other… amusing, I suppose… than snuff." Percy said brightly.
"What!" Chauvelin snapped. The prattle had gotten on his nerves too quickly.
Sir Percy laughed shyly, apologetically, "I'm afraid you weren't following me."
"No, no, not at all."
"It's these new things you see, that are so amusing: Jelly Beans." Percy rattled an open box, smiling. "I really never saw the such before… candies, all different flavors, all different colors, shaped really just quite like a simple bean!"
"Oh, hummm." This hadn't been in Chauvelin's plans.
"Mostly sugar, I'm afraid…" he inspected the contents label, "Err, well only 30 grams of it per serving… What do you say to that, Monshur Chaubertim?"
"Well, rather unsociable of you! I should at least think you ask would how big a serving is…." Percy took a green bean and ate it as he read to contents label again.
Chauvelin ground his teeth. He was under no circumstance going to ask how big a serving of Jelly Beans was.
He wouldn't have to.
"Why, sink me! 'Tis thirty-seven pieces! Monstrous lot of sugar then, I would say… but then, they are quite good!" a blue bean disappeared, "Would you have one?" Percy extended the box towards him.
"No, thank-you." He didn't feel like eating anything, and especially not some stupid, colored, flavored lump of bean-shaped sugar offered by this fake and foppish nincompoop.
"Oh, come now…!" Percy tossed a red bean in his mouth, "It really isn't that bad at all! Oh, hummm! This must be one of the "Strawberry" ones! Delectable! Quite delectable, really, I insist you try one!"
"No, thank-you." He would choke on it, even if he had wanted to try "Strawberry" which he didn't.
"No, to Strawberry? I am quite sorry…" Percy stirred the beans with his long slender finger and plucked of a purple one. "Grape, I believe," he announced, holding it up to the light before mouthing it. "It is grape and not bad at all for grape."
Chauvelin felt a strong desire to shove the whole box of Jelly Beans down Percy's throat, leaving him choking on it, and pinch Tony's snuff-box.
"Here, now, you needn't look so wroth, dear Chabertim," Percy interposed, "There are other flavors, too, if you don't want strawberry or grape…"
"Look here," Percy held out the box, "It says, 'Some are fruity, others are tangy.' If you don't like 'fruity' and you can try 'tangy'."
The box was so close to Chauvelin that he could smell the weird array of flavors, all mingled to together in an almost sickening aroma.
Percy withdrew the box and inspected the label again, "Well, you shall be disappointed, I fear me; there isn't a "Pungent Pepper" one…which no doubt, you would prefer."
"Thank-you for your sympathies, I'm sure." Chauvelin said, bristling with inner sarcasm, "But I don't care for Jelly Beans."
"No! What-? You don't…?"
"No." Chauvelin said flatly, and then he knew he had to have an excuse. "I … had a friend who died eating them once. He choked… while he was blithely popping them into his mouth… like YOU!"
"How most unfortunate!" Percy gave him a babyish, condoling look. And then he bite pearly coconut-flavored bean in two.
"Yes! Most unfortunate! Wasn't' it!" Chauvelin snapped.
"Well, I'm sure he was French, and it would have been the guillotine for him sooner or later… those French over there have to go some way or another, I suppose… and Jelly Beans would be more pleasant," Percy murmured, looking down at his Jelly Beans, "You know, these apple ones are really quite tart… I wouldn't be surprised if you might like them."
"No! SIR PERCY BLAKENLEIGH, I would not!"
"That's the pity then… though," he ate one, "That does mean there will be more for Lord Tony and myself." And another one, "Lord Tony's quite fond of them, too. Ah, "He raised his voice a little, "Tony!"
Lord Tony stuck his head into the hall way, "Percy!" He grinned, "Eating Jelly Beans, again, eh?"
"Quite so, but… Chaubertim simply refuses to even eat one,"
Tony laughed, "Well, I daresay the French are a bit odd when it comes to what they eat! Never mind it though, Sir Percy!"
"Well… I suppose I shouldn't mind it…" he said, "But I do hate to feel gluttonous," two pink jelly beans backed up this remark, "You know, eating all of them… Do have a handful, Tony?"
Tony most obligingly said he would and proceeded to procure a prodigal amount.
"Now there's a sporting fellow!" Sir Percy cheered, "Now, see, Chaubertim, it's not really that difficult to just take some."
"And e'en less difficult to eat t'em!" added Tony, fairly stuffing his face.
Chauvelin stared at Tony, quite overtaken by awe at such lack of etiquette.
"If you will excuuuuse us, Lorrrrrd Tony," Chauvelin said, tersely, "Sir Percy and I were just talking,"
"Ah, yes, do go share some with Ffoulkes," Percy encouraged, patting Tony on the back.
"OH, well! By all means! Don't let me keep you," Tony grabbed a few more Jelly Beans and went away behind Chauvelin.
"And you're quite sure you don't want any?" Percy asked Chauvelin.
"I am quite sure."
"Not even a licorice flavored one?" Sir Percy asked, eating a black one.
"Cherry?" He offered him a red one.
"Lemon?" He tried a yellow one.
"Lemon and Lime?" He questioned, poking a greenish one.
"No, and NO!"
"Mango, then?" He asked, taking an orange one. He put it back.
"Blue-Berry?" He peered at a sky-blue bean through his quizzing-glass.
"Pomegranate?" He inspected a speckled red one, and then he ate it. "Hm-mm!"
"NO! Allow me to make it very clear. I. Do. NOT. Wish. To. Consume. ANY. Of. Your. Jelly Beans!"
"Wh-" Sir Percy started, fingering dark-greenish one.
"You May Share Them With Lord Tony, Or Sir Andrew, Or Lady Marguerite, Or His Highness, Or Anyone Else You Wish, Except For ME!"
"Err, well then… If you feel that way about it…"
"Alright then… Ah!" (orange Jelly Bean,) "Here comes Sir Andrew! Good evening, Sir Andrew!"
Chauvelin was ready to choke, regardless of having a Jelly Bean in his mouth of not.
"Good evening! Tony …. Er, conveyed your wishes to share Jelly Beans?" Sir Andrew said.
Chauvelin thought he sensed a slight hesitancy in Sir Andrew's voice. Or perhaps it was a slight unwillingness, or a slight dread….Whatever it was, it was slight, and Chauvelin decided that he must have been mistaken.
"Quite so! Do have some? Chaubertim has conveyed his wishes to not eat any, and I hate to feel like a glutton," Of course, Sir Percy re-enforced this by eating two more Jelly Beans.
"Ah! Well…" Sir Andrew didn't look overly hungry.
"Do have a handful? And take some to Lady Suzanne, too?"
"Ah, well, she… doesn't care much for them."
"Oh!" Percy exclaimed, "Could it be the French in her? Chaubertim, you see, doesn't like them either."
"Ahem, it could be quite possible!" Ffoulkes put his hand is the box, but he didn't take all that many.
"But then," Percy ate another two, "he did have a friend who died choking on some -" Percy broke off as Sir Andrew began to choke. "Oh, dear…!"
Sir Andrew was fairly doubled over. Percy thumped him on the back.
"Quite a nasty experience, I daresay…" Percy said concernedly, once Sir Andrew was no longer choking.
"Quite." Said Sir Andrew, still red in the face, "I believe I might be the better for a glass of water; do excuse me."
"By all means," Percy waved his hand, "Poor Sir Andrew." (See Note #1)
"Poor Sir Andrew indeed." Said Chauvelin through his teeth. He wanted Percy gone, "Perhaps you ought to go to ensure that he doesn't experience any further difficulties."
"Oh, no, he's quite capable, I believe, …er… when it comes to drinking."
Chauvelin had a snide remark on his lips, but he knew it would only give Sir Percy more fodder for more conversation, such as this conversation was. "Oh, good," He really wanted to rid himself of Percy's company –and Percy's stupid Jelly Beans!
"Not yet I don't!"
"Well… er, if you weren't quite so … so… hasty, you might like Jelly Beans. They do take some time eat…"
Chauvelin seriously began wishing that it had been Percy who had been choking on the Jelly Beans.
"First, you see, you must chose a color, and once you taste, you must as… er … ascertain –I believe it is- which flavor it is… there are several scarlet ones, but they aren't all the same flavor, And then it does take a little while for the chewy part in the middle to -"
Chauvelin had a brilliant thought and broke in, "I must say the stickiness that comes from these delightful Jelly Beans must be a sore trial,"
"Ah, you don't know the half of it!" Percy's face lit up,
"Well, then, I shan't keep you any longer; you must be simply dying to wash your hands."
"You are quite – !"
Sir Percy bowed deeply and left. (see Note #2)
Chauvelin watched him leave, waiting for him to vanish completely from sight.
He turned back to the side-table. The snuff-box was still there! It had been bumped over a little, but it was still there!
He swiftly looked around, and then he picked it up and strode away to an empty room.
Here it was. In his hands. Now to look inside -!
He opened the lid.
His eyes widened when he saw what lay inside.
His hands shook.
There inside was a scrap of paper…
"We eat them then, we eat them now,
- Frenchies won't eat them anyhow- !
Do you want scarlet? Or do you want green?
That tart, delightful Jelly Bean!"
And there beneath the paper lay…
Al l that trouble for a snuff-box full of Jelly Beans!
A snuff-box full of red Jelly Beans!
No, not red… they were Scarlet!
He couldn't stand it.
Several Jelly Beans spilled and fell to the floor as his hand began to shake.
This was all too much. He wasn't about to get down and pick them up.
He hurled the box and the rest of the Jelly Beans away and hurried away as they scattered on the floor.
He could only hope that Percy would choke.
But that wasn't likely.
Note #1: Sir Andrew hated Jelly Beans and had pulled off the choking bit in order to get out of eating them.
Note #2: Percy only bowed deeply to hide a large, triumphant grin.
The sentence "Some are fruity, others are tangy" comes from a box of Trader's Joe's Gourmet Jelly Beans, and is the property thereof. The flavors, colors , and nutritional facts mentioned were also taken from the same box of Trader's Joe's Gourmet Jelly Beans.
I am not responsible for any subsequent addictions to Jelly Beans by Scarlet Pimpernel fans.