Happy Friday! First off, congratulations to the winner of the signed copy of The Mischief of the Mistletoe: it’s carmabeth! If you will send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I will get your prize in the mail to you. As for the rest of you, don’t despair! There are still seven Pink books to go.
On to chapters ten through sixteen of Pink V.
Poor Arabella has realized that, if Catherine Carruthers goes for another night-time walkabout, she could very well lose her position at Miss Climpson’s. Her attempts to catch Catherine in the act lead to the hilarious scene where Sally, Lizzy and Agnes help Arabella round up a prowler. When Miss Climpson arrives on the scene, the carpets are covered in porcelain shards, furniture is overturned, and Lizzy Reid is sitting victoriously on the back of the phony music master, whose mustachios are drooping right off his face. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh at Miss Climpson or wonder why parents paid her to look after their daughters when she seemed more concerned about Signor.Marconi’s posture and breathing than what he was doing trespassing on school grounds at night.
Two incredibly sweet things happen in these chapters. First, we learn that Turnip has been watching over Miss Climpson’s at night from the gardens, with the occasional spot of relief from his valet, Gerkin (Lauren kills me). We know this is Sally’s school, but you don’t get the impression he’s standing outside all night in a wet British December from a sense of familial duty. Second, Turnip scales the trellis up to Arabella’s window. What follows is admittedly wonderful, but it’s important to remember Turnip’s intentions when he starts searching for ivy – he wants to talk to Arabella, and to make sure she’s okay. Everything that follows is icing on the cake, but I love that the only thought in Turnip’s head when he started scaling the walls was Arabella’s peace of mind.
And again, I have to say – poor Arabella. She’s having a rough time at Miss Climpson’s. Between worrying that Catherine’s behavior will get her sacked and trying to decide if Turnip’s intentions are honest, she has to deal with a terrible violation of her privacy. She returns from a day of Christmas shopping with Jane to find that her room has been vandalized. In addition to stealing the notebook that Arabella found during the altercation with Signor Marconi, the person responsible has damaged the majority of Arabella’s belongings. She doesn’t have much in the world to begin with, only a few dresses that aren’t school uniforms and a handful of nice accessories, all of which have been torn, stained or broken. This is a prime example of why I say Arabella is scrappy. She lets herself have a ten second pity party, and then immediately moves into recovery mode: “None of it was irreparable. Ink stains could be washed out; linen could be ironed; coral could be restrung.” She’s just been dealt a major blow, but she’s already got her game face back on.
Then there is the Christmas pageant scene, which is hilarious because it’s so authentic to the real life experience of watching or participating in a school play. I never thought about this before, but Lauren includes lots of plays in these stories! Mary and Arabella have both been involved in theatricals in some form or another, and I can think of at least two more examples of plays from later in the series. But I digress. Amidst the confusion of an entire class of teenage girls blundering on and off stage and forgetting their lines, Turnip and Arabella are having trouble communicating. I really did want to throw things at Arabella and tell her to quit being so cold to Turnip at several points during these last two chapters. But honestly, once you read the rest of the book and see what the majority of her experience is like with men of the ton, you can’t blame her. She doesn’t expect Turnip to care about her at all, because no one else ever has. EVER. Good thing we know that, as is the case with each of the Pink books, all will come to a happy end.
What were your favorite quotes or moments from this section of Pink V?