This post was written by Sarah, a guest moderator for the day! Make her welcome, y’all, and happy Friday.
Who to keep tabs on: (most of these are from last week, but just in case you need a refresher)
Eloise and Colin – our favorite modern day framing device
Cate the Clipboard Girl – an intern on the movie production crew that Eloise befriends
Serena – Colin’s sister of figuratively great heart and little spine
Jane Wooliston – aka the Pink Carnation, but let’s keep that fact from. . .
Nigel Dempster – (modern day curator of the Vaughn Collection), please
Emma Morris Delagardie – our American heroine, sarcastically named “the Grand Inquisitor for Poetical Excellence, Greater Paris Branch,” by:
Augustus Whittlesby – English spy masquerading as a terrible French poet for years upon years
Kortright Livingston – Emma’s cousin, who come to Paris expecting to bring Emma home, at her mother’s bidding
Georges Marston – a returning bad dude from Pink I – and Emma’s ex-lover from shortly after she was widowed
Napoleon Bonaparte – the Consul of France
Hortense Bonaparte – Step-daughter of Napoleon Bonaparte and good friends with Emma Delagardie
What’s going on:
Augustus is disappointed to discover that his “mysterious paper” that Emma has passed to Hortense is nothing more than a recipe for cough syrup, but remains amazed at Jane’s nearly omniscient knowledge of everyone’s goings ons. She also shoots down his notions that Emma has the plans for THE device – whatever it is that Napoleon Bonaparte is going to debut at his party in Malmaison.
Meanwhile, Emma has convinced her cousin, Kort, to take his turn on the boards, acting the part of Americanus in her masque. The New World cousins then meet up with Augustus and Jane. Jane acts as diversion and delver of details with Kort while giving Emma the chance for a tête-à-tête with the poet of dubious rhyming couplets and divine breeches. Oblivious to Emma’s tendre, Augustus was taken aback by the addition of Jane as the princess in the play. While they debated the amount and type of love a poet may feel for their muse, news comes that the French Senate had voted to make Napoleon emperor of the French. Emma was completely taken by surprise and quite shocked. She shared her astonishment and nostalgia for bygone simpler days with the Bonaparte family.
Then Emma blindsides Augustus. She remarks that Augustus has ceased speaking in rhyme and abused adverbs quite some time past in the conversation. This tears through his foppish poet persona with a small whispered observation. Instead of adding to the lies, he admits that he plays the part that others expect for a person of his profession and they agree to open honesty when speaking with each other. (With the silent and unshared stipulation on each side that their secrets stay safe.) What follows this illuminating conversation is several amusing and endearing notes between the two as their script and friendship unfolds and develops.
The scene then moves to Malmaison. Rehearsals are going well, despite Miss Gwen’s piratical perfectionism. Augustus awes the cast with his acting prowess, but refuses to affront his muses by becoming a thespian. Mr Fulton’s wave machine arrives at the last minute crated tightly and nailed shut. Augustus leaves the theater in a huff in search of a crowbar to release the mechanical device from it’s packaged prison after Emma attempts to warn him that while Jane is a lovely person, she is not interested in romance or being romantical. As lady luck would have it, he come across Jane in the gardens while looking for the tools.
Augustus tries to bare his love-filled soul to Jane, but she diverts and circumnavigates the conversation so he can never quite declare himself. She does it so well that the poet cannot help but know that it is deliberate. Jane simply isn’t interested and wants to keep him from embarrassing himself. He is heartbroken, but can no longer hide behind his rose colored glasses. He grabs the sought-after crowbar and returns reluctantly to the theater and Emma.
Awaiting the inevitable “I told you so,” he tells Emma of his heart-shattering discussion in the garden. Instead of gloating, she does her best to offer sympathy and comfort. At first he rebuffs her attempts, but her silver lining sensibility shines through and eventually he allows her to give him a shoulder to lean on – literally. To both of their surprise, he then tenders her a kiss — or two. At first Emma is elated, but then decides that he is merely using her as a warm body to ease his broken heart. She tries to leave the situation gracefully, but a befuddled Augustus won’t let things lie. Not wanting to lose his friendship, but internally seething at his obtuseness, she decides to avoid picking a fight by heading into the mansion, and right into Madame Bonaparte’s early arrived court.
The wife of the soon-to-be emperor offers Emma a permanent place in her court as a lady-in-waiting, but Emma turns it down demurely. She allows the lady to presume it is because she will be leaving France soon for America as Kort’s wife. She engages in a verbal fencing match with a pernicious lady and is shocked when Marsden makes an unwanted appearance.
In modern times. . .
Cate the Clipboard girl reveals how unpopular Dempster is with the crew. The scuttlebutt on set is he only got the job of consultant because of his girlfriend’s connections. Eloise suspects Dempster of going through her notes, computer files, and the Selwick family library looking for the Pink Carnation’s identity. Needless to say, Colin is less than thrilled that his sister’s ex (or is it not-so-ex) is now prowling his personal domain.
What is it exactly that Marsden wants from Emma? What is “the device” that Napoleon plans to unveil? Is there any possible way to make Colin’s day any worse? Should Eloise take the TF job back in the U.S.A.?
All this and more in the next exciting installment of The Garden Intrigue!