Happy Friday to one and all! Before we dive into this week’s Pink chapters, I have a winner to announce. Congratulations to Judy Westmoreland, winner of an e-copy of Tracy’s Grant’s latest book, The Mayfair Affair. Judy, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your book. Thanks again to Tracy for answering all my questions and providing the prize!
And now, over to Amanda and Holly for our regularly scheduled Friday Pink goodness.
If you’re reading along with us, we’ll cover Chapters 21-28 this week, and finish up the book next Friday.
We last left off in the middle of tension both at Malmaison and Selwick Hall.
Augustus is stalking around the house, leaving Emma with the guests inside. He’s had quite a day – from Jane’s delicate rejection, to Emma’s warm embrace, and he’s desperately trying to get a grip. He runs into none other than Miss Gwen – and her parasol – who reminds him of exactly what he’s supposed to be doing – spying. She reveals that Mr. Fulton has arrived with a second crate, in addition to the wave machine for the masque. Mr. Fulton has been working closely with Emma’s cousin Robert Livingston, and Miss Gwen indicates that Augustus should be using Emma to get to the truth. Of course, though that is exactly what he meant to do a month ago, the idea of “using” Emma now leaves him indignant. He doesn’t have time to argue though, when he learns that Marston is inside, exactly where he left Emma.
Marston leads Emma outside, and asks her to get a hold of Mr. Fulton’s plans for him. He’s been cut out of a deal with Fulton and Livingston, and Emma is his way in – until Augustus interrupts their conversation. After Marston makes his exit, Emma reveals to Augustus what everyone already knows – that Mr. Fulton is demonstrating his steamship on the river tomorrow for the Emperor.
The demonstration goes well, but for the part where the model ship sinks at the hands (or rocks) of Caroline Murat’s son (Caroline being Napoleon’s sister, who is full of scorn for Hortense and her mother, and, by association, Emma). Augustus can’t figure out why the accumulated force of France’s admiralty is present for the demonstration though.
Augustus is distracted by the sight of Emma conversing with her cousin Kort. What he doesn’t know is that Kort offers her a marriage proposal – one of comfort and kindness, but lacking romantic love on both sides – and Emma turns him down for the hope of something more. At the same time, he warns her against staying in Paris, where her safety is based on her relationship with Josephine and Hortense Bonaparte, as there are rumors of the Emperor looking for a new wife to make Empress.
Augustus, trying to juggle both his job and his heart, invites Emma to converse with him in the rose garden, where he hopes to mend their friendship and eavesdrop on the Emperor both. Neither task goes exactly as planned – Augustus chastises Emma for running away,
“You won’t marry your cousin and you won’t join the court. You won’t go back to America, but you won’t settle at Carmagnac. You didn’t even want to write the masque until someone cornered you into it…no risk, no reward…You play with people and ideas, but you drop them before they get too serious, in the nicest possible way, of course”
Emma responds in kind,
“You can’t even commit to an outer garment, much less anything else, and you talk to me about running away…You live in rented lodgings. You have no friends that I’ve seen. And what about family? No wife, no children, no parents, no siblings…That’s what normal, grown-up people do, Augustus. They don’t go around posturing from salon to salon, spouting ridiculous bits of verse. They get married. They grow up.”
As Augustus manages to royally mess up with Emma, as luck would have it, he does find himself alone in the Emperor’s summerhouse, staring at Fulton’s indecipherable plans – which he steals and places under his coverlet in his room. At the same time, Emma learns from Fulton himself what the plans are for: a submarine.
Emma is equally cut up about the row, and she finds herself defending Augustus to Jane and Miss Gwen, who suddenly are coming across as mean-girls about the poet. Jane warns that Whittlesby isn’t exactly as he seems (as she knows), but Emma trusts that she knows him best. She realizes that she’s happy with Augustus, and willing to take a gamble. She heads off to apologize, just as he’s stepping out the door to do the same.
Insert apologizes – and desire – and suddenly Augustus is leading Emma over to his bed, exactly where he had just placed his stolen submarine plans.
At Selwick Hall
Eloise drops the bomb on poor grumpy Colin that he must face down Nigel Dempster in his own home, as well as his jerk of a cousin/step-father. Thankfully they realize that Dempster has weaseled his way into the scene with an invitation from Eloise’s self-appointed competition, Joan Plowden-Plugge, and not by messing with Serena again. We meet the Micah Stone who is in charge of the movie and get to see Jeremy falling all over himself to suck-up. Then Jeremy reveals himself! He congratulates Eloise on her new teaching position at Harvard- the position she hasn’t accepted or told Colin about yet making it clear that he’s been reading her email. Jeremy thinks Colin isn’t interested in Eloise for anything but her researching abilities. It turns out there are rumors that the Lost Treasure of Berar might be at Selwick Hall!
What? Last I recall from The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, the treasure didn’t exist! Or it was in India? Do you think Eloise will stumble upon it? Will Augustus hide the plans before Emma can catch him?