For our sixth day of Pinkorama, Colleen and Pam bring us “The American peep takes on ‘The World’ news”, taken from The English Wife.
In the bitter cold winter of 1899, well-bred spinster Janie Van Duyvil takes the unthinkable step of seeking out a reporter at the World building on Park Row, determined to discover what really happened to her brother and his wife. Her brother, Bay, was found stabbed at his own Twelfth Night ball at his Hudson Valley estate, his wife missing, possibly drowned. The papers– including The World— are screaming MURDER SUICIDE!
But Janie is convinced they’re wrong. And she’s determined to get to the truth. Even if it means risking her reputation by teaming up with World reporter James Burke….
Janie is, of course, in mourning for her brother, Bay. She’s also discreetly veiled– because no one expects a gently bred Knickerbocker to be calling on a journalist in Park Row.
They come to an agreement beneath the statue of Nathan Hale (Nathan Peep?) in City Hall Park.
Will Janie and Burke be able to work together to unravel the dark truth? Stay tuned….
Thank you, Colleen and Pam for bringing Janie and Burke so vividly to life! (To Peep?) I can just picture all the newspaper peeps slaving away at the presses and the little news peeps hawking papers….
For your amusement, here’s a snippet from the scene in question:
Above her, Nathan Hale gazed off into the clouds, scorning her weakness. Here was a man who hadn’t folded in the face of danger. He had been executed here, on this spot, just a little more than a century before, giving his life so that a principle might stand.
Janie twisted her gloved hands together, wishing she had brought her muff. “Does this mean that you’re accepting my proposition, Mr. Burke?”
“On a condition.” The corner of that flexible mouth twisted. “Haven’t you been told that when one makes deals with the devil, Miss Van Duyvil, there are always conditions?”
That was a bit much, even under the circumstances. “Wouldn’t Mr. Pulitzer be Mephistopheles? He is the man in charge.”
“Making me nothing more than a lowly demon at the Prince of Darkness’s call? You put me in my place, Miss Van Duyvil.”
“I doubt that,” said Janie regretfully. “What do you require of me?”
“Honesty,” he said bluntly, taking her by surprise. “And I’ll give the same to you.”
Honesty. It was little enough in theory. But with the golden dome of the World looming behind them, it felt like a great deal indeed, knowing that any careless word might be printed tens of thousands times over, projected to everyone with the three cents to buy the evening edition.
The wind had risen, shaking the bare branches above their heads, making Janie’s veil flutter wildly. The wind made Mr. Burke’s coat flap around his legs, but he stood solid all the same, providing a wind-block of sorts.
Janie made up her mind. “I will deal fairly with you, if you deal fairly with me.”
Mr. Burke held out a gloved hand. “My word on it.”
Stay tuned for the seventh and last 2018 Pinkorama, appearing here tomorrow!