For our seventh and final 2018 Pinkorama, Candace and Cassandra bring us… “The Peepinese Chamber”, from The Seduction of the Crimson Peep.
Candace and Cassandra write: In The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, Miss Mary Alsworthy, an incomparable beauty but unlikely heroine, experiences Lord Vaughn’s Chinese Chamber. This room of iniquity, first introduced in The Masque of the Black Tulip, is not quite what it appears and ensnares the attention of its occupants, much like the Stretching Portrait Room of Disney’s Haunted Mansion which also has no windows or doors. Mary meets with a drunk and bit slovenly Sebastian to discuss an assassination with the Black Tulip and ends up diverted into trading Shakespeare and a kiss.
Join me once again in Lord Vaughn’s Chinese Chamber….
Mary refuses to be intimidated by Vaughn’s triple entendres and his extremely toothsome decor.
Can Mary Alsworthy resist Lord Vaughn’s, ahem, refreshments?
The fire may be out, but the room still feels rather warm.
… and a kiss.
Note the hypnotic effect of the floor….
And an extra bonus outtake! Dr. Ian Malcolm (of Jurassic Park) auditioning for Lord Vaughn. What do you think? Should he get the part?
Thank you so much, Candace and Cassandra, for this extremely tasty rendition of Vaughn’s secret chamber! (I really, really want to eat that floor.)
For your amusement, here’s the scene starting from where we left off in “Can the World Buy Such a Peep?”
“Well, well,” said Vaughn mockingly. “What have we here?”
“I believe the usual greeting is good evening,” returned Mary, as Vaughn wavered in the doorway.
“My most abject apologies,” drawled Vaughn, sauntering into the room and kicking the panel shut behind him. “I had expected someone else.”
Mary stood primly beside the marble mantel, her hands clasped at her waist. “I’m sorry to disappoint you.”
Vaughn’s eyes conducted a leisurely inspection of Mary’s person, from the scuffed toes of last season’s kid half boots straight up to the folds of the hood draped around her face.
He lifted one eyebrow in a lazy tribute. “Did I say I was disappointed? On the contrary. I am merely rendered dumb by the unexpected apparition of such loveliness in my humble bachelor abode.”
Easing back her hood, Mary wrinkled her nose at the inlaid porcelain plaques, straight from the orient, the gilded dragons, the precious rosewood carelessly used to line the walls. “You have a curious notion of humility, my lord.”
“And what of bachelordom?” Vaughn propped himself against one of the priceless porcelain plaques as carelessly as if it were common plaster. “Now, there’s a curious thing, bachelordom.”
He was properly a widower, not a bachelor. Not that it made any difference. Either way, he could marry if he chose. He simply chose not to.
Mary permitted herself a sour smile. “I wouldn’t know. My only experience is of spinsterhood.”
“You sell yourself short, my dear.” With no regard for the antiquity of the materials behind him, Vaughn pushed away from the wall.
The movement overset his balance, and he stumbled a bit, putting out a hand against the wall to catch himself. Mary revised her earlier opinion of his dishabille. Not mere insolence, then, but—could the unflappable Lord Vaughn possibly be in his cups?
It was a practically unimaginable notion, but there was no denying the uncharacteristic flush lighting his cheekbones and a slight unsteadiness, almost but not entirely masked by the studied deliberation of his movements. But even that deliberation was just the tiniest bit miscalculated, like a drawing with the proportions off by the fraction of a hair. And what she had assumed was a shadow, in fact, upon closer viewing, looked suspiciously like spilled wine, a dark blot against Vaughn’s otherwise immaculate linen, in the general region of his heart.
The white linen of his sleeve billowed dramatically about his arm as he gestured grandly at Mary. “What mere mortal could aspire to such loveliness?”
“Anyone with ten thousand pounds a year,” said Mary caustically.
Vaughn clucked disapprovingly. “Can the world buy such a jewel?”
“And a case to put it into.” Mary matched his quote and topped it. Every now and again, Shakespeare actually said something sensible; Mary had always taken that particular line as her personal motto. “No one has offered me a suitable case yet.”
May I have a big round of applause for all seven 2018 Pinkoramae? Head back here tomorrow as the voting begins!