Pinkorama #2: “The Peepduction of the Crimson Rose”

For our second Pinkorama of 2021, the mother and daughter team of Carla and Rowan whisk us away to London in 2003– with a side of Mary Poppins!– in this scene drawn from The Seduction of the Crimson Rose.

That Eloise.  She’s always daydreaming and going off into somewhat disorganized flights of fancy when she should be concentrating on her dissertation.

She’s meant to be concentrating on visiting the archives of the Vaughn Collection, that very choice Mayfair museum, but instead, she can’t resist daydreaming about her upcoming date with Colin….

Here’s the scene as Eloise sees it in her head….  (Because don’t all dates involve parasols and Dick Van Dyke?)

Here they are, just dancing away– complete with penguins!

Eloise, of course, is way up in the clouds…..

Colin is natty in a big red bow tie.  (The penguins appear to be having thoughts about all this.)

Yep.  Definitely some penguin snickering going on on the side.

Don’t snicker too loudly, penguin.  Eloise is armed and dangerous.  Miss Gwen would be SO jealous of that parasol.

Note that Colin is staying on the non-parasol side– with his hat tipped rakishly over one ear.  Wise move, Colin.  Wise move.

So many thanks to Carla and Rowan for turning Eloise’s flight of fancy into this fabulous, penguin-filled extravaganza!  You know this IS exactly how Eloise imagines herself.  And that Colin Selpeep looks quite sweet….

Head back here tomorrow for Pinkorama #3!

For your amusement, here’s the relevant passage from The Seduction of the Crimson Rose:

The cause of all this chaos and confusion?  I had a date.  A real, live date with a real, live boy. 

If this doesn’t seem exactly stop the presses sort of stuff, then you’ve clearly never experienced the soul-sucking self-doubt that comes of a year without so much as an attempted grope.  And the boy in question…. Think a blond Hugh Grant without the sketchy past, or Errol Flynn without the tights.  Unlike my other exes (and most Robin Hoods) he actually spoke with an English accent.  Which made sense, because he was English, born and bred on the sceptr’d isle, as British as HP Sauce, crooked teeth, and the Queen Mum’s hat collection.  What single anglophile of a certain age wouldn’t be smitten?

In my own defense, I hadn’t come to England looking for romance.  As a fifth year graduate student with an increasingly angsty dissertation advisor and a research grant that didn’t quite pay my rent, I didn’t have time for men– at least not live ones.  Unfortunately, the dead ones could be just as frustrating as the live ones.  After three months hunched over a desk in the British Library manuscript room, three months of endless train rides to obscure county records offices, three months of assuring my advisor that, yes, everything was going just brilliantly and of course I would have a chapter for him by January, I was still no closer to my goal: the unmasking of the Pink Carnation, the flowery spy whose very existance gave Napoleon an intense allergic reaction.

The fact that a whole legion of intensely interested French agents, as well as several successive generations of scholars had also failed ought to have clued me in.

But when has that ever stopped anyone?  It’s like the search for the Mines of Solomon or the lost City of Gold; the fact that no one else has found it before just adds to the challenge.  I’m sure the men who perished in the jungles of Mexico didn’t say, “Oooh, let’s go die on a hopeless quest!”  No, they dreamed of coming home draped in gold and covered with glory.  My goal wasn’t gold but footnotes, the coin of the scholarly realm.  Otherwise the impetus was the same.  The fact that many scholars smugly insisted that the Pink Carnation had never existed in the first place, that he was an imaginary folk hero invented to sell papers, or a sort of shadow puppet invented by the War Office in the hopes of scaring Napoleon only spurred me on.  I’d show them. 

Or not.  For a while, it was beginning to look like not.

But every now and again, once in a hundred years, despite all the nay-saying and the accumulated weight of scholarly truths, someone gets lucky.  This time, it was me.  I don’t know what it was that made Mrs. Selwick-Alderly decide to allow me access to a cache of family papers never before open to the public.  Perhaps I reminded her of a long-lost daughter, or she might simply have taken pity on me for my pathetic and bedraggled air (I’m frequently bedraggled and after three months of fruitless dissertation research, I was feeling pretty darn pathetic).  Whatever the cause, in her cosy sitting room, I had found not only the secret of the Pink Carnation, but something more, something that came in a tall, blond, and, at that point in time, very irate package.     

That’s where Colin came in.

Ah, Colin.  I was staring happily into space, contemplating the wonder that was Colin, when an annoying squawking noise permeated my reverie.

“Huh?” I said brilliantly, still mentally wandering hand in hand with Colin in a Technicolor wonderland complete with dancing munchkins.  I was wearing a floaty frock that flitted daintily about my knees as Colin swung me in a happy circle beneath the cerulean sky.  All that was missing was Dick Van Dyke, although, given the look in Colin’s eye, Dick would have been decidedly superfluous.



  1. Carrie on May 12, 2021 at 9:51 am

    Too cute, ladies! Nice parasol!

  2. Elizabeth (AKA Miss Eliza) on May 12, 2021 at 6:54 pm

    PENGUINS! PS I’m saying them like Benedict Cumberbatch.

    • LynnS on May 12, 2021 at 9:00 pm

      Or actually not saying penguins-like Benedict Cumberbatch! 😂😂😂
      (Thank you for the laugh, Miss Eliza! I needed that this evening.)

  3. Carla on May 12, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    🙂 it was so fun! Rowan did all the work really!

  4. Mary D. on May 13, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Such a fun scene!

  5. […] The Peepduction of the Crimson Rose by Carla and Rowan, featuring Colin as Dick Van Dyke and dancing penguins (I love those […]

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