Now that I think about it, I believe this conclusion idea started when Provincial Lady included “dragon” the last time she sent a group of things. With dragon at the root, the things provided by Lord David Prosser of The Barsetshire Diaries set my imagination running down a most unexpected path. To do this set of things justice, and to keep you from having to read a really, really long episode, I’m going to divide the conclusion into three parts.
Thank you David for three remarkable things!
Cast of Characters
Things You Couldn’t Know
You’ve seen images that I thought suited some of the characters, but not all. I shared a photo of a very young Lucille Ball, although it didn’t look anything like the Lucy we know and love. However, the moment I saw that photo, I heard the voice of Lucille Ball as Pip — all grown up and narrating the story of her youth.
Ultimately all the characters in a story are “played” by the image in the mind of the reader. That’s a good thing, because I’ve never had a clear image in my mind for strapping Frankie the Fireman. But I’ve been sharing my other ideas with you as the serial progressed. One image I did not share, because it did not come from that era, was “Andy the Astronaute.” Right away I saw a younger Willie Garson. (You might know him from “White Collar” or Sex and the City.) I could see the friendship between him and Mona. Although unlike Stanford, Andy hopes the friendship will become a romance. On the other hand, Andy could easily look like Buster Keaton with those sad eyes.
You’ve already seen these photos. Don’t ask me how episode 21 (Underwear, Tasteless, Limestone) took my imagination to a Russian Countess, but it did just that. It was after Bepa Babikov came along that I saw a photo of a real-life countess that was simply the vision of Bepa’s elegance. It was just her. Then Fred Astaire, in a rather sulking pose, made me think of Boris.
Mona, as you know, looks a lot like Clara Bow, who was the original “It Girl.”
Now… where will this little 1920’s story go from the previous episode?
Three Concluding Things Episode 30, Part 1
Clasped Hands, Harpsichord, Pyx
I looked down at my clasped hands and told myself not to fidget. My eyes wandered absently around the amazing rose garden of the Ca’d’Zan mansion. I was vaguely aware of the cold bench on which I sat. Even at that time of year some of the roses still bloomed.
Mona said something and I jumped. I was so preoccupied that I didn’t even notice when she walked up. “Why so glum, Pip?” she said with the smile that made everyone like her. Mona the Movie Star sat down and put her arm around my shoulder and gave me a little hug. “You and Frankie have a little spat?”
I shook my head and gulped. Why did I want to cry? Why should I? There had never really been anything going on in the first place. Mona hugged my shoulder a little tighter. “Go ahead and cry if you want to, Sweet Pea.”
That name made me smile. It was what most people called my grandmother. Sometimes they called her Pip too. We both had P.I.P. as our initials. I brushed away a single tear. “No, we didn’t fight. I’m just feeling out of sorts. I thought Frankie liked me, but all through the trip here, he acted like I practically didn’t exist. It really doesn’t matter,” I said with a sniffle.
Mona handed me an embroidered handkerchief and I dried my eyes and blew my nose. A window was open, and somewhere inside we heard the happy voices of Countess Babikov and her friend Mable Ringling. “Please won’t you play, Bepa?” our hostess asked. Then I heard charming music from a harpsichord.
“It sounds like those two are having fun,” Mona said. “Why don’t we join them. It’s a little too cool out here. This bench is freezing my bottom!”
We stood to go inside. Movement caught my eye at the far end of the huge rose garden. It was one of the Fabros. However, all four of them looked so much alike that it was hard to tell them apart from that distance. He pushed back a thick leafy climbing rose and seemed struggle briefly with something. He looked over his shoulder and motioned to someone out of my view. Stepping forward he disappeared into the vegetation. Then two more Fabros followed, and finally a larger man that I recognized for Frankie.
Before I knew what my feet were doing, they were taking me quietly down that path. Mona grabbed my elbow, but followed. I made a shushing sound when she asked what was going on.
“I don’t know,” I said. “But I want to find out.”
Stay tuned for more of these three things (Clasped Hands, Harpsichord, Pyx — especially Pyx) in part two of the conclusion.