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Ellington Feint is a fictional character that appears in the All the Wrong Questions series.
She is first introduced after Lemony Snicket's fall from the hawser connecting the Mallahan and Sallis properties in Who Could That Be at This Hour?. She is standing on a ladder, and helps Snicket get down from the tree he has dropped into.
Ellington is shown to be very cunning and mysterious, often tricking Snicket in order to get what she wants. While she is somewhat disloyal to Lemony and his friends, often leaving them in order to work with the Inhumane Society, she is shown being very loyal to her father, Armstrong Feint. She worked with Hangfire, but only to get her father back.
Ellington is the daughter of Armstrong Feint and her primary motivation through the All the Wrong Questions series is to rescue him from Hangfire, who she believes has abducted him. She becomes entangled in Hangfire's schemes, stealing a statue of the Bombinating Beast, destroying Stain'd by the Sea Library and repeatedly lying to Snicket and his associates for the safe return of her father.
Who Could That Be at This Hour?
After leading Snicket into Handkerchief Heights, Ellington explains that she is in Stain'd-by-the-Sea tracking a man called Hangfire, who has kidnapped her father. Snicket, for most of the story believes Ellington Feint has no connection to the mysterious theft of the Bombinating Beast statute. When the police arrive to interrogate her and Snicket, she wraps up the Bombinating Beast like a parcel to hide it from the police, and later sends it to herself at Black Cat Coffee. To fool Snicket into thinking the statue has been mailed to him, she mails another package filled with coffee beans disguised as the Bombinating Beast to S. Theodora Markson at The Lost Arms. After saying goodbye to Snicket, she gives police the slip and abandons the shack in Handkerchief Heights.
Two days later, Ellington goes to Black Cat Coffee to collect the statue and runs into Snicket there. Having already hidden the statue in the Library, he confronts her about her motives. She reveals that Hangfire has hired her to steal the statue in exchange for her father. While Snicket refuses to give her the statue, he does promise that he will help her to find her father.
The following morning, Snicket and Ellington take the statue and return it to the Mallahans', with the help of the police. During the ride, however, Ellington switches the statue for another bag of coffee beans. She is last seen running into the forest with the statue in hand.
When Did You See Her Last?
Some time before the events of the book, Ellington meets Cleo Knight at Black Cat Coffee. They devise a plan in which Ellington would be disguised as Cleo, appearing around town and telling various witnesses that she (Cleo) is going to run away to the circus. To make the disguise more convincing, Cleo dyes Ellington's hair blond and bought her a coat similar to hers from Dicey's Department Store.
Ellington made one appearance at Partial Foods, purchasing a box of Schoenberg Cereal, before proceeding to go to the residence of Nurse Dander. Knowing that Cleo's experiments in creating an effective invisible ink would save the town soon, Ellington allowed herself to be held by the nurse, yet made sure to stall her by requesting for unnecessary items to create the ink with.
Her disguise as Cleo Knight ended upon being discovered by Snicket, and she angrily showed him a scrap of package paper with the initials I.S. Expecting him to be a member, Ellington was baffled at Snicket's evasive answers. She pressed on for tiny details regarding his job in the city, and then asked no further upon coming to the suggestion that she must escape. She revealed the hiding place of the Bombinating Beast statue, then gave it to Snicket accompanied with a request for her belongings to be safely returned to the attic of Black Cat Coffee.
Disguising herself as a boy with Snicket's coat, Ellington safely escaped Nurse Dander's apartment, then waited at Black Cat Coffee for Snicket. After the Officers Mitchum arrested her for fraud, Ellington prompted Snicket to entrust her with the statue of the Bombinating Beast. Later, she escaped the holding cell of the police station by unlocking the pin tumbler lock with her hairpin.
Shouldn't You Be in School?
Ellington appears after saving an unconscious Snicket from being taken away by Stewart Mitchum. She introduces herself as Fliene N. Gottlin, an anagram that she used as an alias in the Wade Academy. They spend sometime in her room, where Snicket reveals himself to be a member of VFD, and she also has a moment of weakness in crying for her father. Snicket notes that he cries too, while doing his best to hide it. Together they sneak away to meet Moxie Mallahan, Kellar Haines, Ornette Lost, Jake Hix and Cleo in the academy's library.
Ellington then leads Snicket to a fire pond, where an unknown but dangerous creature ( the Bombinating Beast) is living. She and Snicket go on a hayride and Ellington shows Snicket the book Caviar: Salty Jewel Of The Tasty Sea that she was hiding in her purse. Knowing the Inhumane Society will try and burn the library down, Snicket takes Ellington there. Stew is waiting there and starts the fire with Ellington's book, but Ellington activates the sprinkler system, destroying the books but stopping the fire. Arriving at the library, the officers Mitchum arrest her for destruction of property.
Why Is This Night Different To All Other Nights?
Ellington is found by Snicket on the train before Hangfire approaches and shoots her with a dart. She pretends that she is hit by the dart and dies, when in reality she survived.
Snicket hides Ellington from the authorities (she is meant to be in the prison compartment) by harnessing her outside the train window. Ellington later betrays Snicket and his associates by handing Hangfire the statue of the Bombinating Beast, before Hangfire is revealed to be Armstrong Feint. Snicket summons the Bombinating Beast and pushes Armstrong Feint into its mouth, killing Ellington's father and distancing Ellington forever.
Ellington has jet black hair which:
- "Made the night look pale."
- —Lemony Snicket
As part of her disguise as Cleo Knight in When did You See Her Last? she dyed it blonde. It went back to being black in Shouldn't You be in School?. Some of Ellington's most iconic features include her eyebrows and smile, described below:
- "Her eyebrows were curved like question marks. . . she smiled a smile that could have meant anything."
- —Lemony Snicket
Ellington has green eyes, and is slightly taller than Lemony Snicket.
Having had to disguise herself on a few events, Ellington assumed the following disguises:
- In When Did You See Her Last?, Ellington disguised herself as Cleo Knight, fooling others into thinking that she is the real chemist in question after planning the disguise with the real Cleo. She continued to wear her own raspberry colored hat that was a giveaway to who she really was.
- In Shouldn't You Be in School?, she enrolled into Wade Academy and adopted an alias made from an anagram of her own name: Filene N. Gottlin. Her only physical change as Filene was that she started to braid her hair.
- Who Could That Be at This Hour?
- When Did You See Her Last?
- Shouldn't You Be in School?
- Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
- Ellington admits that she is afraid of wildcats.
- "Ellington" might come from Duke Ellington, a composer and pianist, while Louis Armstrong, another famous jazz musician of the same era, could provide the inspiration for her father's name, "Armstrong Feint."
- Ellington tells stories when she's nervous.
- "Feint" is defined as "a mock blow or attack on or toward one part in order to distract attention from the point one really intends to attack," and it is known that Ellington will do anything and everything to rescue her father, including distracting or deceiving her friends.