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Yesterday, I acquired a copy of The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition, and was intrigued to find a set of notes written by Lemony Snicket. These are my speculations regarding said notes.

BEATRICE AND BERTRAND

It seems as though the Baudelaire parents were expecting their home to be burned to the ground, and wanted to save their children from the fire. I am curious as to why they did not attempt to save themselves.

  • p. 2: "The three Baudelaire children lived with their parents in an enormous mansion at the heart of a dirty and busy city, and occasionally, their parents gave them permission to take a rickety trolley–the word 'rickety,' you probably know, here means 'unsteady' or 'likely to collapse'–alone to the seashore..." [On that particular occasion, the Baudelaire parents not only gave their children permission but encouraged them to leave the house, as the adults had some pressing business to attend to. This business was delayed infinitely due to death. Also note that the trolley has since collapsed, and its remains were recycled into the foundation of a hotel.]

THE BAUDELAIRE FIRE

Perhaps Count Olaf had something to do with the Baudelaire fire.

  • pp. 12-13: "Here and there, the children could see traces of the home they had loved: fragments of their grand piano, an elegant bottle in which Mr. Baudelaire had kept brandy, the scorched cushion of the windowseat where their mother liked to sit and read." [Curiously enough, Mr. Baudelaire's Brandy Bottle was found on the remains of the dining table, with no coasters nearby. This would indicate that either the coasters were burned beyond recognition, or the Baudelaires had received a visitor who had no manners whatsoever.]

It is pretty obvious in several of the books that Count Olaf enjoys drinking. And as he has no manners whatsoever, this note could imply that Count Olaf was the one who set fire to the Baudelaire mansion.

VERBAL FRIDGE DIALOGUE

Apparently Lemony Snicket was looking for a message from either Beatrice or Bertrand in the form of Verbal Fridge Dialogue, but to no avail.

  • p. 29: "...cardboard box that once held a refrigerator." [I have not been able to find this refrigerator, to my great dismay. Interested oarties would be advised to contact me through my publishers if they see a refrigerator at any time.]

THE SURVIVOR

If one of the Baudelaire parents did survive the fire, perhaps he or she had soon after concealed him or herself within the Fountain of Victorious Finance. Or perhaps Quigley was hiding inside this fountain, but I would be more convinced of this if I knew when the Quagmire Fire took place in relation to the Baudelaire Fire.

  • p.62: "...the Fountain of Victorious Finance..." [Readers of Book the Seventh will remember that fountains are like top hats in that they provide hollow spaces in which things can be hidden (please see my note to page 6). and I imagine the damp surroundings of a fountain's innards would be comforting if the person hiding inside had recently survived a fire.]

As Snicket says "person" and not "persons," I am very positive that he is not talking about Isadora and Quagmire. Besides, if readers of Book the Seventh remember their hiding in the fountain, he would not need to repeat himself.

PEPPERMINT ALLERGIES

I believe that the Baudelaire orphans' allergies to peppermints is a nod to their tendencies to become involved in unfortunate events.

  • p.134: "The two white faced women were arranging flowers in a vase that from far away appeared to be marble, but close up looked more like cardboard." [The Victorian art of flower arranging is a coded systen in which each flower in an arrangement conveys a certain message. Below are some flowers and their Victorian symbolism:
    • Aster: Cheerfulness in old age
    • Chrystantemum: truthful Datura: "I dream of thee"
    • Peppermint: cordiality, warmth of feeling
    • Fennel: worthy of praise
    • Nasturtium: heroism, patriotism
None of these are flowers believed to have been used that evening. Please see also my notes to pages 6, 18, and 62.

Thus the Baudelaires are "allergic," if you will, to "cordiality" and "warmth of feeling."

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE

  • p.162: "...just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it isn't so."
[LA BÉATRICE
Dans des terrains cendreux, calcinés, sans verdure,
Comme je me plaignais un jour à la nature,
Et que de ma pensée, en vaguant au hasard,
J'aiguisais lentement sur mon coeur le poignard,
Je vis en plein midi descendre sur ma tête
Un nuage funèbre et gros d'une tempête,
Qui portait un troupeau de démons vicieux,
Semblables à des nains cruels et curieux.
–C. Baudelaire]

I am aware that Charles Baudelaire was a real poet, but it did make me wonder whether the Charles of Lucky Smells Lumbermill is somehow related to the Baudelaires.

With all due respect, M. 03:33, April 16, 2012 (UTC)

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