Hello everyone! I know I promised a video recap to conclude Pearl in the Mist, but as I mentioned before we’re having computer problems. As such, I’ve decided to write the last recap for the book in order to finish it up, since I have access to other computers for typing, but not for videos. So….here we go!
When last we left that ridiculous redhead, Miss Stevens had just been fired for helping Ruby, though it wasn’t presented that way. Ruby is now depressed and wanders around Greenwood like a sleepwalker. No, really, she says that. She gets a letter from Louis, who says that he’s enjoying Switzerland and that his eyesight is improving, but he wants to know about Miss Stevens’ resignation, and Ruby can’t bear to answer him. A few weeks later, however, she does get cheerful news–Beau is coming to visit! When he does, they can’t leave the grounds since Daphne never gave permission, but they go off and find a secluded place to have a picnic. And totally get it on. Guys, you do know how babies are made, right? Right? Never mind. FORESHADOWING. So Beau leaves and when Ruby gets back to her dorm she finds her roommates in a frenzy as they’ve found out that Mrs. Ironwood is soon to pop in for an inspection. Luckily, Samantha’s cleaned up most of her and Ruby’s room, so they seem good to go when the Iron Lady shows up with Mrs. Penny and Deborah-Susan Peck. At first things are going well, but then, uh oh! Mrs. Ironwood finds a bottle of rum in Ruby’s dresser. Ten points from Hufflepuff and Ruby’s confined to her room for the rest of the day. Ruby confronts Gisselle, who naturally denies having anything to do with it, and Ruby decides just to accept her punishment calmly. Said punishment is to scrub all of the bathrooms in the school every Saturday night after dinner. Naturally, the head custodian feels so bad for Ruby that he does some of the work for her, and what she does do is amazing and sparkly and perfect. Ruby is the best at cleaning bathrooms!
On the third Saturday, Ruby finds that someone has clogged all of the toilets in one of the bathrooms and gone on a flushing spree, leaving her a disgusting mess that the janitor has to come and help her with. The smell ends up making Ruby so sick that she has to run out of the room. (uh oh). Two days later, she wakes up to find that she’s still sick, and assumes that the cleaning products are to blame. (uh oh). When she has to leave class that afternoon to be sick again (uh oh), she goes to the nurse. The nurse has Ruby describe her symptoms (tired all the time, throwing up, peeing a lot, gets dizzy, missed a period, uh oh) and BTW has Ruby noticed any physical changes? Just that her breasts are getting new blood vessels, but Ruby just thought she was still developing. Yeah, see, not so much. It kind of sounds like Ruby’s pregnant, says the nurse, but only Ruby knows if that’s possible. So is it?
Ruby, naturally, bursts into tears and the nurse has to leave her alone for a while. When her crying dies down, the nurse tells Ruby that they’re going to have to tell her family and Mrs. Ironwood so that “decisions” can be made. About an hour later, Mrs. Ironwood and the nurse come in to tell Ruby that Daphne’s sending the car for her. Ruby’s to pack all of her things–she’s expelled. Gisselle comes in and sees Ruby’s packing, and for once is flabbergasted when she hears the news. Maybe because Gisselle understands birth control, but that’s just me. Gisselle whines about being left all alone at Greenwood, but Ruby’s got no time for that noise right now. Gisselle runs off to call Daphne and demand to go home too, but no dice. The car comes and Ruby leaves Greenwood.
Was…was that a Lee Greenwood joke, Swamp Thing? A terrible Lee Greenwood joke? No. No, shoo. You came back for this? Shoo!
God, sorry about that. ANYWAY. Ruby gets home and Daphne immediately calls her into the office. Daphne notes that she’d always expected that it would be Gisselle she was facing in this situation, but looky here, it’s Miss Perfect. She remarks bitterly on how easy it is for some people to get pregnant while other, more deserving folks like her can’t, but the end result of the conversation is that the limo is waiting outside to take Ruby to a clinic, where a doctor Daphne knows is waiting to perform an abortion for Ruby. When she gets back, Ruby will re-enroll in school in New Orleans, with the cover story that she was too depressed after Pierre’s death to continue at Greenwood. Oh and don’t bother trying to call Beau, as his parents have sent him to France. Damn, they don’t mess around. This is the last time Daphne will help cover Ruby’s mistakes, so please leave and get along with the plan.
I’ll rush this part since it’s unpleasant: Ruby gets in the car and is taken out of the city to a dark, deserted-looking building. The usual V.C. Andrews creepy nurse is waiting for her and hustles her inside. Ruby’s taken to a creepy, dimly-lit examination room, where a doctor is waiting. He tells Ruby to get up on the table and starts prepping his instruments, which are all described horrifyingly, and Ruby realizes that this is not a good idea and runs back out to the limo. Okay. Now, at no point does Ruby ever really decide “No, I want to have the baby”, she just becomes (understandably) afraid of the surroundings and leaves. She just reacts to what other people do, good lord.
She tells the driver to take her home, but on the way they stop at a literal crossroads: New Orleans to the left, Houma to the right. Ruby gets out of the car and tells the driver to go home and tell Daphne that she’s rid of Ruby. Then Ruby starts walking to Houma. She stops at a phone booth and tries to call Beau, but sure enough, he’s gone. She starts walking again, but is hailed by a kindly truck driver who is reasonably appalled that she’s planning to walk all that way alone, and gives her a ride. Once dropped off in town, she finds another pay phone and calls Paul. His sister Jeanne answers and is thrilled to hear from Ruby, and calls excitedly to Paul that Ruby’s back in town. Paul’s thrilled (naturally), but doesn’t want Ruby to go to her old house without him. He comes to pick her up and she tells him all of her trials. He tells her that Grandpere Jack has been even worse lately and the shack is pretty much trashed, but Ruby wants to go back anyway since it’s her only home now. Yes, a torn-up, health hazard of a shack occupied by a raging man is the best place to focus on your pregnancy. Paul says that he’s got a good job now, and plans for a house, and will take care of her, but Ruby wants to make it on her own. As if.
They arrive at the shack and it’s just as bad as Paul said, and the insides are a hundred times worse. Luckily, since it’s hard for Jack to get up the stairs, the top part of the house is pretty intact, but things have been torn apart downstairs in Grandpere’s endless search for Catherine’s non-existent fortune. Paul and Ruby hear Grandpere Jack screaming in the backyard, and they go out to find him naked and caked with mud, swinging a burlap sack around his head and yelping. When he sees them he panics, and when Ruby identifies herself, he starts screaming at “Catherine” that he won’t be blamed and he takes off running towards the water. They hear a splash and more yelling, but by the time they get a light and find him, he’s dead. RIP–oh never mind.
Early the next morning, Grandmere Catherine’s old friends, having heard of Ruby’s return and Jack’s death, come over and start fixing up the house. Ruby can tell that people think she came back to be with Paul, but since she can’t dissuade them without telling them the truth, she decides just to let them believe it. Gross. That night after the neighbors leave, Paul and Ruby hang out and Paul tries to convince Ruby to marry him. Damn it, Paul. Ruby’s like “Um no, because you should marry a lady who isn’t your sister, plus I could never love you like that, plus I’m your sister, plus your dad will know the truth, also I’m your sister.” Paul asks if she’s still in love with Beau and when she admits it, he gets angry but tries to gloss it over. She’s been away from him for like a month, Paul, god. He tells her that the people in Houma will think that the baby’s his anyway. And how is that? Ruby’s been gone for a year, ass. Ruby says she’ll tell the truth if she has to and Paul says that no one will believe her, and leaves. Ruby’s life falls back into Houma patterns pretty quickly, but she works so hard at making things to sell at her roadside stand that she never has time for her art. Paul points this out to her one day and tells her that if they got married she’d have time for her art again, but Ruby doesn’t want to hear it.
BECAUSE YOU ARE SIBLINGS, PAUL.
Once she starts to show, people starts talking, and soon enough, her grandmere’s old friends come over to tell her that she should make Paul own up to what he’s done to her. Ruby tries to explain that Paul’s not the father, that it’s someone from New Orleans, but they don’t believe her, just like Paul said. One afternoon, she’s surprised when Paul brings her a letter that Gisselle sent to her through him. Summary:
*Gisselle found Paul’s old letters to Ruby when Daphne had the maids strip Ruby’s room in New Orleans (after Gisselle got her choice of things) and that’s how she got the address
*Gisselle’s back in New Orleans because word of Ruby’s pregnancy spread all around Greenwood “somehow” and it was too disgraceful for her to stay
*Daphne’s told New Orleans that Ruby missed the SWAMPS too badly and ran away back to them
*Beau’s indeed in France, going to school and dating some rich descendant of Louis Napoleon. Beau wrote to Gisselle a month prior to ask for Ruby’s whereabouts, but Gisselle said she had no idea, only that she thought maybe Ruby had gotten married in some swamp ceremony
*Before Gisselle left Greenwood, Louis came looking for Ruby and was upset to learn what had happened
*Gisselle hopes that Ruby will write back, as it’s “sort of nice to have a notorious sister” and Gisselle’s having great fun making up stories about Ruby.
Ruby’s plenty upset about the letter, and more so when Paul points out that Gisselle’s news about Beau might not be all lies. He tries again to get her to be with him, but she refuses. Time moves on and by the time Ruby reaches her ninth month, Paul’s decided that he needs to spend every night at her house in case she goes into labor. He comes over one afternoon with the news that a hurricane is a’comin and, given the known rules of literary/cinematic/televisual pregnancy, that’s a good time for Ruby to have the baby. Ruby refuses to go wait out the storm at his parents’ house and feel all judged, so she and Paul prepare to weather it out. When the storm hits, it hits hard, and they both realize that they should have left. Furniture is thrown around, things are blown off of shelves, and when the eye passes over them, they manage to look outside and see the damage that’s been done. When the tail of the storm swings around, it’s worse, and Paul realizes that they’re going to have to get under the house or risk being blown away or hit by broken glass. But, of course, when they try to leave, Ruby goes into labor. She has the baby while the storm is a’raging and I would make some terrible joke about Paul delivering the baby, but I think we’re all uncomfortable enough. So she has the baby, and it’s a little girl, and the storm subsides as Ruby kisses her daughter.
The house survives. Ruby names her daughter Pearl, after the complexion of the baby in the dream she had way back in the prologue. Paul is always around, fixing up the house, bringing things for Pearl, and the neighbors are even more convinced that he’s Pearl’s father and that he should marry Ruby. A few weeks after Pearl was born, Ruby gets another letter from Gisselle, in response to a letter Paul has apparently written to her. Beau isn’t coming back from Europe, but is planning to stay and go to medical school (aren’t they all like 17?) and is in love with some noblewoman. Daphne and Bruce are getting married and Gisselle thinks it’d be “wild” if Ruby showed up with Pearl. Gisselle is grateful that Ruby had Pearl because now she can harass Daphne about being a grandmother. Oh Gisselle.
Paul asks Ruby again to marry him, and this time she says she’ll think about it, rather than flat-out saying no. (Say it with me now: Oh, Ruby.) After he leaves for the day, she sits with Pearl out on the galerie and asks Grandmere Catherine for a sign. She listens to some owls and looks at a marsh hawk, and she knows in her heart that Grandmere is with her and will help her to make the right decisions.
But we don’t get to know them yet, as that is the END of Pearl in the Mist. Oh what a long road this has been. I’d like to thank y’all for sticking around, and I hope you continue to do so! Coming up is the fun fest that is All That Glitters, which features (just as a teaser): marriages galore, more skeevy Bruce-ness, Confederate role-playing, and more servants who do voodoo. Can you even stand it? I hope to start that engine soon, but until then, I have a sunset to wander into with my favorite Swamp Thing. Au revior!