When last we left this freakshow, Jew Mike (!) had gotten his tangential revenge on Lady Hawley and her dragoon lover by stuffing the body of her husband's valet into their favorite cask of wine, and Timothy Tickels (!) had been taken for a ride by the Duchess Duvall. (Only, not the kind of ride he wanted, unfortunately.) So let's rejoin the Duchess and the Chevalier, her "brother," in progress, shall we? They're hanging out in her boudoir now that Tickels has been chased off and his wallet lightened, and they proceed to ring up the Department of Back Story and request a special delivery. I love shit like this, man. I live for this. Okay, so not only does the Duchess recap the scene we just saw from her own POV, like this couldn't have been accomplished simultaneously at all, it's a scene that the Chevalier was watching through the keyhole anyway. And then they start telling each other stuff they already know: "Of course, as you know, dear Chevalier, I am no Duchess, nor even your sister, which is of course quite convenient since we are doing the nasty, but rather the illegitimate daughter of an alcoholic washerwoman and an organ-grinder. You know, the kind with the dancing monkey? Yeah. I loved that monkey. Good times. So then I was a chorus girl at the opera but then the Phantom burned that down, which kind of sucked, but fortunately I met you when I was fourteen and our statutory love could not be stopped! And thus, here we are, defrauding nasty old leches left and right." "Indeed, my fair Duchess! And I am no Chevalier! I'm not even French! My father was a limey thief who taught me to pick pockets! But then he shot some woman's poodle--" "Oh, I know, how dreadful that was!" "--and got hanged for his troubles. But now I let you do all the work and just bat cleanup after you've gotten these sicko freaks into compromising positions!" "Yes, but how will we continue after you marry Miss Alice Goldworthy, you bastard?" "Oh, that's just another scam, darling, really! No, it is! Why are you looking at me like that? Really, it is! EXCUSE ME, I NEED TO GO COUNTERFEIT SOME MORE BANK NOTES NOW."
So meanwhile, Tickels is all frustrated and embarrassed because he's had crotchety old Colonel Randomness swoop in from nowhere and rescue Fanny's fanny, and then had the "Chevalier" bust up his "thing" with the "Duchess," so he decides he's gonna get Fanny no matter what, and he hires Jew Mike (!) for this purpose. Specifically, to live under Fanny's bed until the opportunity arises to kidnap her. But the problem is, even though Tickels has a rogue servant in the Goldworthy house (where Fanny's living with Alice. What? Don't you live in close quarters with all the other lead characters in your book?) on his payroll, he's only sending a Supersecret Getaway Carriage around between midnight and one. So if, for whatever reason, Jew Mike (!) can't grab her during that one hour, he's gotta stay under the bed until the next night. Seriously, I think he just lives under her frickin' bed for three days. The servant brings him food and booze and stuff. Fanny's, like, hearing these very quiet BURRRRRRRRPs under her bed and tripping over gnawed chicken bones and the servant's like, "It's the cat. It's totally the cat." ("Woof, woof!" "Cats say meow, you simp!" "OW!")
So here's the best part from this section. Seriously, it's awesome. Jew Mike (!) is living under Fanny's bed, which is freaky enough, but then Fanny's maid Matilda tells her the following story: Matilda ALWAYS looks under the bed "every night of the year" because Matilda's cousin Bridget--"Biddy"--came home from a party and got into bed in her tiny servant's room in the attic, but she woke up in the middle of the night distressed by a "toddy" she'd had to drink and reached under her bed. Now, the book doesn't say this, but clearly, we're meant to understand that she's reaching for a pisspot, for lack of a better word. Well, instead, she finds a man's nose. And she pulls the nose out. And attached to it is the servant guy who sleeps in the room next to her and kind of has a thing for her and has been "bothering" her for a while. And she faints dead away with a scream of terror. And half an hour later, she comes to, and he's still there, and no one has noticed. Like, she screams bloody murder and nobody cares. So she marries the guy. Seriously: "She felt so kind of put out about the whole matter, that she agreed to marry Tom, if he would promise never to say nothing about it. I heard this story, miss, from Biddy's own lips, and it's true as gospel. So that is the reason why I look under my bed every night, to see if anybody is hid away there; because the very idea of having a man under a body's bed, is so awful!"
And then Matilda leaves, and neither Matilda nor Fanny look under the bed. I KNOW!
So Jew Mike (!) is kickin' it under Fanny's bed and enjoying himself. No, really: "Now, like a naiad at a fountain, does she lave that charming face and those ductile limbs in the limpid and rose-scented waters of a portable bath.... The amorous mirror glowingly reflects her young and budding charms, as she coquettishly admires the loveliness of her delicious little person, half-blushing at the sight of her own voluptuous nudity. Little does she suspect that the savage eyes of a concealed ruffian are gloating with lecherous delight upon her exposed form!" Bom-chicka-wow-wow-wakka-wakka-chicka-bo
I'll spare you the scene where Jew Mike (!) also watches her change clothes since I have to go to class now, but when I come back, I'll tell you all about Alice's wedding night, which is HILARIOUS.