The Ersatz Elevator

From Academic Kids

The Ersatz Elevator is the Book the Sixth in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. It is preceded by The Austere Academy and succeeded by The Vile Village.

Mr. Poe is a banker in charge of the affairs of the Baudelaire orphans. He is supposed to help them, but he is never very helpful. He probably is a member of V.F.D. because of the following:

In Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, listed under disguises, there is an OperaGoer's disguise, which is listed as a Top Hat, Dark Coat, Formal Shoes, and Money, to give the appearance of wealth. Interestingly, every single other disguise listed on there is something we've seen, except for this, which sounds suspiciously like what Mr Poe wears.

Mr Poe is also always dropping them off in the care of someone who is in VFD, or closely related thereto. Count Olaf and Justice Strauss, Uncle Monty, Aunt Josephine (whose husband was in VFD, before he died), The Lucky Smells Lumbermill, which made the Emerald Wood for the VFDer's houses, Prufrock Prep, which is very possibly a VFD Training School, Esmé Squalor, and Hector. From then on, Mr Poe is gone.


1 Chapter One
2 Chapter Two
3 Chapter Three


Chapter One

In Chapter One, Lemony Snicket promises to the reader that the book they are holding in their two hands is of two books in the world that will show them the difference between the words "nervous" and "anxious". As the story begins, the Baudelaire orphans are brought to their new guardians by Mr. Poe, who, by the way, considers the words "nervous" and "anxious" to mean the same thing. As they approach 667 Dark Avenue, the Baudelaires' new home, the doorman explains to them that they won't be able to use the elevator to get at the penthouse, not because it is out of order, but just due to its outness. When asked, the doorman also tells that there are either 48 or 84 floors to the penthouse. Mr. Poe says goodbye and sends the children to walk up there alone, otherwise he would miss his helicopter.

Chapter Two

After a detailed description of the long march upwards, the Baudelaires are shown to the reader as standing in front of the door of the penthouse. As the door is opened, they are welcomed by Jerome Squalor, who offers them a martini without alcohol, then he tells them about his friendship with their mother.

Then the reader is introduced to Esmé Squalor, Jerome's wife, who explains that the orphans could not be adopted earlier because they were 'out', then. Now they're 'in'. Then Esmé informs them that light, elevators and the clothes they are wearing are 'out'. Afterwards, the couple asks the children a bit about what they have done, and about Count Olaf, then they get bedrooms. A bit later, light becomes 'in'. As the Baudelairs watch the tall trees on Dark Avenue being cut down mercilessly, they wonder what would happen to them when orphans were 'out'

Chapter Three

After a description of the life at 667 Dark Avenue, Esmé mentions that it is boring to listen to the Baudelaires' worries about the Quagmire triplets, then gives them pinstripe suits she has bought for them beacause they are 'in'. However, the Baudelaires were dwarfed in comparison to the pinstripe clothes. Then, Olaf approaches.


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