NOTE: This conversation runs backwards! For the benefit of regular readers the newest comments are put at the top.
Music Playing: The Quirinelles singing "Breathless"
Miss Barbara! How lovely to have you back!
Well, I know that you are all just on pins waiting to hear about my Cruisette on board La Sylphide (French, I have been told, is somewhat like English in that it is not always written as it is spoken. However, since it is such a pretty language I do think we can forgive it its idiosyncrasies, don't you?) Symone is quite right, it is an absolutely darling little boat - gleaming white paint with navy blue trim (in keeping with the nautical theme) from top to tail, and furbished with just about everything a girl could want: leisure deck, ballroom, Turkish bath, projection room and the most delightful little suites, all with tiny little round windows looking out over the water.
And the Caribbean is filled with the most breathtaking turquoise water, which in turn is teeming with brightly coloured tropical fish. Pettes, there is nothing like sitting on the deck, after an invigorating game of quoits, sipping a cocktail or two, whilst watching the sun slipping down over the horizon, providing a stunning backdrop for shoals of flying fish, diving in and out of the water. I was never one for Nature Studies whilst at school, but I think I can now see the attractions of the great outdoors rather more clearly.
But I haven't even mentioned the other guests yet! I am in, fact, rather better acquainted with Yvette, Madame de Bellevoir's younger sister, who came calling on my cousin Elysabeth before the pneumonia took her off to a Sanitorium in Switzerland. As you know though, Yvette was in town this Nativity (such a socialite) celebrating the festivities at the most fashionable private parties.
I was therefore, a little surprised to hear from the elder of the Bellevoir Brunettes, and at such short notice. But a blonde should be ready for whatever fun comes her way, and how much luggage does one need on a boat, anyway? I had my trunks packed and dispatched immediately and only just had time to drop my note off to you at the cocktail bar before setting sail on the late tide.
In all there were 12 of us, including our hostess. Surizanne Lenglenne, the brunette tennis champion, was perhaps the most celebrated guest on board. She looks as dashing in a sailor suit and deck shoes as she does in her tennis whites and had Isabel and Juliana (blonde heirs to the Van Feder fortune) beside themselves every time she walked by. Martine however, seemed far more interested in her travelling companion, "old friend" Lili Nile, chanteuse and film debutante. Agnes Frey, the writer and Ellen Spiegel, culinary expert, were quite an item. Ellen, in fact, was never seen more than a few paces from Agnes' side during the entire voyage. The other guests included a small party of Yvette's brunette friends, on Nativity leave from Seahurst, where they are in their final year of Officer training, and myself.
But pettes, my greatest revelation is that Madame de Bellevoir, celebrated Salon hostess and old school friend of Ariadne's own dear Symone, is none other than Mme.B. famous amateur detective, of whom, you will no doubt have heard through the columns of the International Press. Imagine how I felt when I found out that I was in the company of the brunette who solved the Case Of The Alligator Handbag and the Mystery Of The Veiled Waitress! Then imagine how I felt upon finding out that she was in the middle of a new case! It seems there is a ring of unscrupulous villaines, who have come across some kind of naturally occurring substance that, when applied to certain parts of the body in concentrated dosages, induces a state of romantic fervour and makes one quite irresistible to the opposite sex. What they are doing is offering it in the form of samples and gifts, and when the unsuspecting client puts in an order, substituting it for scented - and quite ineffective - lotions and pomades, which are sold for great personal profit. Mme.B. believed that this "love potion" might have originated from the Yucatan, which is one of the reasons why La Sylphide set sail for the Caribbean. Alas, her information was not correct, but she believes she is getting closer to the scoundrelles behind this confidence trick. The leader is thought to be a devilishly attractive brunette with a penchant for uniforms.
How exciting, eh? There is nothing like a good mystery to keep one's
interest piqued. Do come over and tell me what's been going on over the
last week or so,
There may be one very small fly in the ointment, however, a teensy fly, that you probably should know about, Ariadne, but I'm not sure if I can tell you outright in these pages.
Are you really unable to see any relation at all between spending nine nights with Symone on the one hand and now having "trouble at breakfast," as you so quaintly put it, on the other? And judging from Brydgitte's reaction to how you must have responded to her questions that "a girl never asks another," is there anything else that you usually go through on a regular basis that you perhaps should have gone through in the past several weeks, but haven't?
Exactly where did you grow up, Ariadne? Didn't girls talk about these things when you were in school? Or the biology teacher, perhaps? You did go to school, didn't you, dear?
I'm not quite sure how to tell you this, Ariadne, especially since explicit language is frowned upon in this forum, but you may have, how could I phrase it, an interesting condition? Be in the family way? Have a bun in the oven? Do you suddenly have an urge to be knitting? Do you feel like feathering the nest?
No, I am sure you don't have even the faintest idea about what I'm trying to tell you, you poor, sweet, innocent creature. You probably just think it's an stomach virus, and quite possibly it is. But Brydgitte is quite right, you know, there is probably no need to take those little pink (and sometimes green) pills any more, which you haven't been taking anyway, as we've all heard at least a dozen times.
And now I do agree with you, Ariadne, you should really try to drink
those two quarts of milk every day. And get plenty of rest. And an engagement
ring might make everything quite a lot better. I do hope your intuition
is correct on this point.
But don't get me distracted, I was speaking of breakfast. So I told Brydgitte and she asked was I taking the little pink vitamin pills every morning, the ones that are sometimes light green but now are pink again? So I said that I wasn't, that I was washing them down the drain every morning because Mummie says a quart of milk a day is good enough for a girl and I can't swallow pills.
So Brydgitte appeared quite worried all of a sudden and said, see here Ariadne, those little pills are not really vitamin pills, they are pills to keep you from feeling unwell in the morning, so I said if she brought me some now I would try ever so hard to swallow as many as she liked but she said no, it was too late for that because this sort of pill only works in advance.
So then Brydgitte asked me some questions that a girl never asks another but she did it anyway and I began to cry because I couldn't answer the questions because a girl has trouble remembering anything greater than six, you know.
So then Brydgitte kept appearing quite worried and said that sometimes the trouble with breakfast goes away by itself and that for now I should just take my temperature and write it down in my little red leather notebook every day for a month and that it would also be quite good practice for my writing, of which Symone would like me to do more.
So she, Brydgitte I mean, brought me the dolliest little thermometer to use and she said she would help me write it down the first time. Brydgitte is quite kind, you know. So we took my temperature and we wrote it down in my book together. It said ninety-seven-point-four.
So then Brydgitte said that it was probably not a good idea to say anything to Symone just yet and that we should wait at least another few weeks and then see what I have written down in my little red leather notebook and whether things will be better at breakfast by then, so we could decide whether to tell her. Symone, I mean.
But now I wish Symone was back from her trip to Bangkok because I really miss Symone quite a lot, particularly when a girl has trouble with breakfasts, because she would talk to me ever so gently and I could tell her how I feel because Symone loves me, you know. Symone is quite sweet.
So seeing as me and Symone have now spent two nights together in Mayfair, and six in Hampstead back in October and was it four or five in November? I cant say for sure, but I think I'll be getting a diamond ring quite soon from Symone. A diamond engagement ring, I mean. That appears rather likely, I'm quite happy to say.
So to learn more about engagement ring lore, so I might better appreciate whichever one I might get, I read in the paper this morning that the Victoria and Albert Museum was having a special day-after-Christmas display of its splendid collection of gems. So I asked Theda to take me to see it. In the Bentley, I mean. And she did. Theda quite often drives about town in the Bentley, you know, and a Bentley is quite the reliable car, as you've said in your note, Yrsula dearest.
But don't get me distracted, I was speaking of gems: the Empress of India safire was there, in the museum I mean, hundreds of carats, as big as an orange but quite a bit smoother and brighter by far. Its so enormous, in fact, it could never be worn as a jewel.
But the very teeniest gem I could find was a 16-carat square-cut diamond ring with tapered baguettes, whatever that means. It belonged long ago to a very rich lady, Lady Astor it seems, but she died and decided she could no longer wear it, so she gave it to the Victoria and Albert Museum so that no one can ever wear it again. Many brunettes are quite frequently like that, you know. So now it is going just completely to waste inside a glass case with nothing but other big gems for companionship when what it really needs is a blonde with a vacant fourth finger.
But, on the other hand, what girl could actually wear a square-cut 16-carat diamond ring? Why its so huge that a girl would never be able to even get herself dressed with that thing on her finger without maiming herself or at the very least ladd'ring her stockings every five or ten minutes. Probably that's why Lady Astor needed twelve maids.
So I studied all of the gems in all the glass cases and wrote them all down in my new little red leather notebook that Symone gave me for Christmas. So now I'm an expert on gems. So then I went home in the Bentley with Theda. Back to Mayfair, I mean, not to Hampstead.
That's all of importance I have to convey. I had an perfectly wonderful Christmas and hope that I can eat breakfast tomorrow without feeling strange. Brydgitte makes quite a good omelet, you know.
So Yrsula, I hope that your Christmas was also quite pleasant and that the Star Fairy brought you whatever you dreamed for. She certainly brought it for me though I'm rather sad now that Symone has flow off in her Ladystar jet back to Bangkok this morning. I miss her already but I'll try not to cry.
With a sisterly kiss,
We went to the forest to gather some last-minute holly, because the berries are so plentiful and so very red this year (a sign of a hard winter to come, they say. Mother nature is providing for the birds).
Aristasia-in-Telluria is an archipelago. That means that our nation does not occupy a solid block of territory, but one may have to go some distance to get from one household to another. Today we went quite a long way to another district (Maryhill) to see some pettes for Christmas. We went to what looked like and ordinary suburban house, but inside it was a pub called the Swan and Eagle, all lit with candles and real up-to-date [i.e. pre1960s - Editress] fairy lights (all Aristasia-in-Telluria public places are thus "invisible" from the outside). A charming blonde was serving at the bar, who at other times is a maid in this house. A number of blondes and brunettes were already there, having a pre-Christmas-dinner drink. We had brought presents for all of them, and they had presents for us. The wireless was playing some lovely Christmas songs including one I have never heard before by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters called "The Toys Gave a Party for Papa Santa Claus"! There were also other up-to-date songs. I mean ordinary, not-Christmas-just-lovely ones, and there were delightful snacks with cheese and tiny bright green and red pickled onions and pineapple. The atmosphere was so festive and jolly that it was quite hard to leave, but we had to drive back through the frosty forest for Christmas dinner.
And then - but there isn't an "and then". Not yet. I have popped in here, still in my musquash coat and black gloves and veiled feathery hat to tell you a little about Christmas in Aristasia-in-Telluria, but now I must pop back to living it.
Merriest of Christmasses, dear pettipops, from
MISS ALICE LUCY TRENT
So Symone gave me a pair of darling pink slippers trimmed in pink fur, with a matching pink robe with pink rabbit fur trim. And also some chocolates and some books without any pictures and a necklace of diamonds and pale pink pearls (from Ceylon) set into silver all on a black velvet ribbon. And some perfectly darling Kadorie silk stockings and one more little red leather notebook, because the first one is quite full of writing already. From all of my practising. Practising writing, I mean.
And I gave Symone some of the Butterfly lipgloss and lotion all wrapped in the very loveliest of all of the butterfly paper. And I also gave her the photo Alexis had taken where I'm dressed in the ivory gown with a rope of fake pearls for the little broshure. (Phyllis, whose one of Alexis's blonde helpers, had blown it up it for me and put it into a silver art-deco frame, a real one, that has black lines in the silver because its so old. I gave her two Butterfly lip glosses for it, to Phyllis, I mean, for the art-deco frame.)
So Symone seemed quite pleased with her presents and said she was blessed to have a such a marvellous blonde as I. But I felt the very same way. About Symone, I mean .... Oh, but Symone's a brunette .... Don't confuse me, I know just what I mean.
So Symone put the diamond and pearl necklace on me then held my chin in her soft hands again and gazed into my eyes and I saw that *Symones* eyes were brimming with tears. And she gave me one of her kisses and her long eyelashes brushed some of her tears off onto my cheek and I didn't wipe them away.
* * * * * *
So later Symone and I entertained some of her very elegant friends at a Christmas Day dinner, including Mme. Yrene de Bellevoir's younger sister Yvette. Mme. de Bellevoir is quite a good friend of Jewel's, you know. That's who Jewels visiting at this very moment in the Caribbean Ocean on her grand yacht. Mme. de Bellevoir's grand yacht, I mean. This yacht is quite topping, so says Symone who has taken quite a large number of rides on it over the past several seasons. It is called La Silfeed, that's French for a silf, thats a sweet young slip of a pette from Classical Times who really should put some more meat on her bones and thats why they call her silfeed.
NOTE: The Management can accept no responsibility for patronettes' puns, accidental or otherwise.But don't get me distracted, I was speaking of Christmas Day dinner. So there were perhaps a dozen of elegant pettes, mostly brunettes but some couples came also, so I had at least some blondes to talk to, since I couldn't very well talk to Brydgitte since she's the maid and a cook in the bargain and its not proper for a girl who's entertaining elegant pettes to chat with the servants. Even though Brygitte's a blonde. Thetas frowned on, you know, in elegant circles. So instead I just stuck out my tongue at Brydgitte when no one was looking. And Brydgitte laughed secretly into her hand but nobody saw her do it but me. Brydgitte's rather good-natured, you know.
So Brydgitte made a roast goose and a flaming plum pudding and many other savoury dishes besides. Every girl had a perfectly marvellous evening and we drank bottles and bottles of champagne and wine. Until it was gone.
Then they all departed for home just a little bit later, but it was already almost eleven.
So I and Symone went into the study with our sniffers of brandy (that's what Ahrmonyok is after all, a kind of dry brandy, or so Brydgitte told me) and we conversed for a while but then I got very sleepy.
So then Symone led me upstairs.
So I and Symone also spent Christmas night in Mayfair together, not Hampstead.
Just I and Symone together alone.
Where I live it is very exciting near Christmas. Not long ago we went to the forest to gather green holly with bright red berries. We caught lots of it and have put it up all about the house. Also there is some mistletoe, which is most exciting, because if you happen to be standing under it and a brunette catches you, she can take hold of you and kiss her, and you can't say "no" the way your blonde mummie usually says you ought to because mistletoe is mistletoe and tradition is tradition, and both are very important in Aristasia. So you have to keep away from standing under the mistletoe, which seems quite hard for most blondes to do, even when there is only one sprig in the house and it is in quite an awkward place for standing under.
Because it is Aristasia-in-Telluria we cannot see real Aristasian films where the blonde marries the brunette in the end (or vice versa, but never just vice). But we can see real-world Tellurian films - that is films from Telluria before it went mad in the 1960s.
So this week we have seen newsreels from Quirinelle (the 1950s) about all the new Christmas decorations in real-world London, and toys being given to children in hospital; and we have heard Christmas wireless broadcasts from real-world England and America with Bing Crosby and Vera Lynne and lots of other charming people. And we have heard this year's new Christmas songs, like the Andrews Sisters singing "Sweet Angie the Christmas-Tree Angel", and some lovely real-world Christmas cartoons, oh and so many delightful things that it is hard to remember them all.
And now it is Christmas Eve and we are getting ready for a splendid Christmas with lots of blondes and brunettes visiting from other parts of Aristasia-in-Telluria.
So if any one is seriously interested in being in a world of blondes
and brunettes and innocence and charm, you must get in touch. Perhaps
you will be with us next Christmas.
MISS ALICE LUCY TRENT
So Symone came home from Bangkok Siam late in the evening on the night before Christmas. I had laid the table with the very best silver, had polished the crystal and china and even ironed the handmade Florentine table linen. A girl should know how to iron, you know.
But cooking supper's quite different from laying the table, you can burn down the flat in a flash if you're not careful. And its much hotter work, more precision and timings required (though ironings quite challenging in itself) and thats sometimes hard for a girl. So Brydgitte the maid, whose a cook, made the supper, a delicious roast duckling, all glazed, with all of the trimmings.
So I and Symone ate our meal of glazed duckling together and drank several glasses of wine. We talked about flying and weather and customs in airports, and how the market for microchips "tanked," and how a quite a number of sharp brunettes with which she's acquainted had just lost their blouses (and more in some cases) in shares. And about how many miles a girl can drive on a gallon of petrol in this or that car.
So I listened attentively, nodding agreement in appropriate places but shaking my head in dumbfounded amazement whenever called for by context. I showed great interest in commodity futures and trading stock options on margin and about selling shares short. But we also talked about purses and dresses and suspenders and stockings and shoes, which pleased me no end. Symone is a very versatile girl, you know.
So we chatted on and on in this vein for a while and eventually we ate up all of the supper and had drunk quite a few glasses of port, a whole bottle between us in fact. But it was the very best port, I assure you.
So after Christmas Eve supper we moved into the study where I curled up on Symones soft white leather sofa, curled up on my legs which were tucked underneath me. And Symone balanced herself on the arm of the sofa with a sniffer of Ahrmanyak in her hand (that's what she called it, but it sniffed just like brandy to me).
So I was showing Symone my little red leather notebook with all of my jewellery writing which pleased her a lot. But then she saw the names of all of you pettes at the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar, that I had written down to practice my writing some more, besides the jewellery I mean, and Symone asked me about who the names were and why they were in the little red leather notebook at all.
So I told her the truth. I was really quite frightened to tell it, but the unvarnished truth generally works at such difficult times. (After all, there were fifty-two girls' names in my little red leather notebook, so anything less than the truth would have been even less credible, don't you agree?)
But Symone was not angry at all! Oh, no, oh contrare, she thought it was quite the cats whiskers to have my very own friends and to see them whenever I wished while she's off taking care of her business affairs. Symone is so sweet and is quite understanding, you know. Thats one reason I like her.
Then Symone said see here Ariadne, I know I can trust you to do the right thing always because I know in my heart that you are a good girl and would never do anything improper at all. So go have a good time with all of your friends at the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar whenever you please. Just be here when I am at home and don't drink to many Gibsons while I am away. And be sure to take your little pink vitamin pills every morning (but sometimes theyre green).
(But in fact, Yrsula dear, as you probably know I've been drinking two quarts of milk every day instead of taking the little pink vitamin pills. But I didn't tell that to Symone as its quite unimportant, since one vitamin is as good as another whether from little pink pills or from milk.)
So while she was talking Symone leaned down from the arm of the soft white leather sofa and took my chin in her hand very gently, (Symone has very soft hands, you know), and tilted my chin up and looked into the very depth of my eyes, then she kissed me, just a brief little soft kiss on my lips and I fell deeply in love with Symone at that very instant and I started to cry.
And she let me, because Symone understands that a girl needs a good cry now and then. So Symone didn't try to stop me from crying at all. So I cried for quite a long time.
So then Symone led me upstairs.
So I and Symone spent Christmas Eve night in her flat in Mayfair together.
Just I and Symone.
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