I am a staff writer for Food and Homemaking - and the only qualified houseblonde in the department. (I got the job by winning a cooking competition: I dreamt up what is now commonly known as a Coronado Crown Wiener Roast - two dozen wieners stuck end-on around a central spinach-mayonnaise mold to resemble a crown roast of lamb, but far less expensive and almost as tasty!) Hats and high fashion are all very fine and very feminine - don't get me wrong - but without a warm, happy hestia for a smartly-dressed brunette to come home to, hats and high fashion don't count for beans - and that's all she'll have to eat if her blonde doesn't know her way round a kitchen! That's what my department is all about: helping new brides become competent houseblondes and helping experienced houseblondes keep au courant with the latest developments in domestic science, foodstuffs and home appliances.
So here is a picture of me in our maggie's own test kitchen, in front of the very latest in Kadorie ranges, displaying my grand lemon chiffon cake (those are apple rings baking in the oven). 'Course, it looks as if I have just taken the cake out of the oven, but that is just for show - every blonde knows, (or should!), that the icing is put on after the cake is all cooled!
And every one has been so nice to me. Miss Barbi and Mina saying I am exotic, even though I am only Ellhedrine Joans from a little town in Quirinelle who goes to Brightsea for her holidays, and even though I wear a green school uniform and only put on my squirrel coat to come here. Well, of course that is kind, but I can hear in your dear voices that you really mean it. I am not sure how you can, but I know you do, and that has made me so very happy.
Miranda, your game is just a wonderful idea. Now, I'll tell you who I feel like on the silver screen, but you must promise not to laugh. It is Katherine Hepburn. Now isn't that strange. Every one says "Surely you mean Audrey Hepburn", but I don't, I mean Katherine. I know she is terribly brunette and I am rather on the blonde side of blonde, but she is who I mean, even so. I could never be chic and poised like Audrey, but Katherine's wonderful, high-strung, nervous vitality - yes, you see it now, don't you? - and her magical theatricality (perhaps that is what makes me seem exotic if I have a hint of it). When I see one of her films I "catch" her for days afterwards and sound much more like her than me.
In the summer my two brunette cousins came down from Milchford with a group of sophisticated 'varsity blondes and brunettes, and Dora said "This is little cousin Ellhedrine [and she did pronounce the "h", bless her]. She suffers from the delusion that she's Katherine Hepburn", and Lucilella said. "Nonsense, darling, she doesn't suffer from it, she thoroughly enjoys it."
Anyway, I am sublimely happy at present, and Katherine-ing away like anything when I'm not swotting. And all that hard work does seem to tone me up and make me feel more alive and able to take an interest in just about everything. It is so good for me.
The only cloud in the ointment (as dear Ariadne might have said)
is this thing about babies. I mean, it does worry me. I am perfectly
resolved to marry - well, some one - as soon as I finish at Milchford.
But babies. Oh dear, do you think she'll mind awfully? I just couldn't
I mean what should I do with them? I'm scarcely more than a baby
Oh, one other thing that confused me. What is Father Christmas. Is Father a name? Or was it a misprint for "farther"? And who is Santa Claus - the same person? And didn't you mean Sinta, which is a charming Eastern name (like Ellhedrine - tee-hee!). Well, anyway, who is she? Is she blonde or brunette? And what has she to do with the Star Fairy?
I was very concerned when Annalinde had doubts about Santa. But I bit my lip and then thought how wonderful the Star Fairy sounded. I would much rather have the Star Fairy tinkling down my chimney. Mummy says if I'm an especially good girl, I may stay up late and bake some fairy cakes for the Star Fairy. I think she would like that. Annalinde, if I promise to behave myself and not to fidget, please may I be the Star Fairy on top of your Christmas tree? Mummy says I might.
Lots of love and cuddles,
Hello blondie Victoria and welcome to the Cocktail Bar. Another Ovaltiney! Perhaps we shall have to become a Cocktail Bar and Ovaltine Fountain. But, sweetie, it's all right to tell the girls that you were at the Embassy when the famous Santa conversation took place. And have you ever heard the song that goes:
Every little girl would like to beIt is very popular in Trent just at the moment, and very sweet. Do come again soon!
The fairy on the Christmas tree?
But I stray from my purpose: you may not be aware that we Arcadians have our own up-to-date inventions, too, something rather like your ordinators, I should think: Mme. Oblonsky, the great Russian Visionary Scientist, demonstrated one last season at the New Century Scientific Exposition. She called it the Oblonsky Patented Galvanic Ray Crystal Ball. Now her blonde assistant, Mlle. Tretyakova, has opened an elegant little gallery at the Permanent Exhibit of Science - for 2s. one can send a picture to anypette in the Empire and have tea and clotted cream, too! It is quite the amazing machine, powered by a Voltaic Pile, so this is what I am using to send you a wonderful Arcadian photograph. But do not fear that a blonde is in charge! Mme. Oblonsky looks in on her assistant at least thrice daily, (and twice again every evening), to assure that all protocols are faithfully followed.
Now to the meat of the matter: I quite agree with Mmes. Susan M. and Phyllis D: this saloon bar is entirely too, um, racy at times, frequently lacking a proper, respectful depth and weight of feminine racination. So my 2s. is sending you, by means of the Oblonsky Patented Galvanic Ray Crystal Ball, (encased in a mirrored-veneer walnut burl cabinet with carved, fluted legs), a deeply racinating and delightful dry-plate photogravure depicting a Memorable Moment from Motherhood by the famous American pictorial photographerette Gertrude Kasebier, entitled Blessed Art Thou Among Women. One can see the original hanging through January in the Imperial Photographic Society galleries if one cares to travel to Elsbethton, but the roads from the West are often impassable wintertimes, so I do not recommend it: the Crystal Ball remains the best alternative for any but the most dauntless traveler. I do hope Mme. Oblonksy's patented device, in Mlle. Tretyakova's blonde (but able) hands, does justice to this marvelous photogravure!
MAUDE, ARCADIAN BRUNETTE
Well with all this mother-and-child jollity the last day or two, I thought you might like to see this month's Quirrie House Wife which arrived on the Embassy doormat a few days ago. Isn't it gorgeously delightful? I just adore real maggies, don't you?
A mildly embarrassing mome yesterday when some dear pettes were visiting the Embassy. Some one asked me "Do you believe in Father Christmas?" I said yes - but I did hesitate a little, and this did not go unnoticed. "A qualified yes, perhaps?" said some one. Well, you can imagine my embarrassment, because all at once I realised that my hesitation could be attributed to - well, to vulgar skepticism; that I might be seen as the sort of girl who doesn't believe in Santa Claus for the most dreadful adult reasons. How mortifying! Many girls, after all, go through a phase of not believing in fairies at fifteen or so, but one really should be over it by the time one gets to twenty-one.
No, goodness me, that wasn't my reason for hesitating. My reason was that in Aristasia we have the Star Fairy in her silver chariot who brings presents at Nativity-time, and, of course, although I have the misfortune to live on the fringes of the Pit, I am a blood-loyal Aristasian through to my very heart of hearts. So I explained this, and said that we believe in both Santa and the Star Fairy, and some one said "But the Star Fairy more", which, I suppose, is about right; but don't think we don't believe in both. There is always room for a healthy syncretism, I say.
Oh, and that maggie. Isn't the little girl adorable? It struck me that if you have been living in the Pit, you might have forgotten what a little human girl looks like. One could very easily forget that living in the Pit, because one never sees a little human girl there any more, and it is an important thing to remember at this time of year. So here is a close-up of her for you to love.
Kisses to all of you,
Well, my brunette and I have just made another, her name is Margaret, she has the regulation ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes (with nails almost too tiny to see) that look as if they are made out of translucent pink wax, but they grasp and wiggle! (It's always amazing, you know!) She has already learned how to gurgle and hiccup. Here is a snapshot taken only last month, where I have just brought her home from the hospital and put her in her new room all freshly painted and curtained in pink chintz and have finally let her big sister, Sarah, tip-toe in to see her for the very first time. Sarah seems as enchanted as I am!
PHYLLIS D. (MRS.)
Ahem. Excuse me. Everyone. Please. Oh, that's better. Nice and quiet so we can talk. Thank you. Oh. Now I've forgotten what I wanted to say. How embarrassing! [a helpful whisper from Mommy] Oh yes. Could we all play a little game? I thought it might be fun to say who you think you really are inside. I mean, who from the movies you think you really are. I mean, who is you, really. Oh, now I've fumbled it all, and maybe you don't even know what I mean, but, here, I'll go first.
I think that maybe I am the girl Miss Monroe plays in The Seven Year Itch, even though I am only sixteen years old because she is so simple and sweet and a little on the dumb side. I don't mind saying it, but I am, you know. A little on the dumb side. But who would mind if she were as pretty as Miss Monroe? I'm not, as you can see. As pretty as Miss Monroe, but the way she looks and acts is just the way I feel, so I pick her.
But, if I were to say who I want to be more like, it would have to be Bernadette in Song of Bernadette,. because, like Miss Monroe, she is simple and sweet, but she also is so good. Watching that movie just makes a girl want to be as good as she can, even if nobody else understands what being good means.
Oh, I am sorry to babble. I really am. And now I am crying and I don't know why except that you all have been so nice to let me talk and I think 'Nettie wants to take me home now, because maybe it wasn't just the rum flavoring after all, and here I am making a Great Fool of myself in such a grown up place.
I hope you all can tell me who you think is most like you on the silver screen and maybe you can say too who you wish you could be more like as well, so I don't feel so silly for having said all that.
Well, this is turning into a family Cocktail Bar, isn't it? But please don't worry - Miranda, Ellhedrine, Rose and all you other not-yet-eligible-to-hold-public-office pettes. You are all most welcome so long as you behave yourselves as nicely and charmingly as you have all been doing so far.
Couple of jiggers of moonlight and add a star,
Pour in the blue of a June night and one guitar,
Mix in a couple of dreamers and there you are!
Lovers hail the Moonlight Cocktail!
Now add a couple of flowers, a drop of dew,
Stir for a couple of hours till dreams come true.
As to the number of kisses, it's up to you:
Moonlight Cocktails need a few.
Cool it in the summer breeze,
Serve it in the starlight underneath the trees
You'll discover tricks like these
Are sure to make your Moonlight Cocktail please.
Follow the simple directions, for they will mean
Life of a different complexion, where you'll be queen,
You'll awake in the morning and start to sing,
"Moonlight Cocktails are the thing."
Follow the simple directions, for they will mean
Life of a different complexion, where you'll be queen,
You'll awake in the morning and start to sing,
"Moonlight Cocktails are the thing."
I'm sorry to be away for so long, but with Nativity just around the corner, my little home is simply buzzing with festive activities. I wanted to tell you about one little thing we did yesterday, and had such a fun time doing it too. Last summer, at a fleem, my little tyke and I found a set of Nativity stencils, right out of Quirinelle, for only ten bongo cents! Well, we tucked them away in our Nativity box and found them just yesterday, and then sprayed a snowpette on the window, using a can of spray snow and the stencils. We only used one of the dozen stencils because once you've used them, you can't use them again in other years, and this book has to last us for many, many Nativity seasons.
I always am so amazed by how lovely those Fairies are to send such treasures to us through the Iron Curtain. Dear Norma, please don't worry your little head about the Pit. As our kind sagette has said, 'tis better to be ignorant when ignorance is bliss. But, yes, wartime does have some advantages, I suppose, and inexpensive hats is one of them. Though, darling, you would simply die if you heard how bungled some of them come through the Iron Curtain, and of course, no girl would ever wear a battered hat, so quite often lots of repair work must be done on the hats before they remember the glory they knew on the right side of the Curtain.
Your Very Own,
There were some interesting runners-up in the veil contest, however. Rose ventured a guess which was almost correct. In fact, whenever hors d'oeuvres are served at garden or cocktail parties and one is primarily chatting and striking serious poses - not having a meal - one's veil must stay in place (as must one's gloves), and is, in fact, daintily lifted for each morsel and sip. My question had to do with a full, sit-down meal, though. Sorry if I was at all ambiguous about it. But the most interesting incorrect answer of all came from a pette who must be a very young thing: she thought one should drink everything (even soup) with an elegantly long sterling silver straw, with delicate flexible sections in places, poked through one of the holes in one's veil, and one should cut one's food into the teensiest of pieces and pop them through the veil into one's mouth when no one is looking. Peas, she said, would be a snap, but mashed potatoes might pose a bit of a problem. Another pette suggested formal luncheons and dinners are too great a temptation anyway, so that veils and gloves should never be removed because they are a good way to lose weight.
As for the etiquette of kissing through a veil, well, I am not sure where Annalinde lives, but we Gotham brunettes generally roll back the veil casually (if we are wearing one), as if to see a little more clearly, perhaps, as the atmosphere thickens. And as for the blonde's veil, we follow Rose's suggestion and lift it daintily, but with a certain practiced deliberateness, for each lovely taste, so any restraint posed by a veil is merely theoretical, a boundary nominally marked, a titillation, really, a sense of the forbidden just within reach. But scarves? Oh,Annalinde, I cannot judge, I have never visited Quirinelle. Here in Kadoria scarves may be worn on a beach if it is quite windy, or when sailing, but otherwise hats are de rigeur. As I said several days ago, under normal circumstances a girl would no sooner be seen without her blouse on as without her hat (though some brassiere ads, which we have begun running of late show girls doing precisely that - a hat but no blouse! But advertising is not my department, so don't go blaming me!)
Enough about etiquette! On to today's hats! First is a perky Victorian bonnet in black felt studded with gold macaroni beads and set off by delicate artificial peonies and buds. Note how the dress' plunging neckline reinforces the more diminutive cleft of the bonnet itself. Now for the piece de résistance, pettes: a glimpse of the newest millinery fashion from far western Kadoria, right on the Quirinelle border. This is the look of the future, girls! The adorable pette (with eyes as green as Audrey's) is wearing a smashing black oystershell hat of woven black horsehair over an armature of hooped whalebone, its brim softly bound in fine tulle.
At the outset I promised you fabrics, feathers, flowers and furs, and have even thrown in horsehair and whalebone as a bonus. You see, that is what I began by saying: hats allow Maid to display and enhance her connectedness with all Dea's creations, from which Maid lovingly and reverently selects only the most beautiful and them refashions them through the magic of millinery to enhance her own precious feminine beauty.
All this refined buzz and heady chatter about femininity and feminine archetypes and beauty, yet no one seems to be talking too much about that essential feminine archetype, perhaps the most primal: Mother. Nor has anyone mentioned maternity - you know, expecting: being with child, confinement, babies, nursing, changing diapers, getting up five times a night, not fitting into any decent sort of clothes for six more weeks, getting depressed, never ever wanting another then wanting another the very next moment, being the envy of one's sisters, the immense pride. In short, I am speaking being a new mother in all its stages and ramifications, from the first dawning that one is carrying life within her, through the rapid (and often uncomfortable) changes of pregnancy, through the shock and surprise and pain and even outrage of delivery and then a great peace and then the welling flood of an entirely new sort of love for one's baby, her implausibly diminutive digits, clutching and unclutching the air, or one's finger, or kneading one's breast as she nurses, the incredibly delicate perfume of her head that only comes from a baby nursed on mother's milk, her first smile: this is an archetype you girls should have before you in a place called Femmeworld, don't you think?
After all, as a Kadorian like Norma I can vouch that every girl's dream is Marriage and Babies (and a little white house with flowers and trees and don't forget a fine set of silverplate flatware, settings for twelve)... so where's the Maternal in this place, anyway, this place that says it is a racinated, feminine empire? All I see around me is fancy hats, sweet drinks, long ivory cigarette holders, Art Neo paintings of Trentish pettes in frilled dresses, advertisements for stockings and garter belts and pictures of helpless blondes caught in embarrassing moments - all very feminine (and sometimes gently erotic, a girl must admit), but lacking one essential feminine archetype: motherhood.
So to put a proper image before your eyes, here is a picture of a brand-new Kadorie mom about to discover some of the joys I've just mentioned. Are there any other moms here who would care to talk about babies? I've had four, and two are all grown up already and have flown the nest, but they are still my babies, you know.
SUSAN M. (MRS.)
Well! If SHE does it, then it MUST be right!
Of course, this only applies to those lovely long shaped gloves extending to the elbow or beyond, worn with the divine sleeveless or even bare-shouldered gowns.
Mind you, I have taught Blonde-Mummy a few things myself. She is not exactly a hat-girl, but the scarves! Hanger after hanger of beautiful silk scarves, each with the matching gloves and shoes and outfits. Myself, I hold a reputation of having a hat-stand at home with hats that I really wear - although the very delicate and beautiful ones are carefully boxed in rows in the wardrobe (when Petal hasn't snuck in and started trying them on, that is. I wouldn't mind except she leaves them out all over the bed, and then where IS a girl to sleep)
So if you see a tall, gorgeous brunette-with-hints-of-red sporting a tight-waisted polka-dotted sundress with matching hat, gloves and shoes, walking elegantly down George Street next week, stop and say hello!
Some one has described Aristasia as "one long conversation". Well, Aphrodite is rather like that. If you want to catch up on the conversation so far, the Archive is the place to do it. NEXT ARCHIVE PREVIOUS ARCHIVE
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