Isn't the Major ferocious! And she's so gorgeous when she's angry, too. Her face gets all flushed and her green eyes just glow. It makes a blonde think all kinds of thoughts. If she knew how delectable she looks at such moments, she would probably try harder to control her temper! And I think that I know of a way to make her even angrier now. She is determined to outsmart me in the matter of that Fragonard, isn't she? Well, I am going to deny her the opportunity! All of you, just wait and see what I'm going to do!
Doria Red, Countess of Glorian
Britannia, Altalia, Kadoria
As the rustics on my estate would say, this caps the globe.
You must have heard that the Llangollen Museum has been robbed. Indeed, I cannot imagine how anypette could have avoided hearing of it; it seems that no one is talking of anything else. The reporting, of course, has as usual been entirely overwrought. The missing work is certainly not worth “millions of pounds”; four hundred thousand, perhaps. And the so-called museum security is a disgrace; a child could have easily broken in without undue difficulty and strolled off with anything she wanted. Which of course is precisely what happened. Those pictures of Jupitrix and Callisto are rather riskay if you ask me, but I suppose they are national cultural heritages. I could have warned them that displaying such provocative images out there where anypette could see them would excite the lower elements, and now I have as usual been proven right. One of those lurid paintings has been stolen!
Just coincidentally, of course, Lady Glorian just happened to be visiting the Museum at some sort of gala thing that very night.
I dutifully reported my suspicions to the District Governess, but did she listen to me? Of course not. Perhaps she is complacent because those who know about the Countess’s disgraceful “hobby” also know that she always eventually returns the items she pilfers. But really, “borrowing” a classic painting worth who knows how much from a prestigious museum is really going too far.
So when it became clear that my superior was going to do nothing, I decided to catch the Countess red-handed with her ill-gotten gains. Word about town was that she was throwing one of her enormous hedonistic parties, and it is simplicity itself for any well-dressed maiden to join, with or without an invitation. I simply strolled in two hours after the event was scheduled to begin, on the theory that the sort of pette who keeps company with hussies like the Countess probably thinks that punctuality is commonplace and prefers to be “fashionably late”. Humph.
There was a tremendous crowd in attendance, all dressed to the nines. Indeed, I was downright conspicuous in my sober navy blue suit. Sequins, scandalous low cuts, and elaborate coiffures were the order of the day. I found that every time I noticed tumbling golden curls I would quickly scrutinize their owner to see if she were the Countess, but of course what I was really seeking was that overly lush painting.
I was only hoping to get a glimpse of a likely hiding place. I certainly never expected to see that painting displayed, bold as brass, right on the wall of her decadent overdecorated ballroom!
I could scarcely believe my eyes. I stood there staring at it, and that was when the Countess finally made her appearance. She was wearing an exceedingly tight evening gown of turquoise silk that was just… she was just… that is, she was disgraceful. Stunning, of course, but disgracefully so. And the turquoise silk set off her torchlight-yellow hair quite strikingly, and reflected in her robin’s-egg eyes to make them appear turquoise too. Small wonder that every brunette in the place was looking at her the way wolves look at steaks. Humph.
She went to stand beside the stolen painting, and everypette fell silent to listen to her announcement. She glanced around at her guests and noticed me, and the shameless little minx actually had the gall to dimple at me! Thank Dea no one noticed that it was directed at me. At least, I don’t believe anypette did.
Then she declared, “Thank you all for coming to see my newest acquisition. I have especially invited Professor Quirrell from the University at Ladyton, so that she can tell you all about it.”
The Professor, an elegant brunette of mature years, came forward and spent several minutes scrutinizing the painting through her lorgnette. At length she announced, “It is a very skilled copy, My Lady.”
“Copy!” somepette exclaimed.
The Countess laughed. “Of course, silly, you didn’t think I actually owned a Fragonard, did you? In my dreams alone!”
Naturally my suspicions were aroused. As the revelers resumed their conversations and dancing and gluttony, all apparently under the impression that this is Amazonian Rome rather than Kadorian Altalia, I elbowed my way to the Countess’s side. She fluttered her lashes at me as if she were just another silly blonde with nothing better to do than flirt with brunettes. I, however, know her better than that!
“Why, Major. How very lovely to see you. Had I known you might attend, I should certainly have sent you an invitation. And that suit is ever so stunning, especially since it forces a pette to use her imagination.”
I ignored this drivel and got straight to the point. “I don’t believe for one moment that this painting is a fake, Lady Glorian,” I informed her. “You are the culprit who swiped this work of art from the Llangollen Museum!”
She smiled coyly. “But, my dear Major. You all just heard Professor Quirrell say that this isn’t the real Fragonard, and she is the leading authority in the field.” She leaned closer, eyes dancing. “Surely you would not presume to question her artistic judgment?”
“No one could credibly charge you against the Professor’s testimony,” I admitted. “My superiors would never stand for it. How did you coax her to lie for you?”
“I don’t kiss and tell,” the Countess answered pertly, winking.
“Sooner or later, Lady Glorian, I am going to put a stop to your heinous deeds!” I promised her. “And I shall see this painting back in its proper place before the week is out, mark my words!”
She tossed her abundant shining curls. “Only if I wish for you to, my dear Major!”
There was nothing more to say. I bowed formally and took my leave without another word. But I shall put that vixen in her place yet!
Major Klara von dem Eberbach
Her Majesty’s Royal Army
Germania, Altalia, Kadoria
By Emily Zola
Museum guards at the interprovincially renowned Llangollen Museum of Art were stunned this morning to discover that a daring theft had occurred in the dark of night, almost under their very noses!
“I was doing my dawn patrol of the third gallery,” reports Miss Petty, the dashingly uniformed brunette guard, “and I noticed that something was missing.”
That “something” was a painting worth millions of pounds. Stealing it from the Llangollen Museum, which to discourage temptation of those of weak character has the finest locks in Quirinelle as well as several strapping – in every sense of the word – young brunettes on guard, is a feat that defies comprehension. One is almost tempted to speculate that the daredevil thief who pulled it off must have had almost magical powers. And the audacity of the act has shocked the Province!
The third gallery of the Llangollen Museum is devoted to depictions of the legendary amour of Jupitrix and Callisto. Some of the more straightlaced members of the community have deemed the works in this gallery a touch riskay, but their transcendent beauty has won over one generation after another, inspiring Arcadian artists over and over.
“The ‘Jupitrix and Callisto’ painting that was stolen was painted by the great Arcadian Miss Jeanne Honour Fragonard,” explained Miss Calvert, the museum directrix, with visible emotion. “It was one of the most valuable works in the collection.”
When asked who could be responsible for this heinous crime, the District Governess declined to comment, stating only that she was confident that the work would be Anonymously Returned in time.
We may hope so, but loyal subjects shall not rest easy in their beds until Miss Fragonard’s work is back in its place in the Museum!
It seems un peu peculiar to me to hear Miss Taganov holding forth on the topic of slang, given the equally peculiar looks she gives me when I say perfectly normal things like "I wish she were at Jericho" or "my dibs are sadly out of tune."
Within the delicate ecosystem of my brain, people are always either swells of the first stare, or Haymarket ware, or making a mull of something or a cake of themselves. This is due to my years of slavishly re-reading the Regency novels of Georgette Heyer in all their glorious historical accuracy.
But you, too, can be calling people notoriously picksome and jug-bitten in no time, with this handy compendium of Regency cant: It's simply first-rate for astounding neighbours and perplexing cats.
I had no idea I was speaking Cockney rhyming slang. I assumed the "brass tacks" expression came from some Western-Arcadian industrial process! I don't know of any other Cockney phrase that's crossed the Pond, but who knows. In any case, up-to-date slang is very racinating. If even our shortcomings are racinated, then we may be confident that we are living a Real life! Remember that in Children of the Void, the diction mistress tells her pupils that lower-class accents are all right, so long as they are up-to-date lower-class accents, rather than bongo ones. In short, when you speak improperly, be sure to do it properly!
Which reminds me of a Culverian joke. A pette from Northern Culveria was visiting Southern Culveria and couldn't always understand our Southern accents and idioms. One day, in exasperation, she burst out, "Why can't you Southerners speak English?"
One of the Southerners replied with restraint, "We do speak English."
"Well, but it's not the Queen's English."
"Yes, it is. Elvira Presley was a Southerner."
So much is going on these days! We are delighted to draw your attention to three exciting new places to go.First, The Chronicles of Avendale. These are the complete narratives from the first incarnation of Avendale School about five years ago. They have been edited by Miss Eve of Belladonna and are hosted by Miss Anne Belleanne at her personal site. There us a huge amount of material here, of interest to all Aristasians and especially to those who are following or playing in the New Avendale School.
This would be a big enough announcement for any one day — but wait! — there is more to come. The Llangollen Museum of Art at Belladonna has opened a new Tamara de Lempicka Gallery. In terms of elektra-geography, The Llangollen Museum is stuated in Avenbridge Town, near to Avendale School, and it will be possible for the girls of Avendale to visit the exhibition at the new gallery at the same time as the girls of Avenbridge School visit the Tamara de Lempicka Exhibition at the Royal Academy in Chelverton/London.
Magically, the opening of the new gallery coincides with an absolutely delightful Tamara-related event at the Aristasian Embassy in Avendale District near London, which will be reported here very shortly.
Finally, a photograph has been added to Miss Serelique's instructional Lesson on Aristasian Money showing all the current Coins of the Realm neatly photographed on the back of a standard red Avendale Excercise Book — oops! am I giving away artistic secrets here?
Anyway, here is a close-up of a Queen Elspeth half-crown from Quirinelle, showing the validation mark (the overstamped letter A) which makes it legal tender in Aristasian Districts.
The Blonde Management
What a coincidence- not only am I currently reading an Abbey Girls book but I have a copy of The Fortunes of Jacky on my bookshelf! So it would appear that I've already begun much of my Aristasian reading without even thinking about it.
I think Miss Brightmore's idea of a tertiary reading list is rather splendid, although if I ever get to the secondary reading list that would be something! After a short but thourough search I can not find some of the books mentioned. I wonder if the new Harmony Point department store will have a book department?
I am almost certain it will contain a stocking department but I wonder if any pette can tell me what the correct name for a stocking department is? I am quite sure that is has a different name.
Hmmm ... "Ground floor, lingerie, stockings and accessories" perhaps. The stockings pictured here are actually available now in the tiny forerunner of the Harmony Point at Elektrabay. Price three shillings, we believe.
I am fascinated to hear that the expression "brass tacks" is current in Culveria. It must be one of the few examples of Cockney rhyming slang to have crossed the pond. "Brass tacks" is originally rhyming slang for "facts" (which one has to pronounce in a Cockney manner to make it rhyme properly).
Speaking of which, one will occasionally hear Aristasians-in-Telluria speaking of "Belgians" when they are referring to people who are sunk in the Pit, but certainly not of Belgian nationality. This is also rhyming slang: Belgian Congo = Bongo.
Aristasians tend to be more formal in speech than their Tellurian equivalents, but, especially among schoolgirls and "pippsies" there is, along with the slang shared with their Tellurian equivalents "ripping", "tuck", "blimey" etc. a certain amount of specifically Aristasian slang which is mysterious to outsiders, such a "guzz" or "old tarry rope".
To guzz is to look or stare, to guzz out to investigate, to come the old tarry rope to pretend to be an "old hand" when one knows little, as in "Don't come the old tarry rope with me", or:
"You are clever — did you really know all that?"
"No, it was just tarry rope [i.e. bluff]."
"Tarry", by the way, rhymes to "starry" — the expression is, I fancy, a humorously absurd schoolgirl rendition of imaginary sailors' or pirates' talk.
These expressions are considered loose, slangy and even a bit "rough". Definitely not to be used in front of schoolmistresses.
You have a copy of the movie Olivia at the Embassy? Oh, I am so jealous! It is impossible, or nearly so, to acquire a copy here in Culveria. A few years ago I found a place in England which was willing to sell it, but I would have had to fill out forms promising not to display it for material gain and pay a great deal more than I could afford at the time, and now I cannot even find that place anymore. But perhaps someday it will be made available. I can but hope.
As to brass tacks... when I said that in my earlier daydreams about the touch of a blonde's hand on my own, I didn't know what they were truly about, I was not exactly referring to... well, to those things which we share with Dea's lesser creatures. I meant that I was so innocent that I barely knew that Sapphists existed, and assumed that one day I would find the right em-ay-en and so forth. Which meant that when I had feelings for blondes, not only did my thoughts not turn at once to "brass tacks", as such things were not even in my mind yet, but also that I did not think of more decorous and aetherial conclusions to such contact. That is, I didn't dream of having that certain blonde exchange romantic vows with me, or of kisses, or "going steady" with me. I wouldn't have said I had a crush on her or that I wanted her for a sweetheart or anything so concrete. My dreams revolved entirely around the moment itself: the graceful way she leaned over to pick up her pencil, the way she smiled at certain moments, and the warm glow I felt when she gave me a brief, sisterly (to her!) hug. And I cherish the memory of being able to experience those feelings for her without having a framework, as it were, for those emotions and what they could lead to. It was almost like being Adama marvelling at the new creation, Eve, without yet knowing what blondes and brunettes were to mean to each other as Dea's creation unfolded.
Nowadays, of course, when I see an attractive blonde, my daydreams are more specific: the "brass tacks" of dinner and dancing, coy flirtations, the eventual honest offer and, if she accepts, little blondes and little brunettes. Certainly my present daydreams of the sacred bond of wedlock and the joy of daughters are a far cry from Freudian reductionist nonsense, but at the same time, they do not have quite the Edenic glory of my youthful infatuations that I did not even know were infatuations.
It really is exciting about the shop, isn't it? It will be an Art-Neo department store in Elektraspace, just like Harriet's in Ladyton. At the moment certain pettes are struggling with the technicals at various different levels, so the first incarnation of the shop may be a bit partial, but we are hoping something will appear pretty soon.
Olivia is a truly gorgeous book: sensitive, civilised and passionate. Did you know there is a film of it? It has just been made in Quirinelle by Jacqueline Audry. It is in French with at-times-rather-hard-to-read Westrenne subtitles and it is beyond gorgeous. The school has two headmistresses, one blonde and one brunette — but I mean one really brunette and one utterly blonde.
We have a copy at the Embassy. If others can get it, perhaps there is a way we could arrange a "merged" cinema visit for our various friends across the world.
Dear Miss Eve, you raise a fascinating point when you write:
I am lucky enough that, even growing up in the Pit, I managed to be innocent enough to spend hours dreaming about the touch of a lovely blonde's hand on my own without those dreams being tainted with the brass tacks, as it were — that is, without really knowing what those sweet girlish dreams were truly about.
But what were they truly about? Here, I think is where we must free ourselves from that dreadful Herr Doktor Freud and the Brass tack Brigade. Their theory (flowing logically from the notion that Tellurians are evolved animals) is that the "ultimate truth" about our finest and most delicate feelings of adoration lies in the reproductive instinct. Hence the idea — unpopular in the Pit, but entirely necessary to the logic of a materialist/Darwinist view of the origins of humanity — that non-reproductive erotic feelings are "sexual perversions".
Now I have no doubt that biology — whether Aristasian or Tellurian plays its part in these matters, but I am equally sure that it is not "what they are truly about". Love, attraction, and all the subtle and delicate things that we feel for the other sex (and sometimes for our own) are as fascinating and mysterious as they have ever been. If we accept the "explainings away" of the Brass Tack school we only impoverish our experience of life. It is an interesting example of the way a theory can actually coarsen and damage not just our thoughts, but our emotions.
The ultimate origins of love lie not in the body but in the soul. If they become — in this earthly sojourn — temporarily entwined with the reproductive urge they are by no means reducible to that. The true source of Love lies with the Angels, not with the Apes: and its many delicate varieties are not mere "dressings-up" or "wanderings astray" of the urge to multiply, but are expressions of the intricate and beautiful dance of soul with soul and soul with Spirit.
But if we say we know nothing about the origin of love, but simply feel its many-faceted loveliness if we are, as you so beautifully put it, "innocent enough to spend hours dreaming about the touch of a lovely blonde's hand on my own", we shall be far wiser and understand far more than if we try to understand it in ways tainted by the dismal Brass-Tack heritage of the twentieth century.
An Imperial, please, barpette. And your phone number. Unless, of course, your sweetheart owns a cane.
Hmm. And I must say, that print on the wall there is lovely. I don't suppose you know where the original is? It would be thrilling to see the genuine article. It is my creed to always get what I want, whether a work of art, a brunette, or a blonde! I live for the pursuit of beauty in any form!
Of course I date other blondes as well as brunettes. I couldn't marry them, of course, but then, I'm young yet; why hurry? And there are so many lovely blondes in the world. Just now I'm seeing the most darling young blonde. Her name is Gabrielle Cesare, and she looks an utter angel! She's very young and quite innocent; why, the first time I kissed her, she swooned! The dear's a bit of a bluestocking. She's so wrapped up in her books that she doesn't notice all the brunettes — and some of the blondes — giving her languishing looks everywhere she goes!
I'm taking her to a movie tomorrow. A Yank in the RAF, starring the ravishing Betty Grable, the pette with the million dollar legs. There's this utterly swoonworthy scene right at the beginning where - lean close, pette, in case any of the more delicate sort of blonde is nearby - you can see her stocking tops plain as day! She's hopping out of a car in a hurry, and her skirt just flies up, and for an entire second her stocking tops are visible. I've seen it three times.
But there's another film that has something even more deliciously riskay. I know the directrix of A Yank in the RAF gave us that little treat purposely — and it's working, brunettes are lined up around the block to see it, aren't they? But there's another movie where there is a very fleeting glimpse of stocking that I'm certain is a mistake. >giggle< It's Covergirl starring Rita Hayworth, though alas, it isn't Miss Hayworth's stockings we get that peek at. I'm not sure of the actress's name, but she's a blonde, and there's one scene where she's in an office auditioning, and she sits down in a chair and crosses her legs, and if you look very carefully, you can just make out the edge of her stocking top. It's utterly thrilling.
Oh, don't misunderstand me. I'm not a fast blonde. Well, that stainless Major von dem Eberbach would probably think so, but I'm certain that her feet are iron, not clay.
You know the Iron Maiden? Stunning, isn't she? I don't believe I've ever met a more brunette brunette! Pity she's so terribly proper. You just know that she was a Prefect in school. The sort that gets nicknamed "the Perfect Prefect" - doesn't every school have one? I'll bet that she wouldn't even know what to do with a blonde if she took one on a long drive through the countryside and they ran out of gas.
Doria Red, Countess of Glorian
England, Altalia, Kadoria
Oh, oh! An Aristasian shop, selling real up-to-date schoolgirl books? Can it be true?
And Aristasian reading! A favorite subject of mine!
I absolutely must recommend Olivia. It's a most famous Sapphist schoolgirl romance; as with Mädchen in Uniform, it is the story of a pupil's infatuation with a teacher. It utterly trembles with sensuality, the more so because the narratrix is utterly innocent about the nature of her feelings. I am lucky enough that, even growing up in the Pit, I managed to be innocent enough to spend hours dreaming about the touch of a lovely blonde's hand on my own without those dreams being tainted with the brass tacks, as it were — that is, without really knowing what those sweet girlish dreams were truly about. I so utterly pity those bongos whose innocence was plundered so early that they may never experience this!
Another possibility is a very hard-to-find book, Therese and Isabelle. I haven't actually read it, but I have seen the movie, which is Infra and a bit naughty, so only adult pettes should view it. But it is the love story of two schoolgirls, a brunette and a most exquisite blonde, and so I really have to mention it.
While I am on the subject, I have often thought about adding a page to Belladonna about schoolgirl romances such as these. If anypette can suggest more stories of this sort, I'd be most grateful!
Those of you familiar with my Elektra-site, Belladonna, will know of a couple of other books I would recommend that I think are of special interest to Aristasians. For instance, Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilmore, as it is set in an all-female world, though one not nearly so interesting as Aristasia. Less well known is another of Miss Gilmore's novels, the unjustly neglected Benigna McAvelly, whose nature matches her name: she strives to apply Machiavellian tactics to achieve benign, happy results!
Another highly racinating item is Kadorian Wonder Woman comics — really, what could be more racinating? And in the last few years, some enterprising bongos have had the sense to republish up-to-date comic books, including those of the Amazing Amazon, in large volumes called "archives"; they aren't cheap, except in comparison to what 60-year-old comic books cost in the Pit! I think that if I tell interested pettes that they may buy Wonder Woman's archives at an Amazonian Elektra-site, they will know to what I refer.
As a Culverian, allow me to remind you all of an old Culverian standby: Mr. Horatio Alger, whose books teach the good old Culverian values of hard work, honesty and self-reliance. But his books were about boys, you protest? True, but with two exceptions, both of which can be gotten from Polyglot Press. One is Helen Ford and the other is Tattered Tom, Tom being the nickname of a tomboy who, being alone in the world and having to shift for herself, does boy's work, ably defends herself from bullies with her fists, and dresses, partly, in boy's clothes, until she is reunited with her long-lost family and given her rightful inheritance. And while if this story were being told by a bongo, young Tom would have insisted on remaining coarse and uncivilized and rebelled against ladylike manners and clothing, Tom in fact takes to respectability with alacrity: "She was now a young lady in manners, and her handsome dress set off a face which had always been attractive."
I have always been fond of girls' classics, ever since I was a girl. One of my favorites, too-little known, is Understood Betsy, by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. It is about a little girl who, though a brunette, is oversheltered by well-meaning aunts, to the extent that she is afraid of, well, just about everything. When circumstance requires that she stay with some other relatives for a time, they expect her, as a matter of course, to be far more independent, and she at last begins to blossom into her true brunettishness. And anypette who likes this story will also love the familiar standbys, Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, The All-of-a-Kind Family and the series each of those books belongs to.
There is a passage in Jane Eyre which always sets me to wistful dreams of living in an Aristasian colony. It is where Miss Eyre is describing what it was like to live with her cousins Diana and Mary: "There was a reviving pleasure in this intercourse, of a kind now tasted by me for the first time -- the pleasure arising from perfect congeniality of tastes, sentiments, and principles. I liked to read what they liked to read: what they enjoyed, delighted me; what they approved, I reverenced."
Quite some time ago I chanced on a link from your delightful and inspiring pages to some chapters of Strangers in Paradise.
I have been searching your site ever since then in the hope that I could find those chapters once more. Of course, I also hoped that more of the fascinating tale would unfold as, I am sure that you will appreciate, I am quite eaten up with curiosity as to what adventures will befall the mysterious, dashing brunette in the hostelry.
I would be so grateful if you could refer me to the link, which I have foolishly mislain, and relieve my great curiosity regarding further developments in the tale.
With many thanks for your most inspiring site.
Regrettably the link no longer exists. Aristasia.com, as you may have discovered, has been boarded by Elektraspace pirates — that is where the extracts from Strangers used to be. The title was only a working one and the name (I can't remember wha it was) of the authoress concealed Miss Snow. It was projected to be a Great Epic,and, I believe, still is; though little of it has been mentioned for some time. She meant to scratch some of the early chapters, and aparently lost some of the more important ones that were never published in Elektraspace [warning — always publish your work in Elektraspace, it is the only way to avoid losing it] which is always a touch demoralising for a clever but clumsy authoress. The currently projected title for the whole work is Daughters of the Blue Raihir. Perhaps we shall see more of it soonish.
My darling Girls,
When I was at University almost every Lecturer produced a Reading List to go with her course. The good ones produced a Secondary Reading List to go to when the first had become exhausted or when extra scholarly reading was necessary or helpful. However, we had one extraordinarily erudite Don whose courses not only came complete with Primary and Secondary Lists, but always a very extensive Tertiary List too. It sounds as though some of our Culverian cousins ought to have been in her classes!
Well, all that to say this: that when one has exhausted all the conventional choices in reading matter, perhaps a little more unusual, but extremely interesting, selection might be found among the Anglo-Saxon and Mediaeval Saints such as Juliana, Katherine of Alexandria or Margaret. They are most usually brunette ladies who have done extraordinary things in elaborate and poetic ways. (St.Cecilia is very blonde, rather passive but still very poetic.)
When you have finished those you might try, The Shewings of Julian of Norwich (that's a girl called Julian, not a mis-type), The Book of Margery Kempe, or even the Visions and/or letters and/or science and/or music of the astonishingly brunette Hildegard of Bingen.
These are the obvious ones; there are one or two more available to interested parties.
If there are any interested parties, do drop me a line.
Miss A. Brightmore
A reading list for Aristasia! Oh, but there is so very much! Perhaps we should read some things together and discuss them.
Well, in any case: in Philosophy, one must read The Feminine Universe, but I expect you have. Next comes M. Guénon. Best to start with are Crisis of the Modern World and The Reign of Quantity. The late Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy is wonderful on metaphysics and Art History. Titus Burckhardt also very good. On religions, The Transcendent Unity of Religion by Mr. Frithjof Schuon is excellent. The book was highly praised by Mr. T.S.Eliot and is influential on his later work. Also Mr. Schuon's books on Buddhism and Islam are excellent.
For lighter racinating reading, Mr. Wodehouse, as Miss Belleanne says, is excellent. Miss Agatha Christie is light but highly racinating for Altalian readers or for those who like a more intellectual approach to the detective genre, try Miss Dorothy L. Sayers, Miss Margery Allingham or Miss Josephine Tey. We are hoping soon to reproduce a couple of short stories by a current Aristasian writer — not Aristasian but set in a re-civilised Tellurian future such as that projected in The Female Disciplinary Manual. These are the Charming Mimsy Crystal stories about a blonde Inductive Detective of the later 21st century.
For an alternative to the Whig Interpretation of History (which has become incorporated into Pit popular history — insofar as the Pit still has any popular history) try the novels of Miss Jane Lane.
There is so much more one might mention.
If you like the Abbey books, you may like the much less well-known works of Miss Katherine L. Oldmeadow. Curiously just yesterday I found a book by her in a fleem-shop. The jacket is rather tatty but otherwise the book is sound (physically as well as mentally!) I read Miss Oldmeadow's Princess Anne as a child and loved it dreadfully. Here is a rather awful photo of it. So sorry. We will try harder with our photography (sounds like something you write out fifty times, doesn't it)
We shall be starting an Elektra Department Store soon, called The Harmony Point (after the stockings - but also a Point of Harmony between Aristasia and Real Telluria). We shall be selling some real girls' books there (including the one above) and also will have a Penthouse Library and Roof Garden on the roof (where else?) where we shall reproduce some Essentialist and Secessionist texts of a not-specifically-Aristasian but very next-of-kin-to-Aristasia nature. All you pettes must come and discuss them in the garden. Being a Harmony Point it should be accessible to personae from Avendale School as well as ones from here. Let's give those boundaries-between-fantasy-and-reality a run for their money, shall we?
Things projected for the Penthouse Library include a review of The Constant Nymph, commenting on the book from a Secessionist/Essentialist standpoint, some Mimsy Crystal stories, possibly some stories of the charming confidence trickster Amelia Bingham (a sort of proto-Aristasian Robina Hood), a school story called Shelmerdine and various essays of Secessionist and Essentialist interest.
So, between the Book Department and the Library, The Harmony Point should help somewhat with your literary hungers.
Oh what a lovely idea for a reading list. As it happens I am reading The Abbey Girls at Home by Miss Oxenham, a throughly up to date version and so racinating. I have never read any of her work before and I am delighted by it.
Carmilla by J. Sheridan LeFanu sounds particularly interesting, although perhaps not a novel one would read on one's own late at night!
I would love any more suggestions,
Dear Miss Colette,
You ask a very pertinent question. Is there an Approved Aristasian Reading List? I haven't the least idea! Perhaps we should make one? I for one would be delighted to work my way through it beginning to end.
My personal recommendations would be schoolgirl stories by Miss E.J. Oxenham, Miss Angela Brazil, etc., and novels by P.G. Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh, and, yes, Colette. Poetry by Christina Rossetti seems a must -- she was such a sweet and sheltered blonde, and what a pen she possessed!
I've heard that The Constant Nymph by Miss Margaret Kennedy is esteemed in Aristasia; at the very least, there's a cocktail bar named after it. What say you, Miss Miralene?
P.S. Ooh, I forgot to mention Carmilla by J. Sheridan LeFanu (every blonde who reads it secretly hopes to be the victim of just such a brunette vampire), and Miss Nancy Mitford!
"Printed in Blue because it's True" became a slightly difficult slogan, because the mixture of truth and fiction (or should I say between Ground Level Reality and other levels thereof) in Aristasia is so complex and so intimately interwoven that it really is often difficult to know what should be blue and what shouldn't. However, since there is so much School Fiction popping about at the moment, I thought I should pop in a perfectly true-on-the-most-literal-level account of Avenbridge School today.
Today was Music Day. Miss Devenish was pleased about that because Thursday is the best day for music, being ruled by Sai Thamë, the Janya of Harmony. Cathy Lu (a relative of our Chinese Mistress, Lu Sin San) came to school and delighted us by bringing a lovely gold box of Belgian chocolates tied with pink ribbon. We had China tea in beautiful Arcadian Japanese cups and then proceeded to change into our uniforms.
Now, there are a few things you should know about me, and one of them is that I simply can't keep track of anything. My friend Miss Falconer used to say of me: "Give her one piece of paper and she will get it in the wrong order". Now as you may or may not know, blondes at Avenbridge wear a pink ribbon on their wrists as part of their uniform. And can I keep track of my blonde-ribbon? Can I levitate the Golden Temple of Rayapurh would be just as good a question, and in both cases the answer would be the same. So there I was, once again in uniform and hopelessly ribbonless, having already been punished for the same offence last week.
Then Em came to my rescue. "Use the ribbon from the chocolate-box," she suggested. Quelle idée très spiffity-ho, as the French say. Well, you can see the ribbon. the picture is a bit over-flashed as I took it a moment ago in the Castle Kitchen and I am an even worse photographer than my big sister Lindie, but there are the tea-things; there is the chocolate box looking rather too dark (it really is gold); and there is the ribbon, looking positively aetherial. It is that dark-pink diaphanous streak that passes into the front-left cup.
So I got Cathy to tie on the chocolate-ribbon and was saved. Music was rather nerve-making anyway as we had a long test including things I hadn't really heard of, like descending scales — but Miss Collerton explained the bits we hadn't learned. We really didn't know how we had done and were quite nervous of the result. I was so nervous that I kept asking things without putting my hand up, and at the end of the class I had a stroke of the strap on my hand. Only one, but it is still sore as I type this.
Another thing you might know about me is that I don't like being punished. People sometimes ask, and they might as well ask if I like being thrown off the roof of the Golden Temple of Rayapurh. I would go a fairly long way to avoid most punishments. People ask: "Is it an ambiguous love-hate relationship?" And all I can say is that if any one can find a lovey bit about a hard leather strap across the hand — well lucky old her. She probably hasn't had it.
On the other hand, discipline does mould and create our world and I have absolutely no doubt that it is good for me and I should be worse off in every way without it. And if that doesn't make sense to you, well, it doesn't make sense to me either. But, as I said at the beginning, this is real life, and real life doesn't make sense.
Cathy and I both got lines to write for missing out bits of our homework (purely accidentally I assure you). Now lines are another thing I don't like at all. I don't like the act of writing. I never have. I got a typewriter when I was ten and am inseparable from my ordinator now. Physical writing and bits of paper horrify me, and repetitive writing is my idea of a not awfully nice time. And that isn't putting it as strongly as I might. However, once again, of such things are worlds and realities and security compounded. And once again, don't ask me why. I don't make the Law.
So after school, more jasmine tea, more chocolate and fascinating discussions of the Metaphysics of Music, Plato and Pythagoras, listening to and discussing the music of Hildegarde von Bingen, the twelfth-century polymath and all-round genius and finally getting our test results. I got 94% and a merit — my second in a week, as I got one for my Latin test as well. Cathy, I have to report, got 100%.
So there, to balance all the recent fiction, is a down-to-earth, factual report of life in Avendale District near London.
Printed in blue, because every last word of it is true (it was a strain, but I did it).
Dear Miss Belleanne (and I must say what a lovely name that is!),
Alas and alack I am not the wise pen-mistress Colette, although perhaps she is my namesake. Her novels are so delightful, beautiful and charming that I can not but be flattered that you compare me with her. However, this has made me voice a question that I have had for some weeks now.
Like many pettes at the Cocktail Bar I adore reading, and I am lucky enough to have read several Aristasian novels and philosophical works. However, I do feel that my knowledge is somehow lacking, partly, I suspect, due to the fundamental lack of anything remotely resembling decent education in the Pit. I wonder if there are any literary or philosophical works that are considered essential reading? Colette, of course, would be among the novels one should read, but I wonder any pette has any other suggestions?
As for sneaky slingbacks, I find that many things have a habit of finding their way to my shopping basket without me even hinting at an invitation. This is particularly the case with shoes, nylons, beautiful boxes of chocolate and quite often very frivolous make-up. I'm not sure quite how one deals with such uninvited guests but to be the perfect hostess and make them feel as invited as you can. Which, of course, means purchasing them.
For the full picture pop here.
Dear Miss Colette,
How exactly you divined the circumstances of my defeat by those slingbacked sneaks! I was buying a nice, simple, utilitarian blue-with-a-hint-of-mauve eyeshadow -- and then, whoosh! They'd tip-toed over from the shoe department and were On My Feet.
Oddly enough, I didn't find it hard to choose -- but if there had been a red pair as well there would have been chaos and confusion inside my fluffy blonde brain. I have a Red Slipper Fixation, you see. I've been advised to seek treatment, but it's much more fun not to.
I think I may have your picture on my website.
How sneaky shoes can be, ambushing you like that. I bet you had gone shopping for something practical. That always happens to me, off I go to buy a hardwearing blouse or jumper and what do I come back with but a light cotton party frock.
The pink ones are most marvellous and I can understand you going for the black as well (after all black does practically go with everything) but how could you overlook the green ones, or the yellow ones, or the orange ones or even the blue ones?
Oh I do think I'd not be able to make a choice between them.
Miss Colette x
With all this talk of Avendale School in Elektraspace, I thought there might be just a touch of confusion (I mention no sex in particular) as to what things are real and which are fantasious (I suppose the real adjective is fantastical, but that does seem to imply something I didn't mean!
So, just to clarify, I am popping a picture of the actual classroom at the Embassy, which will be familiar to all girls in Avendale District as opposed to Avendale School. In the Elektra Role-Playing Game, the School is called Avendale and the town Avenbridge. In real life, the School is Avenbridge and the District, Avendale. Yes, I know what you're thinking: why do Aristasians have to be so complicated? But just think of one School as a sort of Elektra-mirror of the other and you won't go far wrong. I hope.
Anyway, here is the Schoolroom at Avenbridge in all its glory. many of you know it, and any of you living withing striking distance of London are very welcome to get to know it (just pop a note to miss_miralene at yahoo dot co dot uk).
By the way, don't be overawed by the arsenal of implements. Discipline does not play a central role in the school, and many school days pass without any punishment taking place. A good girl who does not need punishment (not always the same thing — but a girl fulfilling both these criteria) may never have it at all. The arsenal is just there so a mistress or prefect may choose exactly the right thing when it is needed.
The new classroom clock usually lives at the back of the room, but I think it looks perfect just there. However, Miss Collerton says that the purpose of the clock is for the mistresses to time their lessons, not for the girls to watch, and I have a feeling Miss Wardelle may agree with her, and since she is the headmistress her decision will be final in the Great Clock Controversy.
Just to give you an idea what goes on at the school, last week the following things happened:
Monday: Tennis Practice
Tuesday: Music Lesson
Thursday: Lesson on the Mediaeval view of the cosmos
Friday: Tennis Practice
Saturday: Timed Latin Test
And all these things took place in a week where there was no formal plenary meeting of the School. They all really took place in the classroom pictured here (or else on the very-nearby tennis courts).
I hope this dispels any confusion.
I think live-recorded Bugle and Drum music clips and perhaps even Miss Serelique's input (as you suggest) would be a splendid idea to create some atmosphere in the Elektra world, if it could be done.
One consideration with the state of the art Quirinelle technology that was imported recently from Novaria, would be the file sizes and the time taken to download for non-broadband enabled viewers. This can perhaps be likened to the early television sets and lack of transmitters in some Aristasian regions, if any girls are thinking I am far too futuristic and imaginative for my own good, or wondering if I am indeed some kind of visionary inventress after all!
If you have read any of my previous postings you will see that my intellect and aspirations for fame, may only qualify me to portray 'George' from Enid Blyton's Famous Five books on the silver screen, which I would love to do. I trust there may be Drama classes in the Electra School and perhaps, a panto to aspire to?
Miss Emma B (Blonde one)
We are certainly planing drama at Avenbridge, which may be recorded (part of Miss Cadogan's Diction project). With these new microphone-link thingummies - who knows what may happen at Avendale?
What fun you must have had, between the games and that cake you mentioned. We forgive you for not saving some for us because we understand all too well the needs of a growing blonde for pink icing and whatever lies beneath it.
I used to have a badminton racquet, too, although I'm so fearsomely uncoordinated that I never used it — in fact, I confess I only really wanted it because it was pink. I was nine... come to think of it, my shopping habits haven't changed much since then. I was ambushed by a pair of pink shoes just the other day and they turned out so well I had to have the black ones too!
Well, at Lindie's encouragement I thought I would write and let you know how the badminton tournament went.
The games season at my school has very strict regulations of when each game begins and ends. For Badminton, it begins with Spring and ends with Whitsun, after Whitsun, until our glorious summer hols, we play tennis and you can find me emitting yelps of horror as those rather fearsome white balls come whizzing towards me. I could tell you each and every other game season but I fear that this is just a lot of un-useful information, the sort of information that makes my brunette sister tease me. So I will stop here and move swiftly to the Badminton Tournament.
Well, I was selected to play for my house, and a very great honour it is too but one of which I was a little fearful as I never considered myself to be the quickest player! On the day of the tournament I was woken up by my dear friend Veronica who had managed to sneak a little piece of cake into our room, strictly against the rules of course, but Veronica insisted that I needed all the energy I could muster! And it was delish- all pink icing and cherries.
After breakfast I had to rush to get my kit on and the tournament began. First, as is tradition, the whole school sang a rather rousing version of our School song, and all the players stood up and shook hands with each other. The Lower School players played first. I was first and up against Mary Trevellian, a brunette no less from Charleston House. The game started with a fair bit of rallying, back and forth went the shuttlecock with neither of us wanting to break out and score the first point. However, this is a rather boring and tedious way to play badminton and something had to give. Mary sent the shuttlecock first to the back of the court, which I gallantly hit back and then she swooped down and hit it right by the net and it was all I could do to run there before the shuttlecock fell to the ground. Mary had scored the first point.
The game was knocked into a second gear, so to speak, and Mary managed to score five more points before I got my first point in. The cheers from my house were deafening but it was the little cheer from Veronica that really did it (or perhaps it was the reserve of energy from the cake!) and I managed to increase my score and I lost the game by only 7 to 11. The second game I came back with a score of 11 to 9 and Mary won the match in the third game by 8 to 11. As I went to the benches for my rest before my two other matches against Elsbeth Lindley and Eva Temple I heard cheers of 'Well Done Nancy' and 'Hooray for Sissinghurst' (Sissinghurst is my House).
I did tremendously well against Elsbeth, winning 2 games
straight, 11 to 6 and 11 to 8 respectively. Eva was more of of a challenge
as we are both similar in our strengths and weaknesses- it was almost like
playing against oneself! Eva likes to hug the front of the court and flicks
the shuttlecock with such dexterity that you never know which direction she
is likely to take it. Her cunning won her the first game with a score of 11
to 7! But the second game I came back with all cylinders firing and made her
run about the court like a mad thing and triumphantly won 11 to 4 in a very
short game. The third, deciding game was hard pushed and we were neck and
neck until the very end. We both got to 10 points and for those of you who
aren't up on the rules of the game, this means that the game must be won by
13 points. It was a rather tense 10 minutes as we continued matching point
for point until I broke through and got up to my 13th point. The applause
was deafening and I
congratulated Eva heartily on what was a very enjoyable game.
All in all it was a wonderful tournament. I came joint second with Eva, Mary being first and Elsbeth third. After the Upper School played the whole school celebrated with our Tournament Party. This is held outside, with bunting and everything, and with the Old Girls in attendance. I wore a very pretty dress from Trent, mid calf with blue, red and white flowers printed all over it and little puff sleeves. And the food was beyond words! Salads and little tiny pies, cucumber and watercress sandwiches and gallons of Elderflower cordial and, of course, the best bit- Victoria Sponge with strawberries and cream. Yum!
Hope you enjoyed my little (ahem, sorry rather long) report. If I had any cake left I would of course share it with all the pettes here at the Cocktail Bar, but, erm, I seemed to have eaten rather more than my fair share.....
Our esteemed Blonde Management informs us that in the first three months of the original Avendale School role-playing game twelve thousand posts passed through the group. She means, of course, twelve hundred. Blondes and figures! A marriage made in H— well, not Heaven, anyway.
Twelve hundred is still a pretty phenomenal achievement. I wonder if the new school will be as busy. It has certainly got off to a very promising start; and it's quality, not quantity that counts. The New Avendale certainly seems to have that.
One more comment before I fly. Em may have found the new wireless doorbell dull because she didn't need to use her equally wireless power drill to fit it, but I think it gives a certain cachet to the new Embassy.
What do you girls think?
I meant to write this afternoon, but I've spent all day feeling as though I've been run over by an omnibus. Two hours ago, I decided there was nothing for it but to seclude myself in the powder room to perform arcane blonde rituals with sacred potions with names like Gommage Eclat Express, Masque Force Hydratante, and Lait Fondant Pour le Corps. After that, and much business with pink-handled makeup brushes, I emerged, transformed, resolving to write letters, do the laundry, and give myself a rather spiffing French pedicure.
(Pause to apply second coat of pink nail varnish.)
Your wardrobe sounds tres charmante! (Apologies for all the Franglais sans accent marks; I'm not sure how to do them on this kind of ordinator). Do take more pictures so that we may admire your definite chic. Especially the short, military-cut red jacket, which sounds as though it would be just my sort of thing. I have an almost-brunette passion for crisp lines.
You seem to have extraordinary luck with woollies; everything I come across tends to be tainted by that Octopus we've been hearing so much about. I do have a deep purple merino wool twinset that does the business, and a few other sufficiently innocuous thingummies, but nothing I'm really pleased with (except possibly the soft grey pure cashmere one I, ah, borrowed from my mother before fleeing the country -- she didn't need it, let alone deserve it, believe me).
Gloves and hats are my great sadness. I have a few pairs of more formal gloves that I can only just squeeze my hands into, inherited from my late Nana who was a sartorial lioness, but for daywear, just two pairs of thin leather ones for winter: one red, one black. Where do you get your gloves? Is there some secret Aristasian Glove Emporium known to everyone but me? (Come to think of it, if there isn't one, perhaps there ought to be?)
In summer, I favour large, rather plain straw hats (I've just bought four for this year, which I plan to dress up a little with chiffon scarves and coloured ribbons, just as soon as I *find* some decent chiffon scarves and coloured ribbons -- I never know where to get things here in Culveria); in the winter, berets. I've seen pictures of my Nana in some absolutely darling little hats with veils and I wish she'd saved at least one or two of them.
(Pause to apply third coat of pink nail varnish -- why do things by halves?)
The jewellery question is easier; I don't have much, but what I do have came mostly from antique shops -- the prices are moderate for simple pieces with semi-precious stones, and if a pendant dates from the Victorian era, racination is pretty much guaranteed. And then there are dear Nana's pearls, the elegant finishing touch to any ensemble.
And to think they call Annya a chatterbox! I'll leave off here before I become unutterably dull. After all, I do have to run over to the school to see how everyone is getting on there. Isn't it exciting?
Are there any accents in Charmante?
The 31st of May is a red-letter day. It will go down in history as the day Avendale restarted. Avendale School was an online Aristasian role-playing game which flourished about five years ago. In the first three months of its existence more than twelve thousand postings were made through the group (and one-liners weren't allowed).
It was an extraordinary literary roleplay venture which allowed girls interested in Aristasia from all over the world to experience "virtually" the life of an Aristasia schoolgirl. Standards were high and exacting, but the experience was deeply rewarding.
Today Avendale is re-starting as a sister school to Avenbridge which meets weekly near London, allowing Aristasian girls, near and far, to become part of the same School community.
If you would like to take part in the new Avendale, follow this link.
It could be the first step in the adventure of a lifetime.
The Blonde Management
The plural of octopus may well be octopodes (with four syllables
no less!). Miss Serelique is almost never wrong about clever things like that.
However, I think Miss Bellanne and Miss Brunette Brown will agree with me
that 'Octopussies' is a significantly nicer plural for such a word.
I'm not much of a cat lover myself but I am currently missing Zoe — again! It's a funny old story, that one. One day she and her Nanny were happily getting on with business as usual. Then, the next day, Zoe's daily vitamins were infiltrated by foul-tasting malaria tablets. Then two days later they had to dress up in their intrepid clothes and pith helmets and go off looking for more tigers (that's the feline link with the first paragraph - clever, eh?). It was all terribly disorienting, I can tell you. But then, life with Zoe is always enough to make a girl's head spin.
Last time I saw Zoe, she was dressing up in her big sister's corset and fussing because she couldn't find any black stockings to go with it! At her age too! When she gets to sixteen (IF she EVER gets to sixteen!) she will have a collection of enough corsets and lip gloss to sink the Navy! (That is my other connection to other things - double clever, eh?)
Life at the Embassy proceeds as ever. I have fitted a new wireless doorbell - which wasn't very interesting since I didn't even need my drill (sigh!) and Annya had a timed Latin Test. She got some stupendous mark and a merit mark on the test paper. I suppose that's fair though since if she had got a bad mark she would have had at least six nice stripedy marks not on the paper! See, I am suffering another bout of Zoe withdrawal symptoms, I keep thinking about stripedies!
I expect you've all had enough of me now so I shall go and water the euphorbia. Be good, girlies,
APOLOGIES for the disappearance of Lindie's woolly yesterday and of the Avendale mini-site! Serious server problems caused the trouble. These have now been resolved. Lucky Lindie wasn't in it!
Of course, if we are speaking about that Octupus, there is only one of him. He just has a lot of tentacles that make people think there are various oppositions and alternatives available in the Pit. That is why he is called the Octopus.
But on to more serious matters. What does one wear on top. For me there are three alternatives. In summer I often wear dresses, which solves the problem. With skirts I wear normally either blouses or woollies. I should love to show you some of my collection of blouses. I have some quite gorgeous ones. With black high-necked jumpers, which I love, I usually wear some sort of neclace. I found some utterly wonderful ones in a sale at the British Home Stores for only 6d each. (oh! Now that the Old Avendale mini-site is on-line you can find out about Aristasian money here) this particular jewellery is mostly in silver-coloured metal with pink stones, quite small, very chic and elegant. I have just snapped a not-very-good photo of one of the pieces on one of my jumpers to give you an idea of the effect.
I just wish I could show you some of my clothes and my new jewellery. I also found some wonderful Quirrie-style sun spectacles at a closing-down sale for another 6d.
And jackets, of course! I have lots of jackets which I wear with dresses, blouses and jumpers. They can look very smart. I found a short, military-cut red one with brass buttons recently which I love just this side of idolatry.
General advice to a beginner would be — swirly things can be lovely, but take care always to be neat. A crisp, up-to-date appearance is essential. One should look well-groomed and superior. The question one must constantly ask is, could some one looking like this (the image I see in my looking-glass) have stepped out of a real film?
Gloves also are important. In Trent no respectable girl leaves the house without hat and gloves. In Quirinelle this is softened to gloves only, hat being optional, and that is the rule we tend to follow. But gloves do often make the difference between looking genuinely up-to-date and looking like a bongo dressed up.
I do hope some of this is of help. Do go on firing questions. I am always happy to do my vest — er best.
Since we are on the subject of schools these days, Miss Lindie is a prefect at Avenbridge.
It's been YEARS since last I wrote — all I can say in my defence is that sharing an ordinator can be a tricky business for those of us who need to be in the right mood to deal with correspondence. Every time I dashed into the study, intending to pen a missive of staggering wit and verve, Someone Else had got there first and was playing some silly bongo game.
The only avenue left open to me for feminine expression was playing with (and adding to!) my make-up collection. Miss Lola, your words on the subject of lip gloss were a great comfort to me. It's wonderful to have support for my theory that, if Miss Monroe had had the opportunity to blind passers-by with the reflected light from her shiny, sparkly red lips, she would have done so on a daily basis.
And speaking of La Marilyn... the latest addition to my cabinet of delights is a powder compact by an undistinguished, inexpensive brand named Physician's Formula. Have a quick look at the picture and you'll see why.
The Someone Else
who so ungallantly got between Moi and Moi's Mailbox has
used the turning season as an excuse to break out just such a pair of Johnny
Octopus-inspired old flour bags as you describe. Quelle horreur!
But at least it gives me a chance to mention something fun I read once, that
the plural of octopus isn't "octopi," the way most people think
it is, but "octopuses," because its root was Greek rather than Latin!
I'm wearing my very longest, swirliest polka-dotted skirt (complete with frills!) today, just to balance the atmosphere around here. I believe it was originally intended to be worn by a dancer of some sort, but anything this good for twirling just has to be up-to-date. It's a hand-me-down from Miss Taganov, like most of my best skirts (although I found the shimmery dark green one on my own, and the floor-length black satin). It's the top half of me I really struggle with -- what sort of thing do you girls wear?
Oh! And there's a school to think of, isn't there? I dreamed I was a prefect and was taking tea with the headmistress in a very pretty garden, with petunias, but I don't expect that's terribly helpful. What comes now? Are there wheels turning within wheels and that sort of thing? Is there anything I can do, besides offer my fifteen lipsticks and eighteen lip glosses for everyone to try on while we chat?
Miss Serelique tells us that some people hold that the proper plural is octopodes — pronounced as four syllables. Come to think of it, Miss Serelique has,I think, the distinction of being the only person ever to appear at Avendale Elektra-school with exactly the same name and persona that she wears "on the ground" here at Avendale District
I like Em's sugestion for a bugle and drum corps. One might, however, ask, if it is to be an Elektra one, what is the point of a musical corps that will never be heard.
Answer: why should it not be heard? That was another question, but you know what I mean. No you don't. I haven't told you. What I am asking is, why not — if we can manage to scrape up a bugle and drum — record Miss Brown and Em doing their stuff? Come to that, why not have recorded lessons in Miss Serelique's dulcet groans. Just a joke — the groans I mean, not the idea. The idea is a good one, don't you think?
First of all I'd like to offer my apologies to 'Miss Brunette Em', and an admission that having not met you or not detecting your obvious brunetteness from previous posts, I inadvertently called you a Blonde! Having read more and indoctrinated myself with my new Aristasian Life daily, I can now more clearly recognise some obvious traits that distinguish the Aristasian sexes. I am glad to say I am very blonde, in fact i'm probably heading for Albino status with some of the things I have been credited for recently!. However, in saying this (and to ward off any complaints from my blonde peers), I am in no way implying that blondes are any less intelligent than brunettes, it is just that I am more probably athrowback to the classic Pit characterisation of the'Dumb Blonde'!
One example was at my previous 'School' (I will refer to this as a role play Drama situation, don't ask!), that was filmed prior to my arrival in the Girls Town Cocktail Bar. It was a Geography lesson and we were studying a passage of text on Glaciers in a Tellurian Hemisphere (Northern Europe, in fact). On this particular day my mind was awash with all kinds of exciting thoughts and looking ahead to new life in Quirinelle, so much so that I was looking at the text before me, listening to the Mistress's voice but not actually digesting any of the content. The Mistress, probably noticing I was not giving my full attention suddenly asked "Emma, where is Northern Europe"? Without thinking and totally unscripted (although as a group we never follow a script, just a story outline), i replied instantly, "At the bottom of the paragraph"! The words' Northern Europe' did indeed appear in the text at the bottom of the paragraph but to make matters worse, as the whole class laughed around me I still didn't think i'd said anything wrong!
Another example of my saying what comes into my head rather than thinking "Hey, this may actually get me into serious trouble" was another Geography Lesson that included a historical element (not my best subject!). We were studying the origins of old English counties in Telluria, as a basis for identifying how the regional boundaries of Aristasia may have been created. In advance of the lesson we were asked to research our family tree and trace the names and background of our Ancestor’s county, so that we could later answer questions in the classroom. The Mistress spent an age reading a long passage of text on the origins and progression of the Counties and within this, gave a detailed explanation about how in 1899, the county of London was formed from the city and parts of the surrounding counties of Kent, Middlesex and Surrey.
I missed all of this due to the fact I was daydreaming and studying my friend Shirley’s (who was sitting in front of me), new hairdo. I had also unfortunately, not done any research the previous evening, and had only remembered where my Ancestors were born, but not noted which county it was in. All i had with me were some notes from my Ancestors' birth certificate records. When asked which of the counties my Ancestors came from (that were all displayed on a diagram we each had in front of us and I should have at least been following during the lecture), I replied “Haringey”?! The Mistress looked at me furiously, and in my desperation I followed this up with, “Hornsey”? The other girls were in hysterics, the Mistress was not amused, and for me it was another trip to see the Headmistress that day.
I have learnt from this and will be on my best behaviour in any form of Avendale School I am able to be involved with. I am never deliberately naughty in School (unlike some i have met who were more concerned with discipline than learning for real), but the two examples above will perhaps give you an idea of my natural state and i will work hard to overcome this. Since arriving in Quirinelle and having read outlines of Avendale life too, I feel very at ease with the high standards expected and am genuine in my attempts to develop myself in your company.
Miss Emma B - Very Blonde xx
PS: I love the idea of a Drum and Bugle Corps and can already imagine my very brunette namesake (Em) blowing her own bugle at the helm (Hee, Hee...sorry!!)
Not deliberately naughty, perhaps, but after you were told to take care over capitalising your first person pronouns and proofread your postings, look how many you have still left uncapitalised! Don't let it happen again.
The headmistress of Avenbridge raised the subject of mistresses and the necessity for having them — while pupils may be relatively easy to recruit, mistresses are another matter. I should just point out that while mistresses are indeed necessary, they are less crucial to an Elektra school than to an on-the-ground one. At Avenbridge lessons are a central activity whereas in Avendale roleplay among the girls was more central. One or two good prefects are very necessary though.
Girls may be interested to know also that there was a successor to Avendale called Kissingbrook. It was much less well known and generally "quieter" and lacked any "star players" — but it indicates that an Elektra school can operate on various levels of activity. I mention these facts to assure our fair Management Pettes that a huge organisational undertaking is not necessarily required.
Thank you. We are very seriously considering the new school now, and to that end we have put up the old Avendale mini-site so that girls may take a look. This may give a better idea to new girls what Avendale was like.
It has lately been reported, by certain (probably blonde) persons, that Miss Margueritte Collerton (A.K.A. "Em") was lately a member of "Company Blonde". The management wish to state catagorically that Miss Collerton is in fact VERY brunette (Annya calls her and Miss Diana, "Super-brunettes" in fact). The management apologises for any embarassment caused (past - or future if Miss Diana gets her hands on this information) to Miss Collerton.
Retractions notwithstanding, an interesting idea has been raised. If we can start up an Elektraspatial school, might we also have and Elektraspatial Bugle Company? I thought a military company might be best with just one bugler, but decided the blondes would start getting all precious about their fingernails and complexions so I have placated myself with the bugle idea.
Hold on a dog-gone minute though! I seem to have some recollection that in Culveria and a few other places, they have military officer training courses/clubs IN schools. If we have school, may we have a Drum and Bugle Corps? Miss Brown plays drums and I can manage a bugle (rustily but recoverably) I think.
Now all we shall need is a uniform. How about this one? These girls are currently performing for tellurian audiences outside the Empire but they have copied the Andrews Sisters in most ways, so they ought to be sound enough to have their picture here.
What do you think? I bet Miss Wardelle would be happy enough about it all. Oh go on, say we can!
Miss Brunette Em x
Your title sounds like a headline from The Looking Glass. And the pictures would not be out of place there either. I wonder how much a subscription costs...
I would like to endorse Em's recommendation of Telegrams Canada, it really is Fabuliscious. Some of the tunes remind me of the rationing and community closeness we had when our fighting girls were at war in Telluria.
I am very flattered to be referred to as a 'highly intelligent lady inventress', but as a 16 year old schoolgirl (or the scatty, immature adult my blonde and brunette friends will know in the 'Real' world) and, as a GT new girl, I do not feel I am worthy of such a grand compliment. I have a catalogue of mishaps and downright bad common sense moments that I am often reminded of, and am regarded by most (usually my elders) as being impulsive, spirited and with a vivid imagination. I cannot therefore seriously align myself with real inventresses such as Alexandra Grace Bell, Samantha Morse or Marie Curie just yet.
Incidentally, who invented the sky car? Was it ever road tested by Amy Johnson? My blonde friend Shirley seems to think it was and we have a bag of licorice allsorts riding on the answers. I know it is improper for young ladies to wager, but I am sure these questions may come up in a future Aristasian History examination.
Shirley does not unfortunately, have such articulate and learned friends such as your good selves to help her with the answers, and any time saved in my research means more time to listen to Telegrams Canada tonight.
Thanks again Em, you really are the Boogie Woogie Bugle Girl in Company Blonde!
Em! In Company Blonde! Now I've heard everything!
My dear, dear
On this subject of censorship and what might be suitable for consumption within the Empire; I have recently found a marvelous wireless station that I should like to recommend to any pette who loves the wireless. If you go to 'Live 365' you can sign up to listen to all sorts of wireless programmes. Lots of the stations on their list would seem to be highly virulent forms of the newly named 'pit virus' ( does the highly intelligent lady inventress wish to have it called the Emmarus Bemmarosa or something?). However, if you are careful and look under the category "oldies" you will find a station called, "Telegrams Canada". I thought I might try it for a while and have been listening avidly for over a week already!
One night last week I heard Treasure Island just as though I had a whole troupe of actors to read me a bedtime story! As I write this, I am listening to a comedy programme about a Kadorian fool being drafted in to the Navy
Officer says: "What would you do if you saw a battleship coming towards you?"
Sailor says: "Torpedo it!"
Officer: What would you do if you saw a second battleship coming?
Sailor: Torpedo it.
Officer: What about if you say a whole fleet coming?
Sailor: Fire a whole fleet of torpedoes at it!
Officer: Where do you think you're getting all these torpedoes from?
Sailor: Same place you're getting all those battleships!
Of course, you do get interrupted by the odd unsavoury advertisement trying to persuade you to buy a 'preferred membership' (apparently it's cheaper than those rather splendid-sounding, if complicated, cups of coffee they do so very well across the pond!) However, these advertisements are not too frequent on THIS station (other stations are close to being infested with them). Preferred membership will apparently eliminate these advertising intrusions and allow you to listen to even more stations.
OOOhhhhhhh! Now there is a Kadorian band playing and singing, "This can't be love because I feel so well". Such a very jinky version too! And all this is yet another advertisement - for Kadorian War Bonds! It is just marvelous to feel that there is Real wireless again after I had thought I should never again be able to turn a switch and hear real music and drama and comedy and thrillers, and Sherlock Holmes, and Dragnet, and Johnnie Dollar, and the Shadow, and Abbott and Costello, and Lucille Ball ..... and everything!
Anyway, why don't you give it a try?
Be good, girls!
Dear Miss Miralene
Miss Anne Belleanne wrote (and I quote) "I think it could be made to work, if details of Real happenings were posted and replied to promptly... and as I said before, it might be considered good homework for the girls who took part in them."
I think this is an excellent idea because those of us that are unable to take part in the real happenings can relate to the experiences, and perhaps learn from the mistakes, education and the pearly wisdom of other girls.
If we someday do join the "Real" Avendale experience ourselves, then at least it is hoped, our values and prior knowledge will give us a more suitable grounding and seamless integration.
Regarding importing certain items from the pit, there are quite a few convenience products, cosmetics and literary works that would indeed be very useful in any universe, but for me that would detract from my own vision of Aristasian life and I slip into bad habits. I think it should perhaps be confined to those products that have Aristasian roots so to speak, such as Miss Miralene alludes to (I think?) like genuine or authentic clothing, make up that is visually Aristasian and media that has been censored as virus (Pit poisonous) free.
It's a beautiful day today so I am off now for a picnic with Aunt Abigail and my brunette friend Gillian. We do have a picnic set from the Pit and I have included a small photograph for your consideration. Aunt Abigail thinks it most likely qualifies as being virus free, because it is very traditional with real plates, glasses and cutlery, unlike those cheap mass produced plastic Pit dining sets, that harbour bacteria and bring germs from the Pit into our world. Perhaps a list of already virus free and recommended products would help to minimise any embarrassing conversations with Aristasian Customs?
I have never heard the term virus-free used in that way before, but what a clever and very natural extension. Thank you, Emma. I believe you have coined an Aristasian phrase! Pearly wisdom is a charming one, too — gates, queens and now us!
Congratulations on not being afraid to say "censorship". Of course one means censorship not in the military sense but in the sense of the British Board of Film Censors which helped keep cinema charming in the Real World (the Hayes Commission did the same in Culveria). In the Pit it is pusillanimously re-named British Board of Film Classification. But then a) it doesn't do the job of a true censor and b) it would take more than any Board could do to make Pit cinema charming. Silk purses and sows' ears come to mind.
I am fascinated by all this talk about the School — so fluffy and charming and tactical and all that sort of thing — but I am also pleased to see the conversation return to the real, down-to-earth, fundamental-and-inescapable Hard Realities of Life.
I refer of course to make-up in general and lip-gloss in particular.
So, being the hard-blonde-headed Realist that I am, let me take your points in order. Or pretty much so.
1) We must import make-up from the Pit. yes. And clothes and ordinators and all sorts of other things. Sometime we get clothes directly from the Real World. Make up rarely as it tends to get a bit old and smelly coming through the Iron Curtain. Ordinators almost never because they take up whole rooms which could be used for more important things like Cocktail Bars and blonde dressing rooms.
2) (I don't know if this is really another point , but it looks so authoritative to pop in those numbers with only one bracket, doesn't it?) I have a Trentish evening dress which I love to pieces — I mean, love a lot. It came through the Iron Curtain absolutely intact and is gorgeous beyond all describable gorgeousness. However most of my clothes are newly made and look perfectly up-to-date. You can buy them all over the place — very cheaply if you shop in charity shops. You will often find them absolutely new even in charity shops because bongos buy them but don't wear them. Don't ask me why, but I assure you it is true. I think they buy them, stare at them longingly for a while, and then, shedding a silent tear, put on a pair of old flour bags or whatever Johnny Octopus is telling them to wear at the time.
I know you think I am joking, but just come and see my wardrobe — or Tigrou's, or Annya's. The theory may or may not be exactly right, but the Scientific Application in terms of buying gorgeous raiment is proven a thousand times over.
3) (Ignore the numbers if you don't like them — I must confess I am losing track of what they are supposed to mean) Back to make-up. First of all, having made the point (I think I did) that it really doesn't matter where you buy your make-up so long as it is racinated, we have to ask what is racinated (note the Socratic Method. Move over, Miss Trent).
Is lip-gloss not racinated? Thinking of some pictures I have seen in up-to-date magazines I feel sure something very like it exists in the Real World. I was once assured that lining one's lips in one shade and filling them in another is not up-to-date; and then I saw a Kadorian Picturegoer cover with a photograph of Dorothy Lamour having done just that.
4) But even if it wasn't, let us consider this. The Pit has robbed us of innumerable things. If we see anything in the Pit (and by in the Pit I mean not made there but innovated there) which we can adapt to our own superior and delightful ends then I think the Pit owes it to us. My attitude to things I want from the Pit is summed the Title of an up in an up-to-date song:
What Lola wants, Lola gets
Well all right — it isn't quite that simple because a lot of things in the Pit are poisonous, but if one knows what one is doing one can easily incorporate things like lip-gloss into a charming and racinated miroir. What we are much more careful about is what the Pit terms its media — films, books, songs, magazines pictures, etc., because these are, as the clever girls put it, auto-interpretative — they are articulate; they contain their own interpretations of themselves; thus they are almost never free from poison. But lip-gloss, like ordinators, can be used for our own purposes and interpreted in our own way.
Without a local Aristasian community and the advice of elders and sisters it can be a little hard to know just how to go about these things, but you seem a very sound girl to me, and I think you won't go far wrong with your lip-gloss.
But if you have any questions about any of these things, do please ask. Your local Aristasian community is never further than your ordinator!
Miss Lola Lola
Your lavender "but" matches my lavender skirt so well that I feel more than qualified to respond to your Not-So-Quickettie Reply.
You're quite right; Reality has much to answer for and it must not be let off the hook! Perhaps I didn't express myself very well in the note I passed you. I meant to say something along the lines of we should use the Real school as a starting point for the Elektraspatial one. Descriptions of events at the Real school would be clearly marked as such, and whatever goes on in Elektraspace would grow naturally out of them.
For instance, when responding to a chronicle of the Tamara expedition, we would continue the real event as a fictional one — and pretend that we'd all been lucky enough to attend! -- but we'd know perfectly well who had actually been there and who was imagining it. Would that be a clear enough demarcation between the two branches of the school, do you think? The school would have two histories intertwined, feeding each other but still with a certain separation. I think it could be made to work, if details of Real happenings were posted and replied to promptly... and as I said before, it might be considered good homework for the girls who took part in them.
Or it might not be, but you see how hard I'm trying!
Another matter has been puzzling me for some time. How do Aristasian households reconcile their preference for racination with the undeniable fact that they must import certain things from the Pit? Put simply, when one has seceded, whatever does one do about make-up?
Aflame with curiosity and addicted to lip gloss,
I am a new girl, but not the 'absolute new one' that 'Chatterbox' Annya describes, so I hope I still warrant being chaperoned around the school by a Prefect whilst I am finding my feet?
I recently left a tranch of cyber chatters in the pit after receiving some self-indulgent and rather vulgar approaches, so would be delighted to escape to a very respectful sanctuary where pit players are banned.
I am a huge Marilyn Monroe fan and my most prized possession is her autograph, which my Aunt Abigail managed to get when she was working as a secretary for Hulton Press in London. I would love to watch G*ntl*m*n Prefer Blondes, Niagara or any other Aristasian film that is deemed suitable for a girl of my tender years (16).
I may not be blessed with the intellect and imagination to contribute as vividly as other impressive writers, but hope my time at the Elektraspace School will improve my literary submissions beyond recognition.
Please treat this as my expression of interest in joining as a pupil. I look forward to receiving further details in due course.
Of course, we aren't yet certain there will be a School, but we shall certainly give you details if and when there is. It is true that there are some impressive writers about these parts — but please don't let that put any of you off. Every girl who aspires to Aristasian ideals should feel very free to join in at Girls' Town and in the new School (if and when). You are all welcome. And don't be put off by this talk of vetting and the "wrong sorts" — we are talking about the Pit types Emma mentions. Any genuine girl with a real interest in Aristasia — however new and inexperienced — will always be made welcome.
Thanks for the good wishes for the badminton- I am rather nervous! I'll let you know how it went- it's only a week away! How is your tennis going? I must say that although I do enjoy badminton I find tennis rather hard, I think the ball just bounces along and flies through the air with such terrific speed!
I'm not sure what's more exciting, the Tamara exhibition or the cocktails. I suppose it will depend on whether Miss Wardelle will be setting any essays afterwards! But having cocktails will mean we get to try some of Miss B's cocktails. Talking of cocktails, did I ever tell you about my little blonde sister Coco and her champagne incident?
Estella (my older brunette sister) was having a soiree and we younger girls where banned from attending (this was shortly before Estella went of to University) and all the grown ups had decided that Estella was old enough to be the hostess on her own. Well half way through the evening little Coco trotted down the stairs clutching Rabbit, all mop-top curled and sleepy as she had been awakened by the noise. She trotted in to the party and one of the blondes saw Coco and took to her straight away, picking her up and fussing her no end. Well, things came to a head when Coco said she was thirsty and one of the very silly blondes decided to give Coco her glass of champagne and of course Coco drank it all up and after a few minutes started to complain about her 'wobbly head'. Poor Coco. Mama, of course, was furious and needless to say Estella was punished as she should have seen what was happening, being the hostess and everything.
I am certainly looking forward to meeting your friend Em, and seeing all the girls old and new! I must say, your sister Annya's idea for an Elektraspace Avenbridge is a jolly good idea.
Lots of love,
It isn't a daydream, most dear Miss Belleanne, but it is not definite that it can be done. Let me put forward some thoughts in note form. Hold on — just let me fetch a piece of school paper