With much Brunette love to all of the sweet blondes, now satisfactorily chastened
Does anyone have a good source for fine quality, fine denier (i.e. very smooth to the touch) seamless reinforced heel and toe stockings in size 10 1/2 L and various neutral shades to be worn as everyday nylons?
The second hat is a sensible choice for afternoon receptions (Tuesdays or Thursdays) or Wednesday afternoon bridge: dignified, not flamboyant at all, yet with a delicate twinge of the mysterious about it. This one is a scooped-out, tilted black velvet pillbox with a latticework of gold-colored beads and three-quarter veil in black chicken-wire lace, matched with gold-clasped ribbon choker and slim black velvet gloves. A hat like this gives a girl just oodles of confidence and makes implausible bidding at bridge appear almost stunningly clever.
For those brunettes lucky enough to have a blonde who is handy with needle and thread, you might drop her a hint by ordering our patterns and carelessly leave them lying about with her favorite maggies: the skullcap is Pattern No. LC-712, (three cents) and the pillbox is Pattern No. STP-1278, (four cents).
That isn't Old Possum's Book of Practical Hats, is it? Or are we mixing it up with something else?
Sarah Jane, Scribette
1. The meeting began with the secret pledge of loyalty to our sorority, to our Mistresses, to the Empress, and to Mother Aristasia.
2. President Wilhemina apologized for postponing today's meeting due to her slight head cold, then read the minutes from the last meeting. Pettes expressed thankfulness that our beloved President's illness is no longer and approved the minutes, after a bit of bickering about who was and who was not present at meeting last.
3. Louise reported the club's current funds at 2 guineas, 4 shillings, and a ha'penny (plus Dorothy's contribution from New Trent: two bits and an Indian nickel).
All decided that the coffers were sufficiently full, noting that the only time we must dip into them is on that infrequent occasion when a Mistress doesn't give her maid enough money to enjoy a little drink after the meeting, and that only ever happens to Linda, and only because her Mistress is a Blonde and Linda herself is even more of a Blonde and much to shy to ask for the shillings.
4, Pettes read from their black notebooks and all reported having a most satisfactory Nativity. All commented on Sarah Jane's lovely studded brooch and Mary Jane's stunning new hat ("Just like the ones Norma is always showing us," commented our President). Each pette in turn told what she received and what she gave on Nativity day. Mary Jane reminded everyone that the pettes absent this evening are from Eastern households, celebrating the twelve days of Nativity with such festivities as well as such solemnity that they were not able to leave their homes for the Meeting.
5. The meeting ended with a moment of silent prayer for all of the maids who have not found Mistresses, all of those wandering souls whom we often hear about but have never met ourselves.
I suppose I never thought of the practical function of gargoyles, arched doorways and leaded windows in a steel-framed 20th. century building, any more than I waste much time contemplating the practical value of some of the hats that I show you pettes on these pages. Why, if we are going to make anything at all with our hands, it may as well be pleasing to the eyes and the touch, doesn't that stand to reason? So I am completely baffled as to why anyone in any province would ever want to make something that is drab and ugly!
Now, speaking of form and function, take today's hat lesson: there are probably lots better ways to shield oneself from the rain, sun or wind than wearing the hats I am going to show you in a mome, but protection from the elements - a preeminently practical consideration, to be sure - is certainly not the reason most smart girls wear hats these days. Take this high velveteen postilion topper, with grosgrain ribbon, fine chenille veil and matching mammoth portfolio bag. I cannot really claim it is very functional, unless one wishes to smuggle in a bottle of liquor, perhaps, or the plans for a new submarine.
Or this soft, plaid beret in wool or suede cloth whose only "purpose" is to flatter one's profile - is flattering one's profile a practical necessity? No, these hats are worn for form alone - that is the very essence of fashion, which sometimes makes only modest (or grudging) concessions to function.
As for girls wearing tights, no makeup and acting like men ... well, yes, in the shipyards over in Jersey girls wear overalls and unflattering kerchiefs (and even welding masks) during the workday - protecting oneself while doing such rough work surely is a practical necessity. But I can assure you that the moment those girls leave the locker room and head for home they are dressed in perfectly feminine fashion, in lovely dresses and stockings, with proper makeup and, yes, decked out in lovely hats, too! I suppose if one considers femininity a function, then hats, stockings and makeup are all very functional.
One thing that we ought to say about the Pit for the benefit of Aristasians, is that it is certainly not a Province in our sense, for if it were, then its District Governesses, its presidents and even its princesses would be ultimately answerable to the Empress. And if that were the case, things would be very different indeed in the Pit. In fact it would not be an exaggeration to say that everything in it would be the precise opposite of what it is now, or else Her Imperial Majesty would want to know the reason why.
I swear I was crying as I read your beautiful poem. It may be just a feeling, but you captured it perfectly.
Do please give us more. It is so lovely to read REAL poetry by women where the prevailing sentiment is not that bongo-written testosterone-inspired rubbish of "Go on, do it, give in" and other such demands upon us.
I shall indulge in a few more tears, and go on this evening thinking how perfect life would be if only I were closer to Kadoria than this.
Delightful to hear from you Elizabeth Ruth. Do please say a word to the Pettes assembled whenever you feel moved to (we aren't that daunting really!
I found Annalinde's description of crackers and cars to be utterly charming. I do believe that a bongo could be transformed into an Aristasian just by sitting in a real car, if she were intelligent enough to know what real means. A Trentish automobile, black or maroon, is a little universe, a microcosm of the culture that produces it. It is luxurious, glamorous, sophisticated, elegant, comfortable, and dignified because Trent is all of those things. But a recovering Pit-maiden needn't wait until she can find a real automobile to experience her epiphany. She can have a similar experience with almost anything from the real world, for everything is a little universe and a microcosm of the larger world from which it comes. If she were to watch one real movie with the knowledge that it was real (and with the conviction that everything in the Pit is truly obsolete), or wear one pair of silky, seamed, sheer stockings, or listen to one wireless program, she would wake from a slumber and begin to allow the fire of Realness and Truth to catch in her heart; she would stop collaborating with the Pit, not because somebody has told her to stop but because she sees it all for what it is: obsolete and shoddy, trivial and banal. She would begin to walk with dignity and take pride in the right things and never feel self-satisfied with shabby behavior or dress. She would rise above the mire below and happily join her sisters up above the Pit, who are like an angelic chorus flying above the mindless world below. I know she would do and think all of these things, for, you see, I have just described myself to you in this little story.
And now, as we bid adieu to 1951 and welcome in the new baby year, I must thank those of you in this room who have led me up to that more heavenly sphere and who have been mother and sister to me, friend and teacher. For I do know that with the blessing of my own little family and of my big Aristasian family, I am the most blessed of all of Dea's creations.
Happy New Year Darlings.
Always your own
Well, I found neither new hat nor floor waxer under my tree on Nativity morning, but look what I did find: the latest Kadorie vacuum cleaner! This is a genuine Hoover brand, it comes with attachments for upholstery, radiators, venetian blinds and shag carpets. It has the dolliest little streamlined headlight in front, just like on the Twentieth Century Limited train.
And I could not be more pleased with my new Hoover had been a dozen hats instead! Not that my hestia is not already always spick-and-span, dust-free and positively gleaming with cleanliness, but my new Hoover will save me just a little more time whenever I run it, time I can use ... to make hats! I have already written off for the very patterns Norma named yesterday, plus three or four others: I can hardly wait for them to arrive! (You see, I also found the latest Singer Featherweight sewing machine under the tree, and it came with a special hat foot.)
Bring a brunette by all means, but you are equally welcome to come on your own. Certain local brunettes may even prefer it!
Oh dearest friends, I simply had to pop into the Cocktail Bar to tell you all about the most splendid thing that has happened to me. A gift from the Fairies, really, and I know you'll be just as excited to hear what it is as I am to tell it.
Oh, I simply must calm down. Barsweet, please, may I have one of those Hot Rum Punches? Are there any left after the Golden Archive/Nativity celebration? Could a brunette please help me off with these boots? I'm sure my own brunette won't mind if you do. She's at home with the little one, but she wanted me to come in and tell everyone my exciting news.
Now, perhaps you won't think it worthy of the build up. But it is. It is. I had a dream last night, before waking, a nice little Dawnish dream, and it was completely up-to-date. Well, that's not so very spectacular, you might think, for it happens all the time to Aristasians and is a lovely way to know that you are free from the Pit, when it can't get into your dream life. But this dream was very special, for it was of my own little home town completely transformed into a real town. And it took place in the future, not in the past. And everyone was wearing respectable clothes and driving real cars and believing in noble ideals and caring for each other. Oh, it was just lovely, and isn't it just like those Fairies to send such a gift when I was feeling a touch blue about everything? Isn't it just like those lovely Fairies?
Yesterday I was walking the grounds of the Pit-university where I lecture, thinking how very lovely they are when there are no bongos about, for most of the buildings were built when the world was still very real and they have all of the charming details to prove it.
My favorite building was built in historical 1930, and on the outside, every third or fourth limestone brick has a lovely design etched into it. On the inside, the floors are made of gorgeous patterned tile and the doors are built with heavy, solid wood, also with lovely etchings to make them beautiful. The bannisters, the walls, the marble stairs, all give a sense of a world dedicated to making all that we see and use both beautiful and practical, a perfect marriage of form and function. As I was wandering around, I thought, why do architects in the real world care about the form as well as the function of all that they design, and why in the Pit do architects care as much about such considerations as car manufacturers, clothes designers, and every other sort of person who builds and creates the things we use each day? Why is everything so very ugly and drab and unattractive in the Pit? Everything from people to soap box packages to furniture?
The question is not rhetorical, and it may surprise some of the new girls to know that its answer is deeply connected to the demise of femininity in the Pit and to all that is innocent and good being sullied there. It is no coincidence that girls started wearing tights instead of stockings and stopped wearing makeup and began acting like men about the same time that car manufacturers began making clownish cars and architects stopped creating lovely, timeless edifices. It is not by happenstance that the Second Vatican Council occurred around the same time as films becoming absolutely unwatchable, that children stopped being held accountable for their actions in schoolrooms in the same decade that women's clothes became garish and unwearable, that, well, the list could go on and on, couldn't it?
The answer to why all of this happened is much too complex for Cocktail Bar chatter, but you girls will be very excited to hear a little secret, so gather 'round. (whisper) Sometime in 1952, the Embassy girls might, Dea Volente, publish a little book helping to explain why all of these things have happened and help all of us understand better the nature of the Great Historical Cycles and the nature of True Femininity. Now, isn't that exciting? But don't tell anyone I told you, for this is strictly Top Secret!
With love and so many hopes for the New Year,
This is from one of my favorite pieces, actually from a song:
se ti ho cercato per una vita senza trovarti
senza nemmeno aver la sodisfazione di vederti andare via,
I spent a lifetime searching for you,
and not even being able to see you leave me.
I know it doesn't translate well. its more a feeling than anything else.
Cheer up, Blonde Darlings, you can have all the hats you want because you don't need a hat ration card, you know; but mainly because with your own hands you can make a hat and a bag to change your basic black dress or tailored suit into a costume of pure delight!
Next time you are planning an evening out, let your brunette cool her heels in the parlor an extra little bit longer than normal, then sweep grandly downstairs in your latest creation. She will glance up and exclaim, "What? Another hat!" Then just look divinely mysterious in your tilted sequin-trimmed tambourine pillbox with black billowy veil (like Ethel the practical joker in the accompanying picture) and tell her that you made it yourself, that you sent to the McCall's Reference Library for the pattern and that it cost all of three cents! That ought to settle her hash. (This is Hat Pattern No. STTP-458.)
Or next time your brunette suggests a brisk wintertime walk in the park, surprise her with this bundled-up scarf hat in two-tone felt and velveteen, set off by extra-warm pony skin gauntlets. Tell her that the pattern for this hat (Hat Pattern No. TTFV-311) was only a nickel! (Sorry, no patterns for gloves, Darlings - gloves are ever so hard to make!) Here it is modelled by the formidable Sidney. (Remember her, pettes? Sidney is the one who throws breakfast rolls.)
Well, as it turns out, my sister F., who knows my passion for Kadorian Pin-Ups, gave me a very special one for Nativity. Here it is: a rare three-color negative printer's plate by the world-renowned Kadorian Pin-Up artist, Alberta Vargas, originally from Arequipa, Peru, but who now lives and works right here in Gotham. Miss Vargas' work always has a certain magical quality about it, but in this instance, the negative format enhances the magic. Besides, in a negative, one cannot be sure whether the girl is blonde or brunette - the ambiguity is rather delicious, don't you think? Both sexes can admire and cherish this particular Pin-Up!
I must whizz now, Darlings, the Nativity goose has been in the
oven a while and now needs to be pricked to let the fat run off. But, La!
I am treading on Marcelene's toes, perhaps, but rendered goose fat is heavenly
for cooking fried eggs and potatoes! Besides, a little goose fat in one's
diet is good for the skin. MEHITABELLE,
But what, I asked myself in a seasonal fit of speculation, about Johnny Bongo's crackers? Surely the last thing any one would accuse J.B. of would be good taste. But then, aren't christmas crackers rather the wrong place for good taste of that sort? The right place is - well, cars and other serious items, which, in the Pit, always look as garish and cheap as - well, a good Christmas cracker. Is it not the finishing touch to the man of bad taste (or the civilisation of bad taste) that when he does have a sudden access of good taste, he slaps it unerringly in exactly the wrong place?
And is it not entirely typical of Johnny Bongo that he buys Christmas crackers in colours that would look decent on a car, and drives a car in colours that would look decent on a Christmas cracker?
Well, I woke up very quickly and immediately thought of the Star Fairy, and I thought "If I sit up and start looking, she'll disappear before I can see a thing". So I didn't. I just opened one eye the teensiest bit and peeped through my eyelashes. And I saw not one, but three fairies. One was taller than the others and all in white tinged with blue. She was the Star Fairy, with her starry crown, and she was motioning to one of the others to be quiet. That must have been the one that made the bump.
They had finished in my room and were leaving, so I very quietly got up and followed them. They went down to the drawing room where the embers of the fire were still glowing, and all three disappeared up the chimney. I ran to the window just in time to see a silver chariot with silver-hoofed ponies, about two hands high, streaking across the night sky in the fast-falling snow. The roofs were all white and the silvery light of the chariot gleamed on the sparkling snow.
It was all over in an instant, but I am quite sure of what I saw.
In the morning I told the others, and Sally said I must have dreamed it, but I know I didn't, and Anne said that there isn't a touch of snow anywhere, and there hasn't been at night. It is clear and cold, but not snowy. in Southern Quirinelle this year. So that proved I dreamed it, she said. I didn't cry. It was just horrid of them to say I did. Any one can get something in her eye.
Then Aunt Marichella, who is visiting us from Ladyton asked me what the trouble was and made me sit on her knee. She was smoking one of her lovely-smelling cigarettes in her long holder, and she always thinks everything just a bit funny - even grown-up things like money and business. But she didn't think my Star Fairy was funny at all. She just said "The great trouble with children is that when they aren't romantic they are quite horribly prosaic. Surely any one can tell that whatever the mundane weather may be, it is always snowing where the Star Fairy is."
"So I didn't dream it?" I asked.
"Certainly not," said Aunt Marichella. "I saw her too, and it was certainly snowing for as long as she was here." I didn't know grown-ups saw the Star Fairy. But I am not surprised one like Aunt Marichella can.
So we should like to thank you all for making the Cocktail Bar such a success over the year-and-a-bit of its existence, and for helping us reach our Golden Archive on Nativity Morning 1951. Thank you to all the pettes who contribute, and to the many who visit here often but never say much. We know you are there, because sometimes you pop up and say a few words, or sometimes we meet you outside Elektraspace when you visit the Embassy or telephone us. And anyway, we know our weekly "listening-in figures" are much, much greater than the number of people who ever contribute. But you all encourage us to carry on.
Here's a hot rum punch on the house for each and every one of you. And here's to the next fifty Archives.
Happy, happy Christmas, and a blessed 1952.
Deep in the dark night of death we have fallen,
Far from the Mother from Whom we have turned,
Still in the darkness a clear voice is calling
Back to the Homeland for which we have yearned
Hail to the Princess. . .
Over the valley the starlight is streaming
Over the mountain and over the sea
Waking the world from its slumberous dreaming
Bearing the glory of Her mystery.
Hail to the Princess. . .
White as the snow are the angels descending,
Bright as the sun are their banners unfurled;
Through the earth's darkness their voices are rending,
Echoing clear to the ends of the world
Hail to the Princess. . .
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.
And here are LOTS of delightful girly places to go
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