The Cocktail Bar

NOTE: This conversation runs backwards! For the benefit of regular readers the newest comments are put at the top.

girls in Pit-london who love Aristasia and would like to visit Aristasian soil may discuss a Visit to the Aristasian Embassy, which is five minutes from an Underground station. Pop us a note if you are interested.

Music Playing: Sulannie's Hot Six with: Dark Town Strutters' Ball

Dateline: 15 February 1952


Dear Friends,

 You'll never guess what I just overheard at our little soda fountain down the street. Two blondes chatting in the most blonde way, all giggles and tee hees. One of the two was quite chatty and the other was one of those doe-eyed blondes who hangs on every word, especially those she doesn't quite understand. Here it is, to the best of my remembering ability:

 Blondie 1: You won't breathe a word?

 Blondie 2: Miranda, don't be absurd!

 Blondie 1 (hereafter Miranda): Strictly Entre Nous?

 Blondie 2: Oui, Oui, We two.

 Miranda: All right, then. It was grand. Simply dreamy. I mean, there I was in my pink chiffon dress, the one Blonde Mommy made me for Easter last year. Are you going to buy a new Easter dress this year or is your 'Londie going to make you one? I think I prefer the homemade ones, don't you? They always fit so much better, don't you think?

 Blondie: But, Miranda, did she like it?

 Miranda: Blonde Mommy? Sure, she made it, didn't she?

 Blondie: No, Miss F, of course. Did Miss F like the dress and what about that song you ran around last week practicing? Did she like that?

 Miranda: Oh, that! Oh yes, I think she liked it. Yes, I think she did. Well, I can't really say if she liked because, well, I was looking right at the floor the entire time I was singing and I never saw if she was frowning or smiling, but sometimes a girl doesn't have to look to see those sorts of things, don't you know? So, I think she was smiling, or at least not frowning. But after, well, she didn't exactly smile, but I could tell she wanted to, and she said in a voice much warmer than I usually hear, "That was very nice, Miranda." Then she stood up and began walking closer to me and right then I thought I might faint because I didn't know what she was going to do next and there I was, ready for whatever it might be, and then she walked by me and went to the door to turn the sign over. Seems she forgot to turn the sign over before our meeting, but here's the point of it all: when she walked to the door, she had to walk right by me, so close that I could smell her heavenly purfume and feel her warmth as she brushed up against me. And she didn't have to go that way to get to the door. No, she didn't have to, but she chose to, and now I am going to go down to the drug store and smell all of the sample purfume bottles and try to find the one she wears so that I can wear it every day and remember that magical moment whenever I do. D'you want to come?

 Well pettes, that was it. I imagine Miranda would have told you all about it herself, but what's a girly jernt without a little gossip every once in a blue moon?

 Lots of Love,


What is Culveria?

Sorry for being so obtuse, but could somebody please explain about Culveria?


Oh, dear! We really must put something in the Glossary about this. Culveria is a continent of Aristasia that corresponds in many respects to America in Telluria, There are differences though. One is that Culveria is, of course, a loyal part of the Empire and celebrates its eternal allegiance to the Empress every Fourth of July.

 Altalia is the name used for old-world Aristasia.

 As we said before, Culveria was discovered in Telluria much later than Aristasia as a whole, and our conceptions of it are still somewhat undeveloped. In general, Culveria tends to be depicted as more like real America than Altalia is like the Tellurian Old World. This will undoubtedly change as our knowledge of Culverian history and customs grows greater.

Music Playing: Sulannie's Hot Six with: That's a-Plenty

Dateline: 14 February 1952

To my Valentine

My Beautiful Blonde,

 You came to me one dark night, and held out your hand. You opened the doors of my despair, and led me through the corridors of my loneliness. You showed me paintings of my pain, sculptures of my sadness, you showed me the moon and the stars. You took me to a ship and we sailed the seas of my sorrow... until we saw the Sun.

 Where there was darkness, now there is sunshine, and you are that sunshine.

 Your own Brunette,


Ancient Customs from New Vintesse

Hap, hap, happy St. Valentine's Day, pippsies mine!

It's Tootsie, popping in for the big day. Eek Gads, what's happened to this place? I mean, I like it, what flapper wouldn't? It's definitely got it or at least that brunette over there has! Paper decorations, jinky music, hearts everywhere. It looks like a party! Well, as you girls are busy black bottoming and all, I'll just be a mome, half a mome really, and tell you not to forget to tell your own fortune on St. Valentine's Day. Blondes back in New Vintesse are all in a whirlwind with this new way to tell who will be it. Your Valentine, I mean. So, here is a way to tell if the one you long for will be your True Love in the next year. Think of that Special One and cut an apple in two. Count the seeds with this little verse below and keep counting until you've counted all the seeds. Then, whichever line you've stopped on will tell you what's in store for you and your sweetie. Spooning or Scorning? You get the idea, don't you, Dahlings?

 One I love, two I love, three I love, I say.
Four I love with all my heart.
Five I cast away.
Six she loves, seven she loves, eight they both love;
Nine she comes, ten she tarries,
Eleven she courts, twelve she marries.

 Hope it works for you pettes.



Kadorie Valentine

O! Cheerio, pettes, its me, Ariadne, remember? Happy St. Valentines Day! Trudy and Rosie and Miranda and me all drove over to New Kadoria today from New Quirinelle just to take in the special St. Valentine's Day Extravaganza that the girls put on every year at Central High in New Kadoria. Thats what they call girls upper schools in Culveria: "Central," or after a compass direction, like "West." They dont call them after saints, just after the main map directions. So they all sound practically the same to me, just five names, "Central," and the four map directions: East, West, Up, Down, etcetra etcetra, which is why I can remember them all, because five is less than six. I can never remember a thing if its six or higher.

 But dont get me distracted! I was talking about St. Valentine's day. Perhaps you dont remember, but when I was a, um, patient at St. Yvyannes Neuraesthenia Clinic in Kent, during all that silly business with Miss Symone de V, when I subconsciously thought I was pregnant but actually I wasn't at all [Archive 15], well, I was there at St. Yvyannes Neuraesthenia Clinic in Kent over last St. Valentine's Day and us, um, guests put on a little St. Valentines Day show for the staff and I jumped through this giant paper Valentine to surprise everyone, and everyone appeared quite surprised and seemed to like it quite a lot and clapped, 'specially Dr. Silverthorne, who gave me a standing vocation. Jumping through a giant paper valentine card is sort of like a girl jumping out of a cake, but better, 'cause she doesnt get icky icing all over her: lemons the worst, it really dries out a girls skin, and I know, 'cause I have jumped out of lots of baked goods in my day, not just frosted cakes. Believe me, girls: if you have a choice, always pick a card over a cake. (Gosh! That sounds just like an adadge!)

 So we thought we'd do it all over again for the girls at Central High (that's in New Kadoria, where the schools have only five names, so I can remember them), so we made this big paper heart yesterday (that was February 13th.), and decorated it round the edges with frills and painted it a rather loud pink, then rolled it up, then we made a sort-of-an-easel to hold it, (which fit in the boot of the car along with the rolled-up pink paper heart with frills on the border), then we drove to New Kadoria, then we set it up on the auditorium stage in front of a backdrop, so when they opened the curtain it gave an impression of a rather large pink paper St. Valentines Day card with frills on its edges standing all by itself in the middle of a stage.

So the curtain went up and I was hiding behind this rather large paper heart with the frills, my own heart all a-flutter from stage fright and my legs held ever so tight together so that they and my feet would be hidden by the point of the heart so that no one would think there was a blonde behind there, then the Central High band struck up a fanfare and played Sweet Heartbreaker, and just where the words go "I didnt mean to break your heart," (I mean, where the music is for those words, because no one was singing, so you have to know the words by heart, but everyone did, so it was just like someone was singing even though no one was), then I burst out through the middle of the paper heart - breaking it, do you see? - wearing this abbreviated and rather riskay outfit with a skirt so short its not really a skirt, its more like a two-piece bathing costume with a ruff, but this "skirt" keeps it from technically being what Aristasians call a bifurc, so it is quite acceptable under the law and a girl can't get in trouble for wearing it in public on a stage (or in the privacy of her own bedchamber for that matter). Then I did a dinky-dolly little tap dance number in front of the broken heart, moving my hands around in little circles in the same plane as my body.

 The band could not quite keep up with my rhythm and tempo (its only a high school band, you see, and not accustomed to really high-class professional tap dancing), so instead of it coming out as a serious high-brow artistic tap dance number like I had intended, everyone thought it was really a funny comic routine, so they all laughed and laughed so you could hardly hear my taps on the stage, but I won the prize anyway for the best living St. Valentine's Day card, which was a heart-shaped box of chocolates wrapped in red foil with soft pink quilted paper at the bottom. We ate them all up driving back to New Quirinelle but forgot to take off our gloves, so they got spoilt with chocolate, which is hard to get out of gloves unless they are Kislaves. That's Fronsay for gloves that a girl can wash and get the chocolate out of. So Happy St. Valentine's Day and dont forget to pull off your gloves before you eat any chocolates! Unless they are Kislaves. The gloves, I mean, sillies, not the chocolates! Youre not supposed to wash chocolates. Ariadne

Happy Holy Days

Hello Pettes and Happy St. Valentine's Day,

 If you newies haven't noticed yet, holidays are just that in Aristasia: Holy Days. We would sooner forget a holiday or just let it pass by as forget to fasten our garters or put on a pair of shoes before beginning the day. Gosh, holidays just make life worth living, don't you think? Always to know that just around the corner is a Special Day, a celebration, an Occash. Gosh, it makes even a brunette's heart begin to beat a little more quickly.

 So, here is a Valentine for all of you pettes, blondes and brunettes alike, for tonight my affection spills out to both the sexes, though of course I can't help be partial to one...

 If you will be my Valentine,
My charming little dear,
The sun can never help but shine
Throughout the coming year.

If you will be my valentine,
You'll see in all your walks
Fresh lemon drops on every twig,
And peanuts on the stalks.

 But if from you I never hear,
Nor even get a line,
I'll ask some other nicer girl
To be my Valentine.

 Love and Kisses and Hugs on this Special Day,


The Kadorian Way

>Ahemlady's lady) as I expect you have guessed from my uniform, I of course, live there too, and among my other duties is the care of her wardrobe. As many of you ladies must know, normal life in Kadoria is rather hindered by the War, and many of the small daily necessities of life can be a little hard to get. Some parts of Kadoria are rather more affected than others, you understand.

 Anyway, stockings are one of the things that it is hard to replace, and when they are available they are very expensive. I take my Mistress's lonely single stockings and place them in a pot with some dye, so that they all come out the same colour. When my Mistress has the choice, I remind her that it would be sensible to buy all her stockings in the same shade, but in Kadoria frequently there is no choice as to the colour. I have never tried boiling the articles in question without using dye, but rather worry about the effect of boiling water on such delicate items. Luckily, in the part of Kadoria where Miss Candida makes her home, we have never been unable to obtain dye. However, there are various natural substances which may be freely gathered by the roadside with which the resourceful maid may manufacture her own dye. If Miss Barbara's maid has been trained under the auspices of the Housekeeper's Guild, she too will know of these, although as conditions seem different in Culveria, the training may be too, of course.

 Oh? Did you ask what my training was like? I should be happy to tell you, Miss. Well, my own mother was never in service, although her mother was, and one of my Aunts as well. I thought that I would like to become a maid, and as a thoughtful sort of brunette, I considered what I could do. Joining a large household as an untrained skivvy and learning slowly to cook did not appeal to me at all, so I applied to the Guild of Housekeepers for training. I was very fortunate, Miss, as my interview was conducted by Miss Honour Bright, who thought that I had sufficient determination to educate myself sufficiently to become a lady's lady, which is what I wished to be. Ooh, it was very hard in the beginning, Miss, because a lady's lady must be quite educated in all sorts of things, and of course I had to strive to lose my accent and to speak more nicely. No lady wishes to have her morning tea brought to her by a girl who sounds like a rusty saw. Especially blonde ladies, they of course like everything to be 'just so', and to be a perfect lady's lady you have to be quite a mine of information as well. Then of course, you have to learn all the practical things about laundry, the care of clothes and the dressing of hair. Then the Guild-Mistresses teach you about good taste so that you can make sure that your new Mistress is not going about looking a sight. Girls who keep no maid sometimes think that maiding is only answering the door and brushing hair, but it is not. Often ladies need a bit of help with all sort of things, so you have to know a lot, and be very practical as well. Blonde maids sometimes don't manage very well, they need to be told more, so that they are best placed with a brunette mistress. With a brunette maid, it doesn't matter which sex you serve.

 And then, of course, you might need to learn extra things depending on which province you are going to live in. As I said, in Kadoria a maid needs to learn how to make do and mend, so you need to be quite resourceful. Or if you were going to Arcadia, you might need to know how to look after all those oil-lamps, and how to drive a pony and trap or a donkey cart. The Guild of Housekeepers is ever so good, Miss, if you are going to change provinces you can go back to and enter the classroom to learn what you need to know. They look after and help you for life, although they're rather strict, but then it's only because they need to be. They help the Mistresses look after the maids too, as lots of Mistresses sometimes need help learning to be a Mistress. Miss Bright does that, she goes out visiting and inspects the maids and sees whether the Mistress needs any help. That happens more frequently with the general maids though, rather than the lady's maid. We're supposed to be equal to whatever situation comes along, and that is why our training is so difficult. We are the fortunate elite and must always remember it.

 Anyway Miss, I hope I've answered your question as I think that I had better be getting on now. It was very nice to meet you all. I hope that you wouldn't think it an imposition if I sometimes visited you all here on my afternoon off?

(Miss Candida's Maid)

More Ancient Customs

Happy St. Valentine's Day, dear hearts,

 In the east, Valentine's Day is considered the day you will meet the one you'll wed, so it's quite nice for us to have been thinking of such things with Norma's recent lessons on bridal fashions, isn't it?

It is said that if a blonde goes alone at midnight the eve before St. Valentine's Day to a cemetery and carries with her hempseed, she can bring her true love to her the next day. I apologize for not telling you blondies this earlier, for you'll have to save it for next year, but as the clock strikes twelve, you must scatter the seed on the ground and sing:

Hempseed I sow, hempseed I mow, She that will my true love be Rake this hempseed after me.

 Then, run home to your mommies (who might be cross at you for being out so late all alone, but whatever punishment you get will be worth it if the magic works and brings you your true love). As you run home, look over your shoulder and maybe you will see The One following you! If so, you should definitely be married within a year.

 This kind of thing always seems to work in the East, but sometimes doesn't work as well in the West. But try it next year, and you might find yourself lucky!

 Love, AMY

Music Playing: Sulannie's Hot Six with: Doctor Jazz

Dateline: 13 February 1952

Crowning Glory

Dear Miss Mina, I think that you will look perfectly splendid on your wedding day in scarlet and gold, as resplendent and dazzling as the sun in all her glory. Do you hope to wear white as a bridesmaid? I always think that white dresses are the exact thing for the bridesmaids. I am so eager to see a picture of you in your bridal outfit that I am hoping you will be a bridesmaid soon, and then catch the bouquet.

 By-the-bye, pettes, I have always wondered quite what would happen if a brunette caught the blonde's bouquet by means of some unfortunate instinctive brunettish reaction. There never seems to be much risk of a blonde catching the garter by means of such instinct! Do you think that such a brunette might remain a bachelorette all her days, or perhaps she would become like a Red Indian who has been visited by the Thunder bird (is this correct, oh Culverians?) and have to do everything the wrong way round for the rest of her life? That would be very awkward!

 Yes, long hair is a little difficult, isn't it? Apart from a knot or a bun, which is easy, it is so difficult to dress it for one's self. This is of no matter if you live near a large town, but if you are not near to one and have no maid it is trickier. I think that your beautiful hair would look quite ravishing in a knot with a really good hat. Long, thick hair is so lovely that it would seem a dreadful shame to cut it, even if you thought it a good idea. One's hair is one's crowning glory--sorry, pettes, that sounds rather unexpectedly Arcadian, doesn't' it?( I have been talking to a lady from Arcadia recently and I find that she has rather that effect on me!)

 That phrase about the hair is quite literally true, as we may perhaps persuade our wise Sagette to explain. It made me think about how often in old sayings and phrases there is so much hidden truth. Vox Popula, vox Dia, as they say.

 The interesting thing is that is shows how important language is. It is easy to think of language as being only a means of communication, but it isn't. Only think, that if that saying was bongofied, it wouldn't mean the same thing at all. A very wise maid has said that if you cannot say a thing, then you cannot think it, because you have not the wherewithal to think it. The bongos would convert that lovely clear saying to a horrible grooshy phrase that didn't mean the same thing at all, and it would have no wisdom left in it. It would have been twisted out of the right shape and colonised.

 And so we come via a rather roundabout and rambling route--thanks to that rather large Imperial Fizz I had earlier--to PC. Funny, I always thought that it stood for Perfect Cocktail. (But then, I must admit, I have led a rather sheltered life, thank Heavens!) Welcome to the Bar, Valerie. Congratters on showing such sense and good taste. Welcome to the little haven where PC really does stand for that elusive Perfect Cocktail. May I buy you an Imperial Fizz? Or perhaps you might prefer a Blonde Bombshell?


The Thunderbird! Oh, is that what has happened to the bongos?

 A girl's hair (especially a blonde, of course, but any girl), is the rays of the sun. I am sure that is behind the idea of "crowning glory". Many Amazonians are rather shocked at our Western short-haired styles for this reason, but considering the time and attention Western girls lavish on their hair styles, I really don't think they have forgotten the significance of hair in their hearts. In the East, cutting a girl's hair short is a mark of disgrace, though this does vary. In some parts of the East, it is the style to cut the hair to chin-length and make it into dozens of little braids, each one bound with gold, the solar significance of which is obvious.

Umbrellas, Idioms and Weddings

Greetings, dear ones! Elizabeth Ruth here again. Barpette, could you get me one of those frothy fruity things with the little umbrella, please?

 Welcome Valerie. There are indeed pettes here from the U.S. you know, and in the Archives there are stories of various adventures and romances in U.S. cities. I live in Canada, myself, and the culture here is more American than British (but softer, cleaner, funnier and more moderate than American culture, which washes over our common border in loud terrifying tsunamis.) However, the British idiom is easily learned (at least to listen to) and part of the charm of this place, don't you think?

 Mina, I was hoping you'd turn up again. I used to sit quietly in the corner and listen to you, but now I have the courage to say hello. I wish you'd tell us a little bit about the wedding dress of your dreams. I recently attended a Chinese wedding, and the bride was gorgeous in red, and dripping with gold - oh she looked marvelous!

 Candida, I've saved my thanks to you to the last. What a lovely story, and you told it so beautifully, too. My eyes were quite moist. Do let me buy you a drink - Imperial Fizz, was it?


The Old Stock(ing)-Pot

Hi Pettes Mine,

 Mina! We've missed you, dear. How lovely that you've worn real clothes for as long as you have. Do tell us if dressing right has made you feel differently about the Pit or about yourself. And I know just what you mean about not being able to do a thing with your hair. Mine is in that awful in-between stage and I think perhaps a Kadorie home wave might be the only way around it.

Do any of you girls have a bag of unmatched real stockings in the bottom of your closet? You know, one stocking runs and the other goes into the bag, with the hopes of finding a mate in the future? Well, I just heard from a pette who lived through stockings rationing in the war, and she told me that she and her girlfriends used to take almost-matching oddies and boil them together in a stock pot, turning them all into the same color. I haven't tried this yet, but it seems worth the effort, if one can get a few extra miles out of the lonely singles.

 Love to all, and an especial thank you to Candida for the lovely story of the bells.




Valerie's comments on the British idiom of Elektraspace raises some interesting thoughts. Of course it is not all British, as familiarity with the Cocktail Bar will soon reveal; but also, we should consider quite what we mean by "British". Any Aristasian will immediately say I am not British (or American or whatever). I am Aristasian.

 Now the main idiom of Elektraspace may be British in spelling (which is a relatively small matter), but those who think it is British in its style and manner obviously have not been to Pit-britain in the last twenty years. They are labouring under the charming, but quite false, impression that Britain still exists: or that the place currently masquerading under that name has any connexion with the great and lovely nation that once bore it.

 The idiom of Elektraspace is to some extent the idiom that prevailed in Britain before Britain was destroyed, along with the whole of Western culture, at the time of the Eclipse. But in other respects it is a new idiom, developing among the few who have seceded from the collapsed culture of Pit-britain.

 Partly by an historical accident, this secession is at present confined to the feminine Empire of Aristasia (and do not forget that Culveria is a part of Aristasia too).

 The important thing for us must be not whether an idiom is "British" or "American", but whether it is Bongo or Aristasian. Culveria, which is a new nation compared to Old-World Aristasia (which has been developing for a decade or two in one form or another, while Culveria really only began last year) will undoubtedly have its own idioms, which will undoubtedly have relations to the real American of Poe and Thoreau, O. Henry and Disney. But for all of us, preserving our language (and the culture that goes with it); purging it of its recent barbarian corruptions; taking it forward into a new, re-civilised future, is infinitely more important than the differences in idiom that may lie between us.


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