The Cocktail Bar

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

VISITING THE EMBASSY: 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.
Wonderful News Pettes. There is now an Aristasian monthly magazine in Elektraspace You can see it for yourself just by clicking here!

Music Playing: Dora's Big Band with No Strings

Dateline: Thursday, October 30th, 1952

Petal Makes A Brunette Friend

My how good it is to get out of the house for a while. Yes, it's Miss Fox, complete with bandaged leg and terribly elegant walking stick. Thank you Barpette, I'd love a cool lemonade - I am totally banned from alcohol until this leg of mine gets better! But delightful as my house and garden is right now, I was starting to get just a little restless, and besides, I have the most delightful news!

I was at home the other day, waiting for Petal to come back from showing off that swimsuit pattern. She came in the front door, her eyes were glowing, and the sweetest blush in her cheeks. Have you seen the sweet smile of a young maiden in love? It stays with you forever. Then Petal told me what had happened.

She's a city brunette who was walking in the park near our place. Not that my lovely Petal would flirt with a strange brunette - not at all. But Sioban, (an Irish name for an Irish Colleen), who was looking for one of the walking tracks, asked Petal for directions, they looked in each other's eyes, and the hearts knew. Petal very politely invited her back to our place to look over the maps of the area I have on our back wall, and also because she felt very shy and wanted the security of hestia around her. I talked with Sioban while Petal made some tea, and realised I knew of her from my old job back in the big city. She very properly explained the situation, and formally asked my permission to step out with Petal. I explained that I'm really only her friend, not her guardian, but I gave my qualified permission until I could get in touch with Petal's mummies, and then said "but of course, it really depends on Petal. Would you be so kind as to ask her to come in, and then stroll around the garden for a few minutes?"

Petal, of course, gave full assent, and so she's out right now shopping for fresh fish for dinner for the three of us tonight. Her Mummies are pleased too, and trust to Petal's and my judgement. But the funniest part came out - this part of Aristasia is not very crowded - it turns out Sioban's brunette mummy and Petal's blonde mummy lived next door to each other many years ago, and although there was too great a difference in age for a real friendship, they knew each other quite well, so of course Petal's blonde mummy was very pleased to be able to make the connection.

So please, if a tall brunette with an Irish accent walks in and seems a little confused, be gentle with her. You know how being in love affects people.

Speaking of which - what news from North Amazonia?



Dear Friends All,

Just half a mome to say Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

Hope it was a blaze of a day for each of you dear pettes.



A Wonderful Pattern

Miss Fox has sent me down here again, as she felt I was becoming too hestia-bound, and every girl needs her fresh air and sunshine. But I thought I'd bring in this pattern, so you could all see the swimsuit I made for her.

Girls, you would not believe how stunning this up-to-date swimsuit looks. It won a prize in a Kadorie magazine many long years ago, and its two-piece design flatters and compliments blonde AND brunette!.

I made it by enlarging the pattern onto some brown wrapping paper. If you're not exactly sure how to do these things, you can use one of those pit-bound enlarging machines, only be careful with it. Make the pattern up first in some scrap fabric, and make the seam allowances really big so you can alter it to fit your shape. You should have seen how GORGEOUS my Miss Fox looked in the dark blue model I made her - the artist drew a picture of her, but it really doesn't do her justice.

(I'll read you what the magazine says)

The swimsuit is styled with a moulded bosom and smooth bodyline. The armholes are deep enough for comfort. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. The numbers on the diagrams correspond with the numbers listed below. Materials required: 2 yards of 36 inch linen. The brassiere top and lower part of the trunks are lined.
1. Make darts in both brassiere top and lining. Attach straps to front. Seam both brassiere and lining along centre seam., and then join both pieces together. Machine on right side.
2. Seam front panel to front sides
3. Join brassiere and skirt together.
4. Seam centre back seam to within 6 inches of top. Make placket and finish with loops and buttons.
5. Join side seams together. Case top of back and sew a button on either side about 2 inches from centre for straps to button to. If all seams are again machined on right side it gives a better seam to garment. A 1 inch hem completes top of costume.
6. Attach lining pieces to front and back of trunks, then join centre and side seams, leaving the left seam on side open about 6 inches and make placket. Finish with hooks and eyes. Case top of trunks and legs.
Wait for warm weather, and wear it!

Love to you all,


Dateline: Sunday, October 26th

Cassiopeia's Letter Arrives In Unalakleet

We left Cassiopeia dreaming of nuptial matters, snug in her bed in New Ladyton. But what of the red-beaked snow pigeon, Kwethalyn's bird, the one Cassiopeia released from her rooftop that inhospitable night? How did it fare?

Upon leaving Cassiopeia's hands, bird had veered sharply downwards, caught in a violent gust of wind, but it leveled out its flight directly, calculated its navigational bearings by ancient and elementary avian algorithms, and, flying very low over the city where the headwinds were weakest, set its course three points east of north-north-west, dead-on to Unalakleet in Northern Amazonia.

The bird passed over the dully reflective titanium office spires and sleek, terraced apartment towers of the great Novarian conurbation, over the Seven Rivers, past the low, black-green coastal range and the broad tidal flats beyond -- then all was suddenly darker and utterly featureless, like black velvet. Undaunted, it plotted its deliberate course over the unseen ocean below and flew as if pursued, not relenting in its escape until it felt the polar radiation of friendly cold from the incipient ice-shelf below. When the leads of open water gradually became narrower and fewer and then vanished entirely, replaced by Sea Ice stretching unbroken to every horizon, the bird finally felt itself secure in its frigid native element, far from the heat of the giant, noisy city; only then did it contentedly work its wings into a less frenetic and more temperate rhythm and so flew tirelessly onwards into the cold arctic night and towards the brief arctic dawn. (When the sun finally cleared the southern horizon, this is what the pigeon saw.)

* * * * *

Kwethalyn's bed had been carried into the family sitting room and placed where it commanded the best view through the house's only glass window (the others being made of split and oiled reindeer hide). Here, the wan and wasting girl, propped up on a mound of lush pelts, could watch whatever little traffic passed in the street during the nominal day, and could trace the passage of the moon and the planets the rest of the time -- that is, the other twenty hours, for she hardly slept at all during the long night, or slept only in very brief snatches. By observing her open eyes one could see that she was apparently awake, as she would from time to time follow something of interest, say, a party of girls passing outside, laughing as they went about their chores, or the shimmering Northern Lights streaking across the sky, but most of the time her gaze was fixed upon emptiness and Kwethalyn did not speak, had not, in fact, spoken for weeks.

She was constantly attended and nursed by her blonde mother, who patiently told her all the local news (which required inventive embellishment, in a village of only two hundred souls, to make last more than ten minutes) and read to her from the family's precious horde of Kadorie magazines (traded for furs many years earlier), and who patiently brushed and plaited and unplaited and rebrushed and replaited the girl's long, pale blonde tresses for hours at a time. Her mother spoon-fed Kwethalyn rich broths and stews of fish or caribou, thickened with the ground, dried roots of nourishing succulents, and Kwethalyn ate, never refusing, but grew more drawn nonetheless, and her eyes held less lustre each day than the day before and her gaze followed life more feebly.

One gray, lowering morning, just a few days after the events we so lately witnessed in New Ladyton, Kwethalyn's young sisters, the twins Ingalik'aa and Okvik'aa, burst into the house in an unseemly explosion of snowflakes. They had just come from the family dovecote (for they had taken over their big sister's chores, including feeding the pigeons). Known more familiarly as Inky and Viky to economize on breath -- when sought for dereliction of chores (which was often), they were never to be found, and when not so sought, they were constantly underfoot, consequently, their names were often on everyone's lips -- they were nearly speechless with excitement, which might have been a blessing had it been wholly true.

You see, understanding the twins under the very best of circumstances was always a bit of a problem, for they lisped badly, and, moreover shared their sentences, and, to make matters even worse, did so in an erratic fashion; that is to say, though one took up where the other left off, they passed the baton without the least regard to punctuation or the natural pauses that normally characterize comprehensible speech. As their voices were alike in timbre and pitch, the result, when their timing was perfectly on, was almost like one girl with a hesitant lisp, but when even slightly off, hopeless gibberish. Today, fortunately, their timing was on.

The twins glanced at one another, blushing and giggling, first one thrusting the other forward, then the other jumping back to hide behind her sister, so that despite all their jostling both remained in the center of the sitting room. "You go," said Inky. "No, you go," replied Viky, "but make it tho I get the latht word!" "All right" agreed Inky, I'll go, but nextht time I get the latht word!"

The two having concluded some sort of sisterly bargain, involving costs and consequences known only to themselves, Inky directly started the ritual.

"There'thz a bird out there in the," (said Inky), "dovecote, jutht flown in from Dea knowthz where -- it lookth like," (said Viky) "one of Kwethy'thz old pigeonthz, that she gave to that tall Novarian," (said Inky) "trader, called Caththiopeia, latht thummer, and it had a brand-new gut pouch on idth back, tho we fed," (said Viky), "it and took off the pouch and here it," (said Inky), "idthz!" (crowed Viky), exultant because, the twins' bargains usually being broken almost as soon as they were made, she really had got the last word, and she now thrust forward, at arm's length, the full pouch itself, as if it were a live grenade she wanted to dispose of without further delay.

Thus was Cassiopeia's letter delivered to Unalakleet.


Dateline: Saturday, October 25th, 1952

A Great Relief

Oh, WHAT a relief it is to get back to reality for a few minutes! Let me just put down my purse and take off this big hat and these spike heels under the table. Please, Barpette dear, do bring me something fizzy and hot and creamy and strong, even if that makes four of them!

Hugs to Elizabeth Ruth, I do know what that pittish atmosphere does to ones complexion! You do look just a little wind-blown. But always the model of a gallant brunette. How glad I will be when the War is over and we are all back Over Here!

Ariadne dear, thank you so much for those nice long glimpses into the world of glamour and music, real music....

I am just going to sit here and droop elegantly over my drinks, inhaling....


The Great Romance

Oh, Girls, isn't this cross-cultural romance just so THRILLING!

Oh, I'm just all a-twitter. Now, every time a dove flies overhead (as they are starting to do as they build their spring nests), I look to see if there's a lemon-grass parcel tied to it's leg. Next installment, please!

Besides, which, I'm a busy little Petal at the moment. My very dear Miss Fox has gone and landed herself into a predicament. We had some cold spring nights a while back and decided to start the log fire up again. Well, she went out to the woodshed in the dark, to get a sack full of wood to last the night. And no matter how often I tell her to wear sturdy shoes and to be careful - well. She usually just retorts with "Oh Fiddle Dee Dee - you sound just like your mother" (Miss Fox and my brunette mummy were bosom buddies, which is one of the reasons why I now live with her - Brunette Mummy trusts her to guard me and keep me like her own - but back to the story).

So she went out to the woodshed with only a warm dressing gown over her night attire, and the fluffy slippers on her feet. And while she was juggling the torch and the hessian sack and the wood, she felt what seemed to be a splinter in her shapely calf.

Now, two weeks later, that shapely calf is still swollen, the nasty horrible ulcer on the back is not healing properly (even with the special Quirrie medicines our local community nurse obtained), and Miss Fox must rest with her feet up and try and get better from the spider bite - for that is what it was! One of our Antipodean spiders, one of the very little ones, does more damage and has longer lasting affects than a lot of the great big hairy ones that our Brunette Mummies warn us about. And it is very likely that Miss Fox is going to be off her feet for a few weeks more, and feeling very sorry about it, too.

Mind you, it has given her a chance to rest, to think and to just watch out on the garden yesterday and see the birds coming to the new bird-feeder I made. She has lost a lot of that pit-blemish that was starting to overtake her in her last job (the job she left in the city to come and live up here), and she no longer talks of "competition" and "hurry" and "deadlines". Now it's more likely to be "create" and "breathe" and "joy". My Blonde Mummy came past last week to see how we were and said that the combination of care and fresh air is changing both of us into the beautiful, fulfilled women we were born to be. (She also whispered to me later that she thinks looking after Miss Fox has given me a sweet sense of responsibility that only adds to my beauty - don't Mummies say the sweetest things!)

So Miss Fox sent me off to the Cocktail Bar for a few hours, saying she is very happy to be left in the garden with a good book and a cool drink for a while. I think she'll probably sleep and end up covered in the last blossoms from the plum tree. In the mean time - oh PLEEEEASE tell me what happens next between Cassiopeia and Kwethalyn! PETAL

P.S. and next time I'll tell you about the strange events around our house last week!

It is with the greatest of pleasures that the management is able to fulfill your request for the next installment...

Cassiopeia Resolves To Marry Kwethalyn And Dreams Of Wedding Gowns

The paneled study certainly ceased to revolve by the time Cassiopeia had thrice perused this most unanticipated letter -- her head had cleared fully -- but directly her breast surged with contrary emotions. She was deeply mortified -- and frightened -- that Kwethalyn apparently lay dying two thousand miles to the north. Her protective brunette instincts were profoundly stirred, but she was at the same time ecstatic in now possessing that most-hoped-for answer to the letter she had so recently dispatched from the rooftop: her love was returned!

To be sure, the course of events had precipitated matters in a completely unexpected direction (as the Course of Events is so very fond of doing), and rather more quickly than Cassiopeia might have preferred, but as she reviewed in her mind the contents of the crossed and lately-sent letter, she saw clearly that they would serve to restore Kwethalyn's health and spirits as efficaciously as the fully-caparisoned marriage proposal virtually demanded by her brunette mother, though the mother would certainly bite her lip at it and expect the proposal to be forthcoming just the same, to be sure.

Thus so small a blot on the matter as the timing of events evaporated from Cassiopeia's further consideration as quickly as breath from a mirror: on the pans of the exquisite feminine balances within her breast, ecstasy outweighed mortification and fear. Marrying Kwethalyn seemed a most pleasing prospect indeed and Cassiopeia's turmoil soon receded, replaced by a soothing and lambent certainty that suffused her whole being, but not so utterly that she was not impelled to pray, first, for Kwethalyn's complete and rapid recovery, and second, that Dea might show her ignorant servant Cassiopeia the right path.

Inasmuch an effective restorative for Kwethalyn had just minutes earlier been co-incidentally launched by reciprocal carrier pigeon, and now that she had said her heartfelt prayers, there was really nothing further poor Cassiopeia could do at this very moment besides draw a long bath and a rather large snifter of Arcadian brandy and then go to bed, which she proceeded to do, contented, or at least partly contented, for the first time in many weeks. Just before she slid into deep slumber, she decided to pay a visit next morning to the Gyrocraft works to see whether those engineers could work triple shifts and deliver Hermia in two days instead of seven.

Cassiopeia knew that they could -- after all, was she not a wealthy woman now, endowed with money, property and servants to help her enjoy her good fortune? Money could sometimes work wonders, else what was it good for? In her fast fading wakefulness she reflected on what clothes she would pack for the journey, what scents and what giftlets ... But Cassiopeia's last and dimmest thoughts before consciousness was extinguished and she dreamt of matters that even a Narrator cannot coherently relate, were of wedding gowns -- traditional satin or tulle? Or would she be a Thoroughly Modern Twenty-First Century Brunette, thumb her nose at Tradition and have one made, perhaps, in gossamer-platinum? As for the bridesmaids ....


Dateline:Thursday, October 23rd, 1952

How Ariadne Came To Be An Announcerette And How She Does It

[Editor's Note: Due to Elektraspace difficies, this piece is coming to you out of order. But knowing Ariadne and her narrative style, that should not make the slightest difference in your comprension.]

La! Darlings, its me Ariadne again broadcasting (yes, broadcasting!) to you from the swank and swinging Hollywood Palladium with the worlds largest dance floor. I have finally been discovered and my career is now plunging skywards! Yes after just a week as a Hat Check Blonde one evening I checked the hat of very important brunette who it turned out is part owner of the Palladium so she decided to give me a try as an announcerette right there on the stage with the bands and the singers! She said I was "tray sharmante" and she said she liked my fresh wholesome looks (from all the milk I drink no doubt) and bet I "would add some class to the joint" and pack in the crowds on account of my English accent which always goes over big in El Lay where everyone speaks American as you probably know.

My scanty little grey and pink velveteen uniform with the bellhop hat with no place to put any tips is consined to the dustbin of history so instead I now wear an elegant evening gown and glittering costume jewellery that looks quite real -- a different outfit for every night of the week designed and made-to-measure for me by Adrienne the famous costume designerette (but I can't take them home). I receive a salary of seventy-five dollars a week so I am suddenly rather well-off and have moved out of the "Y" and into a small little flat of my own over on Melrose. My job is to introduce the acts and the numbers and make a little bit of urban chit-chat with the artists but for some unsinkable reason I quite frequently make people laugh when I am being The Most Serious. Here is a snapshot of me taken just last week, thats me in the slinky sequinned gown.

Tonight Miss Harriet Janes and her orchestra were performing. So at the start of the show I came up to the big microphone on a stand in the middle of the empty stage and when all the applause had died down I said something like, for instants, "Coming to you live from the world-famous Hollywood Palladium ballroom tonight making Dance History is Miss Harriet Janes and her orchestra featuring the devine Kadorie nightingale Miss Kitty Kallen. So lets give them all a big Palladium welcome!" (And then I hold up my arms like in the snapshot and hope the dress stays where it is supposed to which it quite frequently does.)

Then six thousand seven hundred and fifty pettes clapped like mad and the curtain went up and all the orchestra members filed on and took their places on the bandstand and when the applause had subsided and Miss Janes had come onto the stage with her trumpet and was standing next to me at the microphone, she said, in a sort-of-an-intimmate conversational tone but all thirteen thousand five hundred ears heard it anyway because of the big microphone, something like, "Well, Ariadne, it seems you got a good rest last night, you certainly look as fresh as a daisy." So I giggled and said, "O, thank you Miss Janes and I feel fresh as a daisy too! But, La! Its no secret why, Mummie always said drink a quart of warm milk and take a long bath before bed so I always sleep well. You eau contrare look a bit under the weather, so may I thereby defer that you didnt sleep well?" And Miss Janes replied, "To tell you the truth Ariadne, I had the craziest dream and it kept me awake all night!" Then I said, "Well, Miss Janes, lets not stand around chatting on ceremony just we two together (as if no one else was listening) when we can let everyone out there on the dance floor and out in Radioland hear about your dream as well. So here, folks, is Miss Harriet Janes and her Orchestra with Miss Kitty Kallen doing their all-new, original arrangement of I Had The Craziest Dream." (Then I hold out my arms again just like in the snapshot and everyone claps like mad.) So thats how we do it, we announcerettes just have to keep our head about us and say all the right things.

So Miss Janes and Miss Kallen and the Orchestra did the song and there was a lot more applause and Miss Janes and I engaged in a little more sheek conversation to introduce the next number and as I am always supposed to remind the audience that Dance History is constantly being made every single minute I quite frequently did and so we eventually got through the whole performance making a lot of Dance History and afterwards Miss Janes took me up to the bar (which is in that flying-saucer-looking balcony you can see in the photo I sent yesterday) and ordered several rounds of champagne cocktails which was a lot better than a tip because a girl doesnt have to worry about where to put champagne cocktails no matter what kind of dress she has on. A girl can drink champagne cocktails in a neglijay if she fancies. I have even seen a desparate brunette once drink one in a shoe. A shoe that belonged to a blonde who wasnt paying the brunette any attention but made the mistake of removing her pumps under the table because her feet had got swollen from dinner and dancing so she eventually had to go home with her wet foot in a cab.

Well, pettes, I do have a song for you tonight, Its Been A Long Long Time. I could try to make another urban quip but I am not working now but writing to you pettes in the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar so I wont because Im off-duty and I have to save myself for the job. This song is one of my favourites, sung by the lovely Miss Kallen who is the sweet kind of a blonde that is partial to Angora sweaters such as she is wearing in this photo.

It's Been A Long, Long Time

[Introductory instrumental with trumpet obligato, muted brass and strings]

Never thought that you would be
Standing there so close to me
There's so much I feel I should say
But words can wait until some other day

Kiss me once and kiss me twice and kiss me once again
It's been a long, long time
Haven't felt like this, my dear, since can't remember when
It's been a long, long time

You'll never know how many dreams I dream about you
Or just how empty they all seem without you
So kiss me once and kiss me twice and kiss me once again
It's been a long, long time.

[Long instrumental closing with trumpet, brass, strings]

So until tomorrow, happy kisses from your pette-finally-making-good in Kadorian Hollywood,


Dateline: Wednesday, October 22nd, 1952

What News The Pigeon Carried

The bird on the parapet quickly recognized Cassiopeia as its mistress, who had raised it and thirty-five sister-pigeons from hatchlings, but it hesitated, strutting in fretful circlets, then stopping abruptly and quizzically inclining its head side-to-side, then fretfully strutting again: its sharp eye had detected that Cassiopeia was not yet aware of its presence.

The moment the tall brunette had dabbed away her tears and the bird finally saw the first spark of recognition in its mistress's eyes, it flew up from the parapet, fluttered a few moments before Cassiopeia's face, grazing her eyelashes, in greeting, with the very apices of its fanned wingtips, and alighted on her shoulder, from which more maternal perch it nuzzled her ear with its soft, feathered head. To this shoulder Cassiopeia slowly raised the fingers of her opposite hand, onto which the spent bird promptly hopped and permitted itself to be carried, like a prodigal avian princess returned, into the dovecote, now all astir, with rustling feathers and interrogatory cooings, from the unusual events of the evening.

In a warm part of the dovecote Cassiopeia set the bird on a low perch and placed dishes of food and water before it, which it assaulted with unabashed gusto. While the bird was busily assisting a respectable mound of birdseed to diminish rapidly, Cassiopeia gently unfastened the waterproof seal-gut pouch from its back, quietly let herself out of the dovecote and, tightly clutching the pouch, hurried down the stairs from the roof to her panelled study, there to read the contents.

Impatient and over-eager, Cassiopeia did not take the time to sit, but stood before her desk and with trembling fingers scrabbled at the pouch's delicate ties. She tore them open, hastily extracted and unfolded the lemon-grass parchment within, which she spread flat on the polished rosewood surface in one rapid, firm sweep of her hand. It was with uncomprehending shock that she saw the writing was not Kwethalyn's, but rather a bold brunette script, not too unlike her own, tightly covering the page in violet ligonberry ink.

The light in her study suddenly seemed to constrict itself to a dim yellow glow emanating from the parchment, then that, too, rapidly faded; Cassiopeia felt chill darkness grip her and her knees begin to buckle, but she managed to sink down into her chair and to lay her forehead on her folded arms on the desktop, else she would have collapsed on the floor. When the room had stopped spinning a bit, Cassiopeia slowly sat up, shook her head briskly a couple of times, and read:

"In the Province of Northern Amazonia, the Village of Unalakleet
"In the month of Tuntukala, the Eighth Day
"In Queen Sa'atavale's Reign, the Seventh Year
"To Cassiopeia, the Novarian Trader, Greeting!

"From this writing know I am the Blonde Kwethalyn's Brunette mother, Nuiqsala. You and I had the pleasure of meeting during the last two days of your visit to our village at the end of the summer.

"As it is not my manner to come at my goal askew and work up to my mark, I shall strike it directly. Kwethalyn has confessed all, including your exchange of carrier pigeons, one of which is bearing this message. I regret to tell you that our daughter at this moment lies desperately ill, but with no physical ailment: a child can see that the girl is love-sick and likely to die. Young woman, if you are an honorable Aristasian, communicate with my daughter immediately, stating your intentions!

"If your intentions, Dea forfend, are not honorable, then we will not likely have any writing from you, nor see your face, either, and we will probably have to carry our eldest out onto Sea Ice before solstice for the Long Journey across the vast unfreezing ocean that swirls beyond day and night and from which no one returns. [Editor's Note: Northern Amazonians do not bury their dead -- indeed, for most of the year it would be an impossibility.] But I have taken care, young woman, to make pointed inquiries of you up and down the coastline from Sleetmute to Shishmaref, and, without exception, all reports are that Cassiopeia the tall Novarian is an honest and upstanding trader whose word has ever been her bond.

"As time is of the essence and I cannot but trust to Dea that your intentions are honorable, I beseech you to state them immediately in no uncertain terms, namely, as an unequivocal proposal of impending matrimony, so that our precious daughter can be pulled back from the brink of the Great Abyss and her health, honor and happiness restored.

"Please acquaint me with your lineage of ten generations, your education, how many chambers has your dwelling and how many servants, what accommodations distant visitors may expect and tell me forthrightly your wealth in ivory and furs. Tell me as well how many months of the year you are normally gone from the hestia on your trading affairs, and whether such absences are apt to continue in future, for I am compelled to say that a trader's nomadic existence is hardly the most suitable for a married brunette, especially if there are to be children.

"Assuming that your particulars and your proposal shall be satisfactory and that Kwethalyn's blonde lady mother shall interpose no objection, I have appended to this letter (again, in the interest of time) Kwethalyn's lineage of ten generations as well as a catalogue of her education and domestic training. Upon my acceptance of any offer from you, I shall settle upon my daughter a dowry of furs and ivory suitable for a girl of her station, as Dea is my Witness that, for generations uncountable, no blonde of our clan has ever been delivered into matrimony with merely the clothes on her back nor has any brunette of our clan ever accepted a blonde so delivered.

"Having no doubt that your reply shall be swift and favorable and that your proposal shall in all likelihood be accepted, I remain,

"Your obedient, &c, &c,

"Nuiqsala, of the De'naina clan, who lives near the Steam Lodge"

[Editor's Note:The letter's appendix we need not reproduce here, as its substance will become plain by-and-by.]



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.