The Blues

The Blues

Crushed diamonds
Spangled on the waters
Sparkling and twinkling
Within serene undulations.

Unsullied blue skies
Vast in its universe
Infinite and immeasurable
Surrounded by a pacific consciousness.

©2016 Susan Marie Molloy

The view from our hotel conference room, looking out over the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Walton Beach, Florida, February 2016. Original photograph ©2016 Susan Marie Molloy

The view from our hotel conference room, looking out over the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Walton Beach, Florida, February 2016. [Original photograph ©2016 Susan Marie Molloy]

BOOK REVIEW: The Colored Fairy Books

There are twelve books of fairy tales I came across while searching for something different to read. They were compiled researched, translated and compiled by Andrew Lang (1844-1912) and his wife, Leonora Blanche Alleyne Lang. The books were illustrated by Henry J. Ford. Andrew Lang, a Scotsman, was a literary critic, novelist, poet, and a contributor to the field of anthropology.

Each book, published between 1889-1910, is a color: “The Pink Fairy Book, “The Violet Fair Book,” “The Olive Fairy Book,” and so on. The colors do not coincide with the stories, but rather, they are just the colors of the book covers.


The sources for the tales came from traditions all over the world: German, French, Italian, Sicilian, Rhodesian, Japanese, and many more. Included are such favorites as “Snowflake,” “The Snow-queen,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “The Blue Bird,” “Rapunzel,” plus many more you’ve heard of and not heard of. These are the refreshingly original versions, in all their straightforward, and sometimes brutal, gory glory. (Don’t think Disney!) Some are easy to read and some are difficult due to some archaic language.  Each book has an average of thirty stories.  Multiply that by twelve, and that’s a lot of fairy tales!

All in all, I do recommend these books for literary and psychological research and analysis, and just for the fun of it, if you are so motivate.

All of the books are available on Amazon Kindle.

The Colored Fairy Books
By Andrew Lang
Pages: Various
Years published: 1889-1910

©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.


A Gentleman Doesn’t Wear a Nose Ring, or On a Young Lady’s Conduct When Contemplating Marriage

I’m doing something a little different with my Wednesday Book Review. Instead of reviewing one book here, there are two, both published in 1860.

Yes, 1860. And they’re all about how to be gentleman and a lady, and I was all over these books post haste. I remained ladylike, I assure you, in my rush to get these books.

The first, “The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness Being a Complete Guide for a Gentleman’s Conduct in all his Relations Towards Society” by Cecil B. Hartley is 169 pages of the Do’s and Don’ts if one wishes to be a gentleman. Yes, there is the expected advice of keeping one’s hair clean and combed, soiled gloves are a no-no at all times, and ladies – including mom, sisters, grandma, aunts, and wife – are to be treated with the utmost respect and are to be helped with everything ad infinitum.  It’s a gentleman’s duty.  A gentleman must act like a gentleman towards every lady who acts like a lady.

If a gentleman knows an artist or literary person who works at home, the gentleman never calls on them during the workday; to do so would be rude and interrupt their workday.

The most surprising paragraph in the entire book was the advice given regarding nose rings: DON’T wear them! I wonder what segment of society in the mid-nineteenth century wore nose rings in America. Maybe bulls? But they are not the subject audience here. There is also stern advice to not attach a bunch of charms on one’s watch fob, too. That’s tacky.

To swear, use vulgarity, and toss about slang is a sign of “low-breeding.”

The companion book to “A Gentleman’s Guide” is “The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness: A Complete Hand Book for the Use of the Lady in Polite Society” by Florence Harley, also published in 1860 and is 159 pages long.

Here we would take seriously the advice on the importance of keeping one’s dress clean, ensuring lace is not worn in great amounts when shopping (a cotton chintz dress or woolen dress are some of the suggestions), the attention to good table manners is a sign of good breeding, how a lady travels either alone with an escort, writing letters, attending church, courting and getting married, the art of conversation, et cetera. In fact, this book is almost identical to the gentleman’s book, with the applicable gender references tailored to the right audience.

There are some knitting and crochet patterns to make clothing, and tips on how to clean such things. However, the most interesting section is the recipes and tips on how to keep oneself clean, how to clean your clothing, and dental hygiene.

People in mourning would find that the black dye in their mourning clothes would stain their skin. No problem — just mix together a few ingredients, including the poisonous olaxic acid, and voila! stains are history.

Your black lacy veil need cleaning? Mix together gall of bullock (gall from a castrated bovine) with musk and a few other ingredients, and you’re good to go.

Teeth need cleaning and whitening? Cuttle fish and chalk will do the trick. Strawberries help remove tartar, so eat them as frequently as possible when they are in season.

There are a multitude of cold creams, face creams, and lip balms ready for you to make and some common ingredients are butter, beeswax, almond paste, and spermaceti. Spermaceti? Yes, it’s that waxy substance found in the head of sperm whales.

Both books have sound advice and tips that would be well-followed in these twentieth century days. The only things that date these books are references to horses and carriages, style of clothing, hygiene (insofar as how little one washes as compared to today’s society), and the like.

Both of these books are available on Amazon Kindle at no cost.

The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness Being a Complete Guide for a Gentleman’s Conduct in all his Relations Towards Society
By Cecil B. Hartley
Pages: 169
Publisher: G.W. Cottrell, Boston
Year published: 1860

The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness: A Complete Hand Book for the Use of the Lady in Polite Society
By Florence Hartley
Pages: 159
Publisher: G.W. Cottrell, Boston
Year published: 1860

©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.

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