Mimsy and Babs: The Case of the Cloche Contretemps

Of the famous inseparable pair, meet Mimsy–or I believe this is she, judging by the helplessly overbalanced elegant tilt of her head, and how her smile looms large (something certainly does) beneath that adorable feathered cloche.

Mimsy the Floozy and Her Cloche

Mimsy and a Very… Stylish Cloche She Obtained Somewhere

These letters first appeared as comments and replies on Elizabeth Turner’s blog Dot Knows.

I didn’t know Liz at all at the time, but when I saw the picture below on her blog, I went out on a limb by posting, just because, the first letter to “Mimsy”, supposedly from “Babs”.

ElleTurner Mimsy & Babs Moths On Clover

‘Six Spot’ Burnet Moths Demonstrating Their Addition Skills (photo by ©Elizabeth Turner/elleturner4)

Liz delighted me by out-Wodehouse-ing me: She responded with her first reply as Mimsy, and a letter love-match was formed.

Dearest Mimsy, (I wrote Liz)

I spotted two moths today today on a clover, and do you know, rather than gasping and hurriedly backing away, I actually dropped down for a closer look!

Honestly, Mimsy, I know you’ll find this beyond belief, but their tails were touching, and the two together made a really rather attractive picture! No–  truly!

They had these lovely little spotted wings–  What color?  Oh, orange on black–  and their little thingies–  you know, their antenna-thingies–  were poking out in opposite directions quite like those marvelous ebony feathers jutting out on that cloche Yvette wore the other night–You know the one!

Mimsy, these simple creatures made me feel altogether blessed, if you will, as if they were designed purposely to make me feel utter delight. The oddest thing.

But then they separated, and the horrid things flew right toward me! Naturally, I screamed bloody murder. Raymond, thank Gawd, killed the bloody things instantly.

Thank the Lord for strapping young men, eh, Mimsy?

Yours fondly, as always,



So Babs (wrote back Liz)…if I may be as bold!,

I lay this at your feet…

The carnage and horror that was unveiled to your little Mimsy is more than she can bear…

For hours now Mimsy has lain silent and traumatised from the wicked terrors that she beheld in the usually pleasant field behind her house. Spotted wings draped over pretty grasses, delicate antennae stuck in spider webs, and that final horror of what you describe as ‘marvellous ebony feathers’ now looking nothing like dear Yvette’s cloche…

You know how much your Mimsy wanted a cloche of that nature. How could you allow such wanton destruction of what you call ‘horrid things’!

Damn that fine strapping young man… Forgive my harsh words, but that is what you, Babs, have driven me to!

I, your little Mimsy, am distraught and need something for my nerves…  perhaps a little tipple. I am away now to recover.

Think long and hard, my once-dear Babs, about the course of action you set that strapping young man onto, and look for forgiveness.

I finish now having come to the end!

Yours, once fondly,



Mimsy! My dear!

Had I but known you had taken up an interest in Naturalism (how perfectly apropos, given your rather rural and, let us say, less-than-fashionable location), I would have ended my tale at its penultimate reflections, rather than reveal the final outcome.

Please forgive me, my soft-hearted darling!

How you can feel any fondness for creatures that literally fly in the face of reason…  Well, it literally flies in the face of reason, m’dear!

However, out of my deepest regard for you and our long friendship, I will order Raymond to practice the same catch-and-release mode with critters that creep and leap as he does now with those that swim in the deep.

Will you forgive me, Mimsy? Do come over to dinner so that you can show that you do.

We’re having a lovely steak tartare, preceded by a stellar paté, accompanied by the most amazing blood soup you have ever feasted upon. And Raymond has added a special treat for the tartare: Andean condor eggs! Imagine!


Your Friend,



Dear Babs…  Just a little dearer than you were yesterday what with the note of conciliation in your message,

I feel I must conform to the correct way of doing things and apologise for this response’s tardiness…

You see, here in the less-than-fashionable location that I find myself in–namely Old Blighty–we have to sleep at different times to you. Thus, the delay.

No matter; I am here now; rest your heaving breast!

I can feel forgiveness forming, though it is not yet fully complete, and I fear I must take a little while to steady myself.

Though even now the thought of Raymond and Andean Condor eggs served on a platter quite makes my saliva glands tremble!

Thus I believe that, dear little six spot burnet’s slaughter notwithstanding, I shall come to a place where I will be able to accept your offer though there are, of course, many a thing to organise for the coming days in order for the transition from here to there to be fulfilled.

Stellar pate sounds extraordinary and I look forward to the experience.

I must beg you, my once favourite dewdrop, to tell that chap Raymond that it is his utmost duty to perfect the Catch and Release system popularised by the Victorians with high haste and when I arrive I shall expect a demonstration.

Now, what with the rurality and less than fashionality that I live having been plunged into darkness, I must away to my fluffy feathered place to enjoy a full night of rejuvenating kip.

I look forward to a swift response from your dear-ish self.

With a little affection and possibly a wink,



Oh, Mimsy,

The warmth of your response is truly.

All is being made ready for your arrival: Raymond is catching all possible creeping creatures, and shall release them into your quarters the moment your dainty foot crosses the threshold. A Naturalist’s dream, surely!

I am so glad your generosity of spirit has allowed us to put this ugly incident behind us.



Your friend,



Dear Babs,

Yes, the ugly incident is behind and we must plough forward.

Raymond, the dear little pickled egg (has he received treatment yet?), sounds a dream but:

could I please have some grasses for my sleeping quarters so that the dear little insects may have a home of their own as well, and not just have to hunker down on the drapes and hangings that I am sure will be in place for my stay?

I must make haste now for it is imbibing time on a Friday night, and I cannot use a computer during these times.
Preparations are coming on nicely.

I will let you know of any other requirements for my stay and also furnish you with my itinerary.

Much moderate feeling to you my pal, buddy and cheap hostelry owner,

Yours Mimsy


Dearest Mimsy,

With my fulsome laughter at your Raymond line still sounding, I cede victory, and hereby doff my cloche to you.


Yours In War,

Yours In Abject Surrender,

And Looking Quite Spiffy All In White


Dear Spiffy in White one…

I, in turn, must say that I have cried tears of laughter whilst trying to read what you have written to my partner who could make no sense of me at these times!

Bravo Babs…..a fun fight and a darned good duel

Yours in purple and Blue!


PS…cloche accepted.


Dear Mimsy,

It WAS fun!! A most-worthy opponent–I was well o’er-matched (and minded only a little– tsk!).

Yours in Precious Purity,


P.S. Never in my dreams did I expect you would accept the cloche (esp., m’dear, given that darling boffo but beefy noggin of yours–

you MUST know a cloche will appear on it much as would a pearl balanced on an egg?).

Now what shall I wear with my silk sheath to Raymond’s wife’s funeral next week?

(At least, we’re shooting for next week. Oh! Oh, Mimsy! Did you hear that–what I just said? Ha ha ha! Rather precious, that one, what?! Ha ha ha!)



PS…Of course I would accept the cloche–but how could you mention my boffo and beefy noggin? And the painting of the picture of the egg and pearl?

NO-ONE, I repeat NO-ONE knows of these incapacities as I have used photos of other people on my profile and now it is all over the blogosphere! Mimsy is unmasked and I fear we are back where we started to boot!

I have contacted Raymond’s wife.

I will leave now with cloche all a quiver!




I fear you have trod that one step beyond from which there is no turning back. (Give me a moment please, to fan myself for dramatic grammatic pause–that opening sentence rather wrung it out of me.)

To contact Raymond’s wife, Mimsy: Really! When I said never a word to Lady Agatha and Llewellyn Smythe-Dudley-Brown either about the other–

nor mentioned to them besides someone’s regretful two-bags-full “wool-gathering” incident in the barn.

Small wonder your cloche is quivering. I would not but be surprised the shudders of shame would take several months until achieving a state of quietus.

Thanks to your unforgivable action, it appears this missive will form my half of our final goodbye.

I would add that it is with tears of sadness that I type these words, but in truth it is tears of laughter that roll down my face,

for I have posted a faithful rendition of the egg/pearl painting on Imgur, with a few appropriate starting captions, your name included.

I am confident that the new google revenge porn quashing algorithms will fail to recognize that monstrously-oversized ovoid as any portion of an actual human.

Farewell Forever, Friend No More!


P.S. You left your pink cashmere sweater here last week. I donated it to a thrift store, assuming you left it because you couldn’t possibly have wanted to wear it again with the neck all stretched out the way it was–

YOU know why.



My recollection is that you were in the room (holding the scarab and the kookaburra) with Lady Agatha, Llewellyn Smythe-Dudley-Brown and myself

(Raymond was busying himself with his wife I believe) and you were in full control of your faculties when you said

“Ok my hearties, just one more time!”

I would have left, had you not beguiled me into that fateful “one more time”.

So don’t you talk to me about not mentioning anything to them and pretending you yourself were not there, Babsy-baggage!

You can hurt me no longer with threats and promises of posting things I no longer am able to control.

That sweater was yours (HA!);

I purloined it just after the kookaburra expired and you were at your weakest, with your snivelling and whining and your back being turned!

So, rub that into your temples and consider that Babs! Consider that!

You will never more know my name which I shall change by deed poll forthwith.

Once your affectionate friend but no darned longer,


The Duchess of Whimsy


My forever thanks to Liz for being the most fantastic persnickety partner of whom one could ever dream. Thank you, Liz!

1920s Cloche With Feathers

What Yvette’s Cloche Really Looked Like


Leave a comment


  1. Oh Bab(e)s, I loved the limb that you went out on and happily climbed out with you! Much guffawing is such a lovely feeling, especially when no one else quite gets it!
    I must ask…where did you get that photo of Mimsy? She told me she had destroyed all photos of her poor eggy self! However I think it is an old photo before her ovoid troubles really started!!
    Long may the madness continue! And thank you for the lovely light relief for me too! 😜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mimsy’s monstrous melon only appears more miniscule in that photo because she served as her own milliner for that oversized velvet stocking cap she is laughably trying to pass off as a “cloche”. We both know that, had that been a real cloche perched high upon that giant globe, my readers would have been scraping their phone screens with a thumbnail trying to remove the smut speck appearing so microscopic in comparison–or, alternately, dropping those phones in startlement at Mimsy’s sadly-deformed proportions.

      One must give her credit for pulling off a coup de’ trompe l’oeil l’oeuf.

      (You are welcome. At 2,000 very big words, I suspect few will read the post, but it deserved a post, didn’t it?)


  2. I thoroughly enjoyed it even if I didn’t understand it all! It took me back through the Looking Glass 🙂
    “Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All Mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.”
    -Jabberwocky, from Lewis Carroll, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I take pleasure that you took pleasure. That YOU didn’t understand it all is, however, disheartening, given that your vocabulary, intellect, and all-round knowledge, combined, have thus far appeared to be…I think the word I’m seeking is “adequate”…yes, that’s it.

      I did consider some editing down of the original comments and replies to improve clarity as well as shorten the post, but, frankly, I’m proud of Babs and Mimsy for remaining as articulate as they did in the heat of their deep hurt over their equal feelings of betrayal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The vocabulary was wonderful and adequate as well 😉 I think I was struggling with the relationships and plot but it became clearer as it went on. But I couldn’t help the flashback as the word MIMSY and nonsense just go together!
        PS I have an avatar now however it is temporary. This is a pencil portrait that I drew when I was 15. It is not a self-portrait but I chose it because it reminds me of my once and then boundless creative spirit. The sketch has survived a basement flood followed by 40 years in a dusty closet. I hope to get a better shot or a better avatar in near future, but it will do for now. Hope you like it better than an empty box 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • I am eager to see your drawing! but have internet today only via my Iphone. There, I can still see only the anonymized clearly MALE icon (yet another soapbox/shoulder-chip issue for me, along with every d#mn obviously-male smiley–in HS, I used to doodle adorable obviously androgynous smileys/smilies. Oval faces COULD have easily established emoji dominance, had the graphics world not been male-dominated.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Got to your site, saw your drawing. You are/were friggin’ talented. The spirit looks like the fun sort of smart#ss one would have expected. What a great expression in that drawing.

          You should see my only self-portrait, for comparison: Besides the poor skill (I forgive myself for the head being disconnected from the neck and the appearance of a version of a me who’s been broadened and flattened post-steamroller–my childhood skewed my me-dar), I look scared of the world. I like to think that now, my spirit would be closer to that of a firefly: Plain or even off-putting when not glowing, small and helpless, easily captured and dominated, shining only intermittently, but impossible to resist when flashing, and bewitching when glowing steadily.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ok Firefly! 😉 Thanks for the praise, she does have a sassy look and attitude which does suit the cause. But as for you, Firefly, I think you are formidable not helpless. Quiet but confident when you are not glowing, like flying softly but carrying a big stick. Then brightly shining and mesmerizing when aglow spreading your vivacious creativity in beams of enchantment! It IS a great metaphor! 🙂 Outlier Firefly? lol

            Liked by 1 person

      • My anonymous icon looks male? I had no idea. To me it looked like a sad green version of Lisa Simpson! Perhaps it appears differently depending on the device. At least now there is a real photo. It’s not that fabulous a drawing, it is more of a reminder to me to draw on that energy that I had then, pardon the pun.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Via the notebook-tablet, it looks as you say, and I actually like that icon. It doesn’t look sad to me–it looks grumpy, and makes me laugh. But via the phone, it is the generic male head-and-(broad)-shoulders silhouette.

          Liked by 1 person

    • By the way, I love Jabberwocky (too), and can quote it (as what respectable person cannot?), and had not made that Mimsy connection.
      Thanks for that.

      I mean thanks for making me feel stupid, of course.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome, don’t mention it. Haha. Perhaps it is just me and my Alice in Blunderland ways…

        Liked by 1 person

        • 🙂
          I didn’t even like the books when young, although I liked parts. Desperately wanted to get through a mirror, but one Lost In Space episode cured me of that: An older boy creepily spies on one of the family daughters by peering at her from the other side of every mirror. After that, I avoided both Carroll and mirrors. Both words are too hard to say, anyhow. Stupid retroflex r.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. That is no cloche. That is a Russian fur hat. I suspect a conspiracy to defraud by millinery.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I too got confused by the back and forth. i did get the part about smooshing the moths and then catch and release. Love the picture of the fingeresque Mimsy. She is so attractive , especially with her cloche. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul, I was about to turn out the light when your comment came through and that did it: I went in and changed all of Mimsy’s parts to italic. That may not entirely eliminate the confusion, but it may help. Glad you enjoyed the picture. I was impressively awkward at taking it with one hand while holding my phone with the other–the phone did NOT want to focus properly. When I saw the “cloche” needed trimming right over poor Mimsy’s (fat) face, I said “good enough”, and published the post as was.

      And NOW the lights are going off. Have a good night. No…it’s morning for you Have a good day!



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