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


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