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Chapter 53: Valentines

This chapter celebrates my twentieth comment on ff.net! Yes, I know, some people get like eight billion comments, but twenty is a lot for me, especially given how stop-and-start my updating schedule has been. So, thanks, three people who comment! Your continued acknowledgement of my existence keeps me going!

Ev hates Valentine's Day. Are you surprised? A couple tiny plot developments (or "devilopements," as our friend Perry would say) buried in a massive heap of hateration is all I could manage for Chapter 53. Better luck next time, I guess.

The entry opens with a set of slightly misquoted lyrics from Florodora, an awful and extremely popular Broadway extravaganza about THE PHILIPPINES that was also a launching point for the entirely unwholesome fame of Evelyn Nesbit, artist's model, Trial of the Century star witness, and accidental inspiration for Anne of Green Gables, whom I was completely crushed to learn did not enjoy a second career as the author of The Railway Children.

Oh, and a "vinegar valentine" is a c. 1900 term for an insulting joke valentine. There is an excellent (and Emily-relevant!) example from Wikipedia below the cut.






Shrewsbury H.S. slang (that I just made up) makes "vinegar verses" a Valentine's Day-specific tradition of spreading rumors about a classmate by posting anonymous rhymed insinuations about them near the entrance to the school. This is tolerated by teachers as a harmless prank as long as no one is actually caught posting the verses and they have come down by the end of the day. Depending on the year, there might be up to ten "vinegars" posted on any given Valentine's day, some of them quite nasty in their implications. "Claiming" a vinegar by mentioning, arguing with, or removing it is strictly forbidden by unwritten Shrews. H.S. bylaws set down in the foundations of the High School by the Emperor Over the Sea the original graduating class of 1884.

The vinegar is an ugly granddaughter of the "take-notice," which comparatively innocuous tradition of writing two names together on the school wall to indicate a present or future romantic link is explored at some length in Anne of Green Gables, resulting predictably enough in another round of bad-mouthing Gilbert Blythe for no reason. OH, ANNE.

Also, my goodness but this chapter has a lot of italics.

Also, I can't tell you how excited I was to be able to confirm that "electric blue" was already in use in 1904. Almost as excited as I am for YULETIDE ASSIGNMENTS, MAYBE TOMORROW?

ALMOST. NOT QUITE.

NOT AT ALL.

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