Serafina Puchkina: As people are getting their chairs, I clear my throat and begin: A gracious welcome to you. We are thrilled, pleased, and giddy with glee to welcome you to today’s Aether Salon, entitled Heroines! Thank you all for joining us today. Bear with us today, for we have a bit of a problem: Miss Viv refuses to return to reality and won’t be with us today.
As many of you know, the Aether Salon meets to discuss steam and Victorian topics on the third Sunday of each month, in Palisades and Academy, New Babbage. Today marks our second year of salon. When Miss Viv and I sat in her drawing room over two years ago to discuss our dreams and plans for a salon, neither of us knew how the idea would work or if we’d be run out of town on a rail. Thank you all.
Those folks wearing sashes are past speakers of salon whom we are recognizing today. Please give them a round of applause.
A few matters of housekeeping before we get started. If you are standing in the back, please move forward onto the maze so that you can be assured of hearing the speaker. Please hold your questions until the end, and as a courtesy to all, please turn off everything that creates lag: all HUDs, scripts, AOs and so on. Please no weapons, rogue scripts, unmetered poetry, or incendiary devices. Your cooperation is appreciated.
Edited and unedited transcripts will be posted this week on aethersalon.blogspot.com so you can revisit today’s merriment, read transcripts of past salons, and for a laugh, peruse “overheard at the salon.” Please join the Aether Salon group and receive notifications of future salon events, click the lower right hand corner of the large brown sign by the entrance. We sincerely appreciate the support we receive from everyone in the community. As a reminder, all speakers’ fund jar donations go directly to the speaker.
Next month’s salon is Aestheticism! with Miss Rowan Derryth on Sunday, November 21. We promise to have Miss Viv back by then. Miss Jed will introduce today’s speaker. Miss Jed?
Jedburgh30 Dagger: Thank you Serafina. Thank you all for coming today. I want to take a moment to thank the other staffers for the Salon for their dedication and efforts to make all of this come together. Not to mention all of you who have faithfully supported and attended the Salon since its inception.
Let me tell you a little something about our speaker. Bookworm Hienrichs once described herself as the least Steampunk-ish person living in New Babbage. She came to town about the same time I did, around two years ago, and has become an active member of the community.
She has described herself as a straight-laced Victorian woman, who isn’t a builder or an engineer. Book has also said she is an ordinary human, with no special talents or powers, yet finds herself comfortable around fae folk or people from unknown lands.
Miss Hienrichs enjoys photography and has captured many memorable images from the Salon and from the monthly Piermont Landing balls.
For all her time in town, she has always claimed that ‘nothing exciting ever happens to her’, that all the goings-on in the city seem to move around her. She has had the occasion to live that statement down, as she has found herself involved in many other events in the city, from joining the Militia to facing down certain doom and disaster in the streets.
Bookworm Hienrichs: I must admit, when I was asked to speak at this Salon on the subject of Heroines, I was quite hesitant. After all, what do I really know about the subject? But then, as I began investigating the topic, I grew more and more interested in it. And I think–at least, I hope–I may be able to share some insights with you.
It may seem as if there are few heroines, past, literary, or contemporary, for Victorian women to emulate–especially when compared with the number of heroes to find. However, if one is willing to look beyond the standard stereotype of heroism, one can find many heroines, with lessons to teach us.
This discussion cannot, of course, cover them all, so I will just mention a few highlights–those of the past, and those here in our midst. Our first stop is in the Bible, when Joshua and the Hebrews were just starting to conquer the land of Canaan. Joshua sent two spies to the city of Jericho, where they stayed at the house of Rahab, an innkeeper…or *cough* prostitute, depending on the translation.
Bookworm Hienrichs blushes a little, and quickly moves on.
The king of Jericho found out about them, and sent soldiers to her house. But she hid the spies on her roof, under stalks of flax, and told the soldiers that yes, the men had been there, but had left just before the time the city gate would close. After the soldiers left, she let the two men out the window by a rope, as her house was actually part of the city wall. So what lessons can a heroine learn from Rahab? Well, first, know where the good hiding places are.
Now, that may not *sound* very heroic, but it is actually very useful–not just for hiding oneself when one is in danger, but to hide oneself when one is following or watching someone else, or to hide others if they’re in trouble. Getting to know the less-traveled passageways, the unused rooms, the convenient piles of crates or junk–all this will be helpful to any heroine here in New Babbage. The urchins, of course, are past masters at this.
The second lesson is to know how to lie well. But sometimes, for the greater good, lying is necessary, and when that time comes, the lie had best be believable. That may sound strange–especially coming from me. But sometimes, for the greater good, lying is necessary, and when that time comes, the lie had best be believable. Rahab didn’t try to insist that the two spies hadn’t been there–she knew that would never be believed. Instead, she said that they’d headed for the gate at dusk–an entirely plausible thing for them to do, as closing time would likely be busy, and so it would be easier for them to slip out. So, through a good lie, Rahab saved their lives.
Our other Biblical examples come from the book of Judges. Early in the history of Israel, they were led by “judges,” who could settle disputes in times of peace, and act as rallying points in times of war. Deborah is the only woman judge mentioned in the Bible, but she obviously served in precisely the same function as any of the male judges. She was also a prophetess–which doesn’t mean she foretold the future, but that she received and passed on messages and directives from God.
She was truly, at this time, the ultimate authority in Israel–though Israel was under the thumb of Jabin, a Canaanite king, and his general Sisera. Deborah was not afraid to use the authority given her. She did not doubt God when He said the time had come to defeat the general Sisera. She was not afraid to gather the troops of Israel, and appoint their general, Barak, even though this action would certainly capture the attention of Sisera.
Nor was she afraid to tell Barak off when he publicly expressed his trepidations by insisting that she come along, telling him that the ultimate glory of winning would go not to him, but to a woman. That woman was Jael–who wasn’t even an Israelite. She was the wife of Heber the Kenite, who was actually a descendent of Moses’ father-in-law.
Despite this blood tie, Heber did have good relations with King Jabin, which made their tents the logical place for Sisera to flee when his army was defeated by Barak and the Israelites. Jael welcomed him into her tent–*her* tent; this was a time when men still often had several wives, who would each have their own rooms or tents. She gave him milk to drink, and consented to keep watch while he slept. But once he was asleep, she took a tent peg and hammer, and drove the peg into Sisera’s skull, killing him.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that most women are physically weaker than most men. While we can take some steps to increase our strength, it oftentimes is not enough. Thus, heroines must be willing to use any advantage that is given them, as Jael did, to accomplish their goal.
Most everyone knows the basics of the Arabian Nights, the Thousand and One Nights, the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments–whatever you want to call it. But not everyone may know the details, which are very interesting. Scheherazade was the daughter of the grand vizier of a sultan. This sultan had discovered his wife in flagrante delicto with a household officer, and so rather soured on marriage and women. So, once he’d disposed of his wife, he decided that the only solution was to marry a virgin, sleep with her for one night, then have her killed in the morning.
Bookworm Hienrichs: What?!
Myrtil Igaly: ARGH, the Doc!
Ahnyanka Delphin gasps as Dr. O suddenly appears.
Bookworm Hienrichs raises up.
Doctor Obolensky: Well, good afternoon.
Serafina Puchkina gasps
Stereo Nacht: Hm?
Sky Netizen‘s eyes widen
Jedburgh30 Dagger: What the…
Rhianon Jameson: This is most unexpected.
Bookworm Hienrichs shrieks once, then collapses.
Doctor Obolensky: And, enough of that drivel, don’t you think?
Ahnyanka Delphin: Poor form, Doctor! Don’t interrupt the story!!
Serafina Puchkina: The doors! Look at the doors!
Breezy Carver looks at the Doctor out for a stroll ??
Mahakala Omegamu: Gasp!~ ^o^ someone stop him!
Stereo Nacht: Herr Baron? Any orders?
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Hold.
Myrtil Igaly: uho…
Ahnyanka Delphin gasps as she notices that they’re trapped.
Stereo Nacht: Yes sir.
Doctor Obolensky: Now, before you all get all irate, allow me to remind you of two things.
KlausWulfenbach Outlander glares in irritation
Bianca Namori: blinks thinking she heard a gun cock.
Myrtil Igaly: Miss Book!!
Doctor Obolensky: One, Miss Heinrichs will be more or less no worse for wear in a half-hour or so.
Ahnyanka Delphin looks up at Miss Bookworm with concern.
Breezy Carver Gasp !!!!
Jedburgh30 Dagger growls
Rhianon Jameson thinks it fortunate that she kept her pistol beneath her skirt
Breezy Carver: but bt she was talking !!
Doctor Obolensky: And the second, that you all have, for the last few minutes, been breathing South Patagonian Deathflower pollen.
Breezy Carver: what did you do ???
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Is that all?
Myrtil Igaly: South wha?
Sky Netizen frowns and sniffs
Breezy Carver: what does that mean ??
Doctor Obolensky: Which I’ll pass on the antidote too, once I’m done, provided you all behave.
Serafina Puchkina clutches her throat and staggers
Myrtil Igaly: meh, it’s open air, how could that affect us!
Annechen Lowey frowns, “Poor manners are not excused by your self-importance, ‘Doctor’. ”
Rhianon Jameson coughs politely
Mahakala Omegamu wonders where isa botanist when you need one!
Doctor Obolensky: For those of you immune to such things, well, just consider your neighbor’s well being.
Breezy Carver covers mouth
KlausWulfenbach Outlander looks impatient
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Get on with it, Obolensky.
Bianca Namori whispers: Someone wasn’t hugged enough as a child.
Serafina Puchkina cries about poor Book
Doctor Obolensky: After all, you should be more appreciative of me saving you from this deluded woman’s ramblings.
Breezy Carver Gasp !
Doctor Obolensky: But on to the subject at hand.
Ahnyanka Delphin flutters her hand to fan herself as she starts to feel flushed.
Rhianon Jameson: Wha….?
Breezy Carver: how Rude !
Doctor Obolensky: Heroines…..silly and useless.
Bianca Namori: tries to hold back her laughter, being completely delighted by the turn of events.
Stereo Nacht clenches teeth, and puts her hand behind her back, just in case…
Jedburgh30 Dagger grits teeth
Rhianon Jameson waves the pistol
Sky Netizen hisses
Breezy Carver: Evil !
Doctor Obolensky: Women have no real place in the world of Heroism.
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Watch the footprints, that’s my Liaison you’re nudging.
Ahnyanka Delphin‘s eyes narrow as she frowns at the Doctor, “I don’t care what your ideals are… it’s never appropriate to interrupt a performance!”
Annechen Lowey growls.
Stereo Nacht abstains to roll her eyes, so not to get them off the Doctor…
Rhianon Jameson nods in agreement with Miss Delphin
Doctor Obolensky: Oh, assassins, yes. Storytellers, liars, cheats, all are excellent work for the woman out to make a name for herself.
Breezy Carver ponders What a great big Ham !!
Bianca Namori: cackles even more.
Doctor Obolensky: Not to mention, the culinary arts, and propogating the species.
Serafina Puchkina growls and looks over at the barred doors
Doctor Obolensky: But heroism requires more than any mere woman can manage.
Ahnyanka Delphin raises an eyebrow as she listens.
KlausWulfenbach Outlander goes from irritated to bored
Doctor Obolensky: Notice none of her examples included any women involved in a life-or-death duel on a rooftop in a thunderstorm.
Bianca Namori: Oh my…you knocked her out for a speach!? Really?!? Just a speech?! No murder?? No suspense?!?! And you call yourself a villian…-sighs dramatically and slums in her chair-
Rhianon Jameson: Naturally – we’re not *stupid*
Jimmy Branagh searches his pockets for fruit to throw.’
Doctor Obolensky: Well, if you insist, Miss Namori, I’ll kill you later.
Bianca Namori: Oh how delightful! You think you can! Adorable…
Ahnyanka Delphin secretly hands Jimmy a rotten tomato.
Doctor Obolensky: Now then….I’ll open the floor to questions on the subject. Please follow the rules of order.
Breezy Carver why are you you here again ?
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: When are you leaving? And can we help?
Doctor Obolensky: Well, I thought I had explained that.
Bianca Namori: When -are- you going to kill me? I need to pencil it in.
Sky Netizen thumbs through “Robert’s Rules Of Order” to figure out if killing is acceptable.
Doctor Obolensky: Really, for a group that supposedly is concerned with learning, you really are quite dull-witted.
Stereo Nacht: DO I need my pistol?
Rhianon Jameson tries to remember the lessons: know back alleys, lie well, use any advantage…
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: It’s your field effect, Obolensky.
Annechen Lowey: We just know when there is dross offered instead of true knowledge.
Myrtil Igaly: he says girls can’t be heroines
Doctor Obolensky: Hmmm….you have no interest in Heroines? I thought that’s why you all turned up.
Annechen Lowey: We have interst in true heroics, not your inane babble.
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Obolensky… are you trying to tell us a secret? Are you actually a heroine after all?
Doctor Obolensky sighs.
Doctor Obolensky: Very well, I suppose you all will just have to die to the toxin.
Myrtil Igaly: Well Miss Book IS an heroine.
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Frau Lowey, how are the supplies in the Consulate lab?
Annechen Lowey: Fairly well stocked, should not be a problem.
Doctor Obolensky: Good evening all. I had hoped for some interesting discourse….but apparently you all are all the same rabble as the rest of them.
Stereo Nacht: Sir, he said he *has* the antidote. What about taking him down, then taking it from him?
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Sehr gut, before we died of tedium.
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Use precision, damen. We wouldn’t want to break the container.
Bookworm Hienrichs suddenly leaps up and snatches the ElectroCane from Dr. Obolensky.
Rhianon Jameson cheers Miss Book
Doctor Obolensky: ((And this ladies and gentleman, is the kind of reason why you all don’t see me much anymore.))
KlausWulfenbach Outlander smiles, pleased at his Liaison’s reflexes.
Breezy Carver: ✰·.·´` Claps Very Loudly!! ´`·.·✰
Ahnyanka Delphin cheers for Miss Bookworm!
Bookworm Hienrichs: *I* — have had *enough* — of being *electrocuted*!
Mahakala Omegamu applause!
Doctor Obolensky: ((Good evening))
Bookworm Hienrichs punctuates each phrase with a slam of the cane against the floor, creating sparks and a sizzling noise. Then she casts aside the now-ruined cane.
Jimmy Branagh: Yay Miss Book!
Bookworm Hienrichs glares after the departing Dr. Obolensky.
Marion Questi: I suppose he made up the toxin thing….
Bookworm Hienrichs: Honestly! This is the *third* time this year! Are those villains *trying* to permanently damage my nerves?
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Blood tests at the Consulate after the Salon for everyone.
Jimmy Branagh: Thet wos a foine example of wot Miss Book is talkin’ ’bout!
Annechen Lowey: Though it is likely he is a poor botanist, and had no idea what he wwas using.
Bookworm Hienrichs sits back down, a little shakily.
Rhianon Jameson sneezes from the Evil Pollen
Myrtil Igaly: we’re still stuck in here and people can’t come in
Rhianon Jameson: An airship can simply lift us all out.
Bookworm Hienrichs rubs her forehead, wincing.
Serafina Puchkina: That evil Doctor! What can we do?
Stereo Nacht: I always have my jetpack with me. Should I try from outside?
Mahakala Omegamu is rather disappointed nobody stood up to fight the menace
Bookworm Hienrichs: Ach. That always gives me such a headache.
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Fraulein Book performed excellently as a heroine in this case. She awaited her moment to act.
Stereo Nacht: Yes, I must admit I wasn’t much worried for her – I have heard she had had some excellent training.
Bookworm Hienrichs smiles weakly.
Jasper Kiergarten: it seems we are still stuck in here, however
Bianca Namori: slips to the back of the room and heads back to…work.
Jimmy Branagh: Nah. Do a little cloimbin’
Stereo Nacht: Hm. Metal bars. Acid, or heat?
Rhianon Jameson now regrets the short skirt, but reflects that she has new bloomers.
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Try a lockpick first. Less entertaining, possibly more productive.
Jasper Kiergarten: hmm
Jasper Kiergarten: what do you think Jed?
Ahnyanka Delphin: Do we get to hear the rest of the speech about Scheherazade?
Bookworm Hienrichs: Oh, dear…
Jasper Kiergarten: we apologize for all of this, er, funny business, everyone
Rhianon Jameson: We don’t need to – we have our own, in-the-flesh heroine!
Bookworm Hienrichs: I do hope you’ll excuse me, but I don’t know that I’m up to continuing.
Bookworm Hienrichs rubs her forehead again.
Jasper Kiergarten: methinks we should figure out these doors, and perhaps get Miss Book to a comfortable place so she can rest
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: The Consulate isn’t far.
Jasper Kiergarten: *bangs on wall*
Myrtil Igaly: maybe we can climb up the wall and then go fetch a saw or something
Jasper Kiergarten: perhaps. You urchins are better suited for that, perhaps?
Jimmy Branagh: Oy bet Oy can get out an’ foind some dynamite!
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Good work.
Jasper Kiergarten: they’re open!
Bookworm Hienrichs starts the the clanging sound.
Ahnyanka Delphin applauds, “Excellent work!”
Jasper Kiergarten: excellent work Jed
Jedburgh30 Dagger: Jed says Voila
Bookworm Hienrichs: Thank you, Jed.
Jimmy Branagh: Awww … Oy wanted to use dynamite …
Serafina Puchkina: Jed saves the day!
Ahnyanka Delphin: Miss Jeddie saves the day.. AGAIN!
Myrtil Igaly: another time Jimmy
Jasper Kiergarten: everyone, we are so sorry about this rude and dreadful interruption
Rhianon Jameson: Quite exciting, Mr. K.!
Serafina Puchkina: Miss Viv will be so sad to have missed the excitement. She will be properly miffed at Doc O
Jasper Kiergarten: Unfortunately, I fear that Miss book is in no condition to continue her presentation
Jimmy Branagh: Awww, well it wos a great presentytion anywhys!
Ahnyanka Delphin nods at Mr. Kiergarten and gazes with concern up at Miss Bookworm, “Do you need any help getting home, darling?”
Serafina Puchkina: We thank you for your forbearance and we will resolve this matter with the Doctor, never fear
Jimmy Branagh: AN’ she should get some rest after thet nefarious display
Bookworm Hienrichs smiles as well as she can. “Thank you, all.”
Victor1st Mornington: awwww wasnt nefarious at all, was only the old doctor showing his love for the general populace of new babbage…
Jasper Kiergarten: thank you all for coming today, hopefully we can get the evil scrubbed out in time for the next Salon.. a heck of a way to celebrate two years of Aether Salon…
Serafina Puchkina: I agree, Jasper. Hope Miss Viv isn’t miffed at us!
Stereo Nacht: Well, one could say we had some entertainment! 😉
Jimmy Branagh: Oy think it’s an annivr’sry ta be remembered!
Ahnyanka Delphin applauds and grins, “Wonderful job all! Even if it was so rudely interrupted!”
Bookworm Hienrichs: Here’s to two more years, and more!
Jasper Kiergarten: cursed Docter Obelensky
Bookworm Hienrichs smiles.
Jimmy Branagh: “Miss Book Beats Stuffin’s Out Of Evil Doctor, Audience Applauds Wildly!”
Serafina Puchkina: May I use that in the transcript, Jimmy?
Jimmy Branagh: SUre!
Mahakala Omegamu: Yes… I was sitting in the audience… awkward at the Dr. O’s intrusion.. and I was sitting there thinking to myself from the event “Okay, some woman is going to stand up and stop this mess I hope” But then I realized after it all stopped “Good gods, thats exactly the type of feeling keeping people from becoming heroic to begin with” People expecting whoever they idealize to be heroic at the time taking action
Bookworm Hienrichs: Thank you, again. I hope I’ll see you at the next salon.
Ahnyanka Delphin: One of the reasons that Miss Jed is such a great heroine in my opinion… she doesn’t have the patience to wait for someone else to take care of it… she just does it herself.
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Who else do you all consider heroic?
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Other than the remarkable Fraulein Bookworm and Fraulein Dagger?
Ahnyanka Delphin: Oh.. we have so many here in New Babbage.. though I wouldn’t count myself as one of them.
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Come now, name some names.
Ahnyanka Delphin: The ladies of the Fire Brigade I adore passionately for their heroism…
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Good example.
Stereo Nacht: Anyone who gets things done without double-thinking gets my admiration, sir!
Ahnyanka Delphin: Who would you add to the list, Herr Baron?
Jimmy Branagh: The New Babbage Militia has syved the dye many toimes.
Jedburgh30 Dagger: *points at Sera*
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: My mother would be my first example.
Ahnyanka Delphin nods in agreement with Jimmy.
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: Remarkable woman.
Stereo Nacht: And as such, most people of the steamlands would be considered heroes and heroins, in my book.
Jasper Kiergarten: As always, the speaker’s fund goes entirely to our speakers
KlausWulfenbach Outlander: A Spark and a leader, yet one who did not hesitate to get her hands dirty when a task needed to be done.