Kissing the Dog

I’m sorry, this should have been posted earlier; I take these commitments seriously. But a series of seasonal commitments (Girl Scout events, holiday parties, birthday, etc.) sort of distracted me. But here I am, and I have to tell you about the two coolest birthday presents ever.

The first, from Sarcasm Girl (my older daughter) is an antique copy of Sara Crew: or What Happened at Miss Minchin’s, a novella-version of A Little Princess.  I fell in love with A Little Princess when I was a kid, and I’m really interested to see what this shorter, earlier version is like.  Plus, the physical book is in beautiful shape, with wonderful black and white illos.  Tres cool.

The second, from my husband, who knows my buttons as well as if he’d sewn them on himself, is a copy of the Dictionary of American Underworld Lingo, ca. 1950.  Kissing the Dog, by the way, has nothing to do with osculation: it’s facing your victim while you’re picking his pocket.  High skill required.  I love this stuff, and I’m particularly delighted in that it’s in two parts: Underworld Lingo translated to Standard English, and Standard English to Underworld Lingo.  So if the next time you see me I’m talking like a Damon Runyan character, you’ll know the reason why.  And that’s jake with me.


Madeleine Robins blogs here on the 7th and 21st of the month, and more regularly at Running Air.  She’s the author of Petty Treason, Point of Honour, and a bundle of short stories many of which are available on her bookshelf.


About Madeleine E. Robins

Madeleine Robins is the author of The Stone War, Point of Honour, Petty Treason, and The Sleeping Partner (the third Sarah Tolerance mystery, available from Plus One Press). Her Regency romances, Althea, My Dear Jenny, The Heiress Companion, Lady John, and The Spanish Marriage are now available from Book View Café. Sold for Endless Rue , an historical novel set in medieval Italy, was published in May 2013 by Forge Books


Kissing the Dog — 5 Comments

  1. You should have a look at the publication history of A LITTLE PRINCESS. Like many of Hodgson Burnett’s works, it made a detour onto the stage before it ever assumed a permanent novel form. I just had occasion to reread LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY and realized it is pure fantasy fiction, an Edwardian Mary Sue. (Merwyn Sue? Fauntleroy’s given name is Cedric.)


  2. While I love A Secret Garden and A Little Princess, and have read Fauntleroy and The Lost Prince, there’s a weird divide in her writing about boys vs. her writing about girls. Apparently she pretty much destroyed her son Vivian’s life–everyone assumed he was the model for Ceddie Erroll (and that he must, therefore, call his mother Dearest, which is as close to a Mommy Sue as I can imagine. Eeew). Her girl characters have…character, even when they’re too good to be true.

  3. And have you read THE LOST PRINCE? The fountainhead of all those ‘lost heir to the throne’ books that the young gigolo loved to read in WHOSE BODY. All her work is so divorced from reality, it’s fascinating. If only she had had the fictional forms we have today.

  4. I was so excited when I found The Lost Prince (I was, maybe, 12?) because it was a Burnett novel I’d never heard of. Then I read it and realized why it wasn’t better known. Uch.