Behind the Scribbles ~ Unused Finishing School Notes

I have finally returned from my book tour!

Thank you so much to everyone who managed to make it out to my events. You are fabulous, and it was a pleasure to meet you. I will blather at you all soon about what happened but right now I need Mexican food, sleep, and tea … in that order. And now for some serious bloggage…

Finishing School DVD Extras!

One of the last things I did, Gentle Reader, some 14 months ago when I was handing in my final draft of Manners & Mutiny, was go over my story bible for the whole book series. Now, Gentle Reader, I’m not going to let you peek at the bible itself. For one thing, my handwriting is awful. For another, my spelling is embarrassing. (By all accounts, I am not an Accomplished Young Lady.) The story bible is a messy creature full of crossed out bits, arrows from one section to another, pasted in photos, funny small sketches, different colored pen. It’s not worth sharing. Even if it didn’t have notes and thoughts on future unwritten things which would be much with the ruination of future works.

But, I thought you might like a peek as some fun bits and bobs from that final read through. Me trying to pick up all my threads. Trying not to forget anything or anyone (expect by intent). I’ve marked the point when the notes become spoilery for the last book.


Dates of Finishing School Books

  1. October 1851
  2. March 1852
  3. February 1853 (Soph 16, Sid 16, Dim almost 15, Ag 14)
  4. December 1853 (Soph 16, Dim 15, Ag 15) Transitions into New Year 1854

Girls Birthdays

  • Sidheag February 1, 1837
  • Sophronia November 29, 1837
  • Dimity February 2, 1838
  • Agatha May 4, 1838

Ran across this inspiration image of the Misses Zena and Phyllis Dare: actresses of the Edwardian musical comedy fame (set much after these books).


I know it’s the wrong time period but this image very much informed my idea of the relationship between Dimity and Sophronia. Dimity is the more round face smiling Phyllis to the left, and Sophronia the longer face more reserved Zena at the front.

On Hair Pieces

“It has been suggested that those ladies who wish to wear a real hair mattress on their heads, surmounted by several stories of hat, with a parterre of flowers to crown the whole, shall insert in their headdress for the theatre an opera-glass, to rest on the top of the head, ranging fore and aft, so that gentlemen witting behind can see through it to the stage.”
~ Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine August 1872

C&C in Japan

Various Level of Evil Genius (top down)

  1. Evil Genius
  2. Vengeful Genius
  3. Spiteful Genius
  4. Reprobate Genius
  5. Discourteous Genius 
  6. Mildly Rude Genius


Stuff That Never Made It In:

  • Notes on history of Dartmoor, stone circles, etc. Dartmoor in time-lapse.
  • Background information about Alessandro and his activities before his death in 1850. Might he have had some connection to the school before Sophronia arrived? Ended up not being relevant to these books. Is there a short story there? Maybe. We know he knew Professor Lefoux from before, in Paris, because Vieve remembers him.
  • Long list of silly Sister Mattie-isms. Apparently I had intended to introduce her character by depicting her praise a student for making the whole class sick. She ended up with a lot less screen time than I had anticipated. It’s OK, the students were the important focus. Funny how when I started I thought the teachers would be so much more prevalent in these books, and adult/teacher perspective. But as I got immersed in Sophronia and her world I realized to her, they were less necessary than her friendships. Which is exactly right, I feel. 
  • 1853 Royal christening, Nesselrode pudding a big deal, fog in London much remarked upon.
  • Picklemen also referred to as The Men Who Pickle.
  • Mademoiselle Geraldine was supposed to call the students “my dumplings.”
  • Lady Linette, “So you have learned how to walk. Next we learn how to walk and steal a man’s heart at the same time.”
  • Sophronia walnut-dying her skin to see what it’s like to be black.  
  • The fact that Soap doesn’t like fish.

    E&E in Japan

On the French System of Manners

“One of the highest merits of the French system of manners is that it tacitly lays down the principle that all persons meeting in the same house know each other without the formality of introduction. Any man may ask any girl to dance, or speak to anybody at a private party. This in no way extends to public gatherings, where the guarantee of supposed equality, which results from the fact of knowing the same host, does not exist. But in drawing-rooms the rule is absolute; everybody may talk to everybody. This is an intelligent and most practical custom; it facilitates conversation, is dispels all awkwardness towards your neighbor, it melts cold in a house were you do not now a soul, it gives a look of warmth and unity to a room.”
~ Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine July 1872

via History In Pictures @HistoryInPics  48-shot revolver from 1855
The kind of gun I imagine the Pcklemen might carry.



Random Things of Interest

  • Noted that there’s Professor Lefoux back-story in Blameless pg. 182, 190 
  • Preshea Buss’s name… “Frances Mary Buss was the founder in 1850 of North London Collegiate School for girls, one of the earliest girls’ schools to focus on academic attainment.” ~ The Victorian House by Judith Flanders
  • Yes, Monique is based on a real person/people I knew in high school. Yes, I really didn’t like her. Apparently, she’s also a really bad whist partner. If you want my research and thoughts on Girls Bullying Girls you should listen to Dave and I talk about the movie Mean Girls over on Pop Culture Case Study
  • Yes, I always intended to have Sophronia and Monique work together. Part of growing up is learning to function around people you dislike. In other words, the great and fateful… suck it up moment. 
  • Parasol Protectorate readers: did you recognize a briefly introduced pansy-eyed blonde, one of the last ever students at Finishing School? 

{Gail’s monthly read along for November is Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1870 Umbrella brooch shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

cgmfindings-      art nouveau octopus brooch     
Louis Aucoc      Paris 1900     
gold, diamonds, rubies, pearls, and plique à jour enamel

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
5 Octopus Articles!

  1. Solitary Octopuses’ Strong Statements
  2.  The Octopus Can See With Its Skin
  3.  Amazing Facts About the Octopus
  4.  Octopus Genome Offers Insight into One of Ocean’s Cleverest Oddballs & Octopus Genome Reveals Seat Creature’s Secrets 
  5. Zoo Seeks New Puzzles for Intelligent Octopus Ursula

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
“Word Hoard” and the Pitfalls of Dialogue Authenticity


  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Out now!
  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working third draft. Available for pre-order in the US publication date is not reliable.

Gail Carriger’s Books! 

 The Finishing School Series (1850s ~ completed)
1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies,
3 Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny

The Parasol Protectorate Series (1870s ~ completed)
1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless

 The Custard Protocol Series (1890s ~ ongoing)
 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence

Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels (1870s)
 $0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister’s Song; Fairy Debt;

Book News:
MK of Popcorn Reads says of the Finishing School series: “This series is making this Gail Carriger fan very happy. All of the fun elements from the Parasol Protectorate with a fresh new sbu-world within that world.”

Quote of the Day:
“Very good,” I said coldly. “In that case, tinkerty tonk.” And I meant it to sting.
~ Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

Gail’s fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
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No Responses

  1. Lattemama said:

    I loved these extras. Thank you. I did miss the blonde (only means I'll have to reread it) but I liked the other connection(s) with the Parasol books. Excellent finish to the series!

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