Emilie Loring didn’t celebrate her birthdays, but that didn’t mean she denied herself an annual birthday wish.
“I make myself a present on a book’s birthday to square never celebrating my own.”Beckoning Trails
As she figuratively blew out the candle on a book’s birthday cake, what did she wish for? Emilie loved books, of course, but I don’t see her wishing for one, unless it were a special edition. Her characters give us a hint of where her imagination might go with candles alight before her.
“That smitten salesman of yours at Tiffany’s told me before I left New York that he was on the trail of the Alexandrite ring you’d been wanting. It belonged to one of the late royalties. He says that it is a wonder, beautifully set and only two thousand dollars! You’d better write him about it. Of course he can’t hold it indefinitely.”
Evidently Peg didn’t know the terms of Nicholas Fairfax’s will or she wouldn’t have been surprised at her lack of enthusiasm about the Alexandrite. Two thousand dollars! It seemed a more stupendous sum than twenty thousand would have seemed to her a year ago.The Trail of Conflict
Alexandrites’ charm is their changing color: green in sunlight, red in lamplight (or today, in incandescent light). They are also more expensive than diamonds.
Tiffany’s in New York cornered the market on Alexandrites and stoked desire for the rare gems. We’ve seen Emilie at Tiffany’s before. Remember Beth Gilbert’s yellow diamond? (See it in An Elusive Legacy: My Dearest Love)
Maine’s gemstone, tourmaline, can sometimes change colors like Alexandrite. Discovered in 1821, one year after Maine became a state and also one year after Stone House was built, its usual shades range from emerald green to a deep watermelon pink. Emilie used both in Uncharted Seas.
cosmos, all mother-of-pearl or tourmaline pink
the green of emeralds and tourmalinesUncharted Seas
None of Emilie’s characters yearns for tourmalines, though. Instead, they wish for the more intense green of emeralds.
With pincers she laid a large emerald in the center of a ring design on white paper, placed small diamonds. She indicated spaces. “I want studding baguette diamonds there and there and a platinum setting. When I’ve made my fortune on the farm, I’ll make this ring for myself.”Hilltops Clear
Emilie loved fashion, and her characters sometimes wish for a special piece.
Janice watched the bargaining without a quickening of her pulses, only to stop with an ecstatic “Oh!” before the window of a Japanese shop in which was seductively draped a sumptuous mandarin coat of turquoise blue, lavishly embroidered with iris which ran the gamut of shades from pale orchid to deep amethyst.Lighted Windows
There was a flame-color frock in the shop window… It was net, glistening with opaline sequins, a honey of a dress…When Hearts Are Light Again
If not jewelry or fashion, Emilie Loring might have wished for another silver box for her birthday. She and her characters collected them–the more beautifully ornate, the better. Faith Jarvis (Across the Years) says that she used birthday money to buy some of hers, and since Emilie had so many, maybe that was one of the gifts she gave herself on the birthday of a book.
Harder to wrap but still a wish of Emilie’s was modern, interior design. Emilie thought a lot about design, and just as she insisted on her fashion being up-to-date, she wanted her surroundings to express modern design, too.
“Modern” meant art deco for most of Emilie’s writing career, the perfect style for a woman who appreciated glamour, luxury, and rich color. On her wish list was a gleaming, mauve and silver powder room. Jean Randolph is surprised with one in Swift Water. It is so much the opposite of what we imagine inside the author’s rugged Stone House.
Jewels, fashion, interior design… These are presents, after all, not the work of life.
“Did you travel up from the Cape with a wardrobe trunk concealed about your person?”
“‘The feel of Paris.’ Like them?”
“The clothes? Mad about them.”
She was conscious of a guilty accession of color. “These are not clothes. The frock and hat are a mammoth coffee tricolater. The electric ice-cream freezer–plus a few much needed kitchen utensils–completes the ensemble.” His laugh brought her eyes to his.
“And it was only a short time ago you were wondering if you would forget how to spend money!”
“Ladies must dress. Then you are not shocked?”
“Shocked! My dear girl, I am inexpressibly relieved to find you so human. I had begun to fear that you were all saint and sacrifice.”Fair Tomorrow
That’s a nice reminder in difficult times. It’s okay to be human and indulge a little wish now and then.
Happy birthday, Emilie Loring, and Happy Landings, everyone!