I've been a bit under the weather the last few days — fighting off a cold, nothing that Dayquil wasn't specially engineered by NASA to handle (wait, am I thinking of TANG? Oh, well, they're both orange) — and have been casting about a bit to make sure that I meet or exceed my recommended daily allowance of happiness. (Happiness is even MORE effective than Dayquil in fighting cold symptoms. Have not yet done the head-to-head of happiness vs. TANG.)
Anyway, some things just WORK, happiness-wise. Like, David Tennant as Dr Who. Like, gratuitous, yet sensitive, use of the synthesizer. Like, imagining, even for ONE MINUTE, that at some point, your email inbox will be empty.
But, more than any of those things (although, depending on the episode, David Tennant as Dr Who is hard to beat) happiness is browsing random keywords on Google Book Search.
Look at this gem, found by looking for "famous" and "dresses":
From 1873 to 1887, especially in the last three years of that period, the adoption of European dress progressed rapidly amongst the upper classes. It had been made compulsory for officials when on duty in 1873, and had steadily gained ground amongst students, bankers, merchants, and others coming, more or less directly, under foreign influence.
The wave of German influence that swept over Japan from 1885 to 1887 carried the innovation to a still more dangerous point. The beautiful costume of the women of Japan so absolutely becoming to its wears that one can hardly imagine them clad in any other way, was threatened, and sad to relate, the ladies of the Court began to order dresses from—Paris? No—the pen almost refuses to chronicle the appalling fact—from Berlin! In the nick of time, the reaction against a Slavish imitation of Occidental customs unsuited to the country came to the rescue.
[from Japan as Seen and Described by Famous Writers, by Esther Singleton (1904).]
Did you get that "Slavish" imitation bit? I wish my pen would almost refuse to write when I try to make bad puns like that.
Anyway, if you're feeling a bit low, start playing with Google Book Search (for maximum enjoyment, I suggest limiting your search to "full text" books only — under "Advanced Search").
The picture here, by the way, comes from Fenwick's Career. If it makes you want to read the rest of the book, click on the image …
Oh, and a hearty Dress a Day welcome to our newest advertiser, over there on the right: Michelle Lee's Patterns from the Past! Go check out her site, if you will.