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Best known for his witty, ingenious novels, Ronald Firbank began his literary apprenticeship as a writer of short stories. In his writings he cultivated a style which, through his use of dialogue and concentration of language and image, is considered today to be quite innovative. One of his most popular novels, "The Flower Beneath the Foot" begins: Neither her Gaudiness, the Mistress of the Robes, or her Dreaminess, the Queen were feeling quite themselves. In the Palace all was speculation. Would they be able to attend the Fetes in honour of King Jotifa, and Queen Thleeanouhee of the Land of Dates - court opinion seemed largely divided. Countess Medusa Rappa, a woman easily disturbable, was prepared to wager what the Countess of Tolga liked (she knew), that another week would find the court shivering beneath the vaulted domes of the Summer-Palace.