Because It’s May

“Do we by any chance know a beverage called May Queen? Its full name is ‘Tomorrow’ll be of all the year the maddest, merriest day, for I’m to be Queen of the May, mother, I’m to be Queen of the May.’ A clumsy title, generally shortened for purposes of ordinary conversation. Its foundation is any good, dry champagne, to which is added liqueur brandy, armagnac, kummel, yellow chartreuse and old stout, to taste. It is a good many years since I tried it myself, but I can thoroughly recommend it to alleviate the deepest despondency.”

— The Earl of Ickenham a.k.a. Uncle Fred, in Uncle Fred in the Springtime (1939) by P.G. Wodehouse. “May Queen” takes its name from “The May Queen,” a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Write Up

“Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth… Children are game for anything. I throw them hard words, and they backhand them over the net.”

— E.B. White, quoted in Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White (2016) by Melissa Sweet

Bill of Fare

“There is every kind of restaurant in London, from the restaurant which makes you fancy you are in Paris to the restaurant which makes you wish you were. There are palaces in Piccadilly, quaint lethal chambers in Soho, and strange food factories in Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road. There are restaurants that specialize in ptomaine, and restaurants which specialize in sinister vegetable-messes. But there is only one Simpson’s.”

— From Something Fresh (1915) by P.G. Wodehouse


“I am eighty-four years old. You will understand, therefore, that in an emergency of this sort I am compelled to use my brain and other people’s energies to protect myself and my household. I must also guard against such emotions as anger, grief or excitement which I have not now the strength to support.”

— Caroline Faraday speaking to Albert Campion in Police at the Funeral (1931) by Margery Allingham


“Would I choose so again? Well, now that is a question. I will only say that if I have acquired any wisdom from Big Kit, it is to live always with your eyes cast forward, to seek what will be, for the path behind can never be retaken.”

— From Washington Black (2018) by Esi Edugyan