Mrs Patrick Campbell was one of the grandest of Britain’s grandes dames of the theatre. G.B. Shaw wrote the role of Eliza Dolittle in Pygmalion for her. A devoted dog lover, she brooked no interference or criticism about taking one or two of her pets everywhere with her. On one occasion, clutching her pet while exiting a London taxi, she was confronted by the irate driver who complained that her dog had ‘lost control’ and left a mess. Mrs Campbell drew herself up, looked him in the eye and said firmly ‘I did it’. She then swept away.
Posts by Max Cryer
Witches don’t like onions, so keeping one or two in the house is a good protection – but left whole, not peeled or cut.
However there is an ancient superstition that a peeled onion will ‘absorb’ germs, thus shortening the span of an illness by taking all the danger into itself and preventing others in the household from catching the affliction. Modern medical experts have advised that because something has been believed for a long time does not mean it is true, and the ‘cut onion’ information is not true and should be disregarded.
It’s doubtful that anyone ever said it in English before the end of the 17th century. The concept of ‘see not evil, ‘hear not evil’, ‘speak not evil’ related back to Confucius in China, several hundred years BC, and then travelled to Japan, where it was known for centuries as a moral maxim. By a trick of the Japanese language, the maxim eventually became known world-wide.
From Max Cryer’s CURIOUS English words and phrases – the truth behind the expressions we use:
(Out for a) duck
Cricket usually has a visual scoreboard and if a player leaves the field having made no runs, a great big zero stands next to his or her name on the scoreboard. A practice arose many years ago of referring to this zero – because of its shape- as a duck’s egg, and this was shortened to just a duck. So if he or she was out for a duck, it means there was no score.
Richard Wagner was devoted to his King Charles spaniel named Peps, who actually participated in his master’s composing.
Wagner’s biographer H.T. Finck records that Peps constantly sat near Wagner when the composer was at the piano. Sometimes Peps would leap on to the table and peer into Wagner’s face, howling piteously.
From Max Cryer‘s book ‘Is It True?’
The distress call ‘mayday’ is English for the French term m’aidez.
Using the word ‘mayday’ dates from 1923, when a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport was asked to think of an easily understood word which could indicate distress.