Celebrating St Patricks with an opal hush


“Who is for opal hush?” she cried, and all, except the American girl and the picture dealer, who preferred whisky, declared their throats were dry for nothing else. Wondering what the strange-named drink might be, I too asked for opal hush, and she read the puzzlement on my face. “You make it like this,” she said, and squirted lemonade from a siphon into a glass of red claret, so that a beautiful amethystine foam rose shimmering to the brim. “The Irish poets over in Dublin called it so; and once, so they say, they went all round the town, and asked at every public-house for two tall cymbals and an opal hush. They did not get what they wanted very easily, and I do not know what a tall cymbal may be. But this is the opal hush.” It was very good, and as I drank I thought of those Irish poets, whose verses had meant much to me, and sipped the stuff with reverence as if it had been nectar from Olympus. – Arthur Ransome, Bohemia in London, 1907


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