Susan asked:

I notice Justine has just bought our Mistress of Ceremonies a Fountain of Youth. I am tempted to try one myself, but – yes, I’ll bite – what is a Fountain of Youth?

The reply came:

You cannot bite it, dear Susan, you must drink it. The Fountain of Youth owes its name to a Trentish song entitled “The Babes in the Wood”, which tells the story of two destitute blonde orphans in the wood, who were rescued and given all sorts of delightful things such as:

Too many cars, too many clothes,
Too many parties and too many beaux.

[Textual critics surmise that beau is a synonym for a brunette] until in the end:

The whole town agreed
That the last word in speed
Was the two little babes in the wood.

Well, on their way to this fate-better-than-death, the babes make an historic discovery which is crystallised for posterity in the immortal lines:

And they found that the Fountain of Youth
Was a mixture of gin and vermouth.

And so it is. The blonde versh involves equal parts of gin, vermouth and sugar syrup, ’cause blondes like them sweet. Incidentally, the text, you will note, seems to imply a rather odd pronunciation of the word vermouth. I don’t know how you pettes pronounce it, but here in Yvyanne it is generally pronounced VARm’th (with the accent on the first silly).

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