The Quote Garden ™
I dig old books. ™
Quotations about Tea
The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured cosiness. ~P.G. Wodehouse, "The Code of the Woosters," 1938
So I says "My dear if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head I should better understand your affairs." And we had the tea and the affairs too... ~Charles Dickens, "Mrs. Lirriper Relates How She Went On, and Went Over," Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy, 1864
The most trying hours in life are between 4 o'clock and the evening meal. A cup of tea at this time adds a lot of comfort and happiness. ~Royal S. Copeland, "Tea Drinking Not Harmful," 1925
If afternoon teas had started in the Oligocene Epoch, instead of the seventeenth century, we are convinced that evolution, far from discarding that useful appendage, the tail, would have perfected it. A little hand would have evolved at the end of it — such a one as might hold his saucer, while a gentleman sips from his teacup. ~Contributors' Club, The Atlantic Monthly, October 1917
The effect the apparition had on me was to make me start violently, and we all know what happens when you start violently while holding a full cup of tea. The contents of mine flew through the air and came to rest on the trousers of Aubrey Upjohn, M.A., moistening them to no little extent. Indeed, it would scarcely be distorting the facts to say that he was now not so much wearing trousers as wearing tea. ~P.G. Wodehouse, How Right You Are, Jeeves, 1960
This morning's tea makes yesterday distant. ~Author unknown
I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea-lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water. ~George Orwell, "A Nice Cup of Tea," 1946
[T]ea should be strong... I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than 20 weak ones. All true tea-lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes... ~George Orwell, "A Nice Cup of Tea," 1946
He'd never in his life been so hungry and tired. What wouldn't he give for a simple mug of tea and a humble fried egg sandwich? ~Jacqueline Kelly, Return to the Willows
A cup of tea is a cup of peace. ~Soshitsu Sen XV, as quoted by Kenneth S. Cohen
It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs. We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions. After eggs and bacon, it says, "Work!" After beefsteak and porter, it says, "Sleep!" After a cup of tea (two spoonsful for each cup, and don't let it stand more than three minutes), it says to the brain, "Now, rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature and into life; spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!" ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), 1889
Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage. ~Okakura Kakuzō
Water is the mother of tea, a teapot its father, and fire the teacher. ~Chinese proverb
How I like tea? — Strong enough to paint a door with. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885
...Mr. Hanway endeavours to show, that the consumption of tea is injurious to the interest of our country.... he is to expect little justice from the author of this extract, a hardened and shameless tea drinker, who has for twenty years diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant, whose kettle has scarcely time to cool, who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and with tea welcomes the morning. ~Samuel Johnson, 1757
Ha, ha, ha: love and scandal are the best sweetners of tea. ~Henry Fielding, "Love in Several Masques," 1727 (Lady Matchless)
"While I've no gold," he whispered,
"Love's riches shall be thine,
Though we, in a modest cottage,
On bread and water dine."
"With love's warm flame to serve us,
At slight expense," said she,
"We can make of bread and water
Sweet feasts of toast and tea."
~The Tattler in Town Topics, reprinted in The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1903 April 20th
Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea. ~Maela Moore, Celestial Seasonings mug, 1990s
Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? how did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea. I can drink any quantity when I have not tasted wine; otherwise I am haunted by blue-devils by day, and dragons by night. ~Sydney Smith, quoted in A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith: Volume I by his daughter Lady Saba Holland with A Selection From His Letters edited by Mrs. Austin, 1855
My hour for tea is half-past five, and my buttered toast waits for nobody. ~Wilkie Collins, "Mrs. Catherick's Narrative," The Woman in White, 1860
In vino Veritas. In Aqua satietas. In... What is the Latin for Tea? What! Is there no Latin word for Tea? Upon my soul, if I had known that I would have let the vulgar stuff alone. ~Hilaire Belloc, "On Tea," 1908
You have a Milton; but it is pleasanter to eat one's own peas out of one's own garden, than to buy them by the peck at Covent Garden; and a book reads the better, which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots and dog's-ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins, or over a pipe, which I think is the maximum. ~Charles Lamb, letter to S.T. Coleridge, 11 October 1802
...A pure wind envelopes my body.
The whole world seen in a single cup.
~Kokan (Zen priest, 1278-1346), quoted in The Japanese Way of Tea by Sen Sōshitsu XV, translated by V. Dixon Morris
Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn't try it on. ~Billy Connolly
You can't get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~C. S. Lewis, as quoted by Walter Hooper
[Tea] is a beverage which not only quenches thirst, but dissipates sorrow. ~Chang loo, c.828
Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. ~Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady, 1880
...a land of sheltered homes and warm firesides — firesides that were waiting — waiting, for the bubbling kettle and the fragrant breath of tea. ~Agnes Repplier, To Think of Tea!
Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things. ~Saki (H.H. Munro), "Tea"
The heartbreak of finding an empty teacup when you thought there was one gulp to go. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish, Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013, verybritishproblems.com
One of the shining moments of my day is that when, having returned a little weary from an afternoon walk, I exchange boots for slippers, out-of-doors coat for easy, familiar, shabby jacket, and, in my deep, soft-elbowed chair, await the tea-tray.... [H]ow delicious is the soft yet penetrating odour which floats into my study, with the appearance of the teapot!... What a glow does it bring after a walk in chilly rain! ~George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, 1903
Perhaps it is while drinking tea that I most of all enjoy the sense of leisure. ~George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, 1903
In nothing is the English genius for domesticity more notably declared than in the institution of this festival—almost one may call it so—of afternoon tea. Beneath simple roofs, the hour of tea has something in it of sacred; for it marks the end of domestic work and worry, the beginning of restful, sociable evening. The mere chink of cups and saucers tunes the mind to happy repose. ~George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, 1903
If she speaks, it will only be a pleasant word or two; should she have anything important to say, the moment will be after tea, not before it; this she knows by instinct. ~George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, 1903 (of the housekeeper bringing the tea-tray)
The return from the walk, and the arrival of tea, should be exactly coincident, and not later than a quarter past four. ~C. S. Lewis
"Tea" to the English is really just a picnic indoors. ~Alice Walker, The Color Purple, 1982
His condition shocked her, needless to say, but she had that brand of pragmatism that would find her the first brewing tea after Armageddon, and within an hour she'd taken it in her stride. ~Clive Barker, Weaveworld, 1987
The Muse's friend, Tea, does our fancy aid;
Repress those vapors which the head invade;
And keeps that palace of the soul serene....
~Edmund Waller, "Of Tea"
Indeed, madam, your ladyship is very sparing of your tea: I protest, the last I took was no more than water bewitch'd. ~Jonathan Swift
We had a kettle: we let it leak:
Our not repairing it made it worse.
We haven't had any tea for a week....
The bottom is out of the Universe!
~Rudyard Kipling, "Natural Theology"
I, my own damn self, am not a Tea Party supporter. I disagree with them on social liberties, our overseas wars, Obama's birthplace, Sarah Palin, and the conspicuous absence of tea at their rallies. ~Penn Jillette, God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales
In the country! Oh, in the country I always fear that creation will expire before tea-time. ~Sydney Smith
Tea! Thou soft, thou sober, sage, and venerable Liquid, thou innocent Pretence for bringing the Wicked of both Sexes together in a Morning; thou Female Tongue-running, Smile-smoothing, Heart-opening, Wink-tippling Cordial, to whose glorious Insipidity I owe the happiest Moment of my Life, let me fall prostrate thus, and s—p, s—p, s—p, thus adore thee. ~Colley Cibber, The Lady's Last Stake, 1707
Tea should be taken in solitude... ~C. S. Lewis
Its proper use is to amuse the idle, and relax the studious, and dilute the full meals of those who cannot use exercise, and will not use abstinence. ~Samuel Johnson, "Review of 'A Journal of Eight Days Journey...' by Mr. Hanway," 1757
The outsider may indeed wonder at this seeming much ado about nothing. What a tempest in a tea-cup! he will say. But when we consider how small after all the cup of human enjoyment is, how soon overflowed with tears, how easily drained to the dregs in our quenchless thirst for infinity, we shall not blame ourselves for making so much of the tea-cup. ~Okakura Kakuzō
In the worship of Bacchus, we have sacrificed too freely.... Why not consecrate ourselves to the queen of the Camelias, and revel in the warm stream of sympathy that flows from her altar? In the liquid amber within the ivory-porcelain, the initiated may touch the sweet reticence of Confucius... ~Okakura Kakuzō
Discovering you've missed your tea's perfect drinking temperature by a fraction of a second. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish, Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013, verybritishproblems.com
Today I'd like to sit and sip,
Forget about the world a bit,
Ignore the things I have to do,
And just enjoy a cup or two.
Pausing a moment, Mrs. Wilkins looked musingly at the steam of the tea‑kettle, as if through its silvery haze she saw her early home again. ~Louisa May Alcott, "A Cure for Despair," Work: A Story of Experience, 1873
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
~William Cowper, "The Winter Evening"
I put up a petition, annually, for as much snow, hail, frost, or storm of one kind or other, as the skies can possibly afford. Surely everybody is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a winter fireside—candles at four o'clock, warm hearth-rugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies on the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without. Most of these delicacies cannot be ripened without weather stormy or inclement. Start at the first week of November: thence to the end of January, you may compute the period when happiness is in season,—which, in my judgment, enters the room with the tea-tray. For tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities, or are become so from wine-drinking, and are not susceptible of influence from so refined a stimulant, will always be the favourite beverage of the intellectual; and, for my part, I would have joined Dr. Samuel Johnson against any impious person who should have presumed to disparage it. ~Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, slightly altered
Tea brings Time to a crawl, its frantic pace resuming on noticing our empty cups. ~Terri Guillemets, "Tea Time," 1994
To part her time 'twixt reading and bohea,
To muse, and spill her solitary tea,
Or o'er cold coffee trifle with the spoon,
Count the slow Clock, and dine exact at noon...
~Alexander Pope (1688–1744), "Epistle to Miss Blount, On Her Leaving the Town after the Coronation" [Bohea is a type of tea. The coronation is that of King George the first, 1715. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Anne.... was so pale and tragic at breakfast next morning that Marilla was alarmed and insisted on making her a cup of scorching ginger tea. Anne sipped it patiently, although she could not imagine what good ginger tea would do. Had it been some magic brew, potent to confer age and experience, Anne would have swallowed a quart of it without flinching. ~Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Tea is a cup of life. ~Author unknown
The first sip of tea is always the best... you cringe as it burns the back of your throat, knowing you just had the hottest carpe-diem portion. ~Terri Guillemets
Dear Madam your Tea is exceedingly Fine,
I had rather drink Tea, than the finest of Wine.
~Jane Russell Johnson (1706–1759), from Jane Johnson's Manuscript Nursery Library, Set 17, Item 8 [Johnson, J. mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana]
Accepting a cup of tea when you're in a hurry, resulting in hundreds of tiny, excruciatingly painful, rapid-fire sips. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish, Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013, verybritishproblems.com
Tea: a moment of peace from the constant battles of life. ~Terri Guillemets
Harry found the hot drink... seemed to burn away a little of the fear fluttering in his chest. ~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 2007
[L]et me beseech you to resolve to free yourselves from the slavery of the tea and coffee and other slop-kettle, if, unhappily, you have been bred up in such slavery.... I pretend not to be a "doctor"; but, I assert, that to pour regularly, every day, a pint or two of warm liquid matter down the throat, whether under the name of tea, coffee, soup, grog, or whatever else, is greatly injurious to health. ~William Cobbett (1762–1835), Advice to Young Men, and (Incidentally) to Young Women, in the Middle and Higher Ranks of Life. In a Series of Letters, Addressed to a Youth, a Bachelor, a Lover, a Husband, a Citizen or a Subject, 1829
The perfect temperature for tea is two degrees hotter than just right. ~Terri Guillemets
I declare,... a man who wishes to make his way in life could do nothing better than go through the world with a boiling tea-kettle in his hand. ~Sydney Smith, quoted in A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith: Volume I by his daughter Lady Saba Holland with A Selection From His Letters edited by Mrs. Austin, 1855
Tea purifies spirit, removes anxiety and nervousness, brings ease and comfort, and is conducive to meditation. ~Author unknown
Tea — a way to the moment. ~Terri Guillemets, 2019, blackout poetry created from Holly Chamberlin, Summer Memories, 2014, page 4
Enjoy simple things with total intensity.
Just a cup of tea can be a deep meditation.
Every time I drink hot tea I suddenly feel very sophisticated and I subconsciously begin to gravitate toward a British accent. ~Keith Wynn, @ravens_rhapsody
let go of the past
— the rotting past
forget, and make tea
— just stop thinking
~Terri Guillemets, "Forget & make tea," 2019, blackout poetry created from Holly Chamberlin, Summer Memories, 2014, page 4
Now for tea there's Perrywinkles
And some Butterwort and Sedge,
House-leeks and Bird's-nest-binkles,
With some Sundew from the hedge,
There is Sorrel, Balsam, Mallow,
Some Milk Wort and Mare's Tail too,
With some Borage and some Sallow,
Figworts and Violets blue.
~S.J. Adair Fitz-Gerald (1859–1925), The Zankiwank & The Bletherwitch, 1896
Ugh, it's like licking the bottom of a lawn mower. ~Mike & Molly, "Fish for Breakfast," 2013, teleplay by Al Higgins and Carla Filisha [S3, E11, Mike] [about herbal tea —tg]
Tea time — a brief recess from dodging life's blowdarts. ~Terri Guillemets
Our camp-kettle, filled from the brook, hummed doubtfully for a while, then busily bubbled under the sidelong glare of the flames—cups clinked and rattled—the fragrant steam ascended; and soon this little circlet in the wilderness grew warm and genial as my lady's drawing-room. ~Alexander William Kinglake
tea is comforting because
it brings us down to earth—
water, leaves, warmth
it is earth, imbibed
Janet began to cry drearily. But Anne brewed her a hot drink of ginger tea to her comforting. To be sure, Anne discovered later on that she had used white pepper instead of ginger; but Janet never knew the difference. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915
England, a fortune-telling host,
As num'rous as the Stars, could boast
Matrons, who toss the Cup, and see
The grounds of Fate in grounds of Tea...
~Charles Churchill (1731–1764), The Ghost
Tea is a magical calming elixir — kind of like if coffee had a therapist. ~Terri Guillemets
Paint me a room. Make it populous with books; and, furthermore, paint me a good fire. And near the fire paint me a tea-table; and place only two cups and saucers on the tea-tray; and, if you know how to paint such a thing, symbolically or otherwise, paint me an eternal teapot—eternal a parte ante, and a parte post; for I usually drink tea from eight o'clock at night to four in the morning. And, as it is very unpleasant to make tea, or to pour it out for one's-self, paint me a lovely young woman sitting at the table. ~Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater [a little altered —tg]
Once tea has passed from hot to lukewarm, it's just limp water. ~Terri Guillemets, "Interruptions," 2005
Never concentrating so hard than when manoeuvring a full cup of tea whilst lying down. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish, Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013, verybritishproblems.com
Mrs. Harker gave us a cup of tea, and I can honestly say that, for the first time since I have lived in it, this old house seemed like home. ~Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897
It was a scandal —
drunk on chamomile tea,
the fairy went wicked.
~Terri Guillemets, "Chamomile," 2018, blackout poetry created from Danielle Steel, Fairy Tale, 2017, pages 208–209
A true warrior, like tea, shows his strength in hot water. ~Chinese proverb
Remember the tea kettle, although it is up to its neck in hot water it keeps on singing. ~Author unknown, first printed in 1914 anonymously as "Optimism is a cheerful frame of mind which enables a tea kettle to whistle and sing although it is up to its neck in hot water all the time," above differently worded version later made popular in the early 1930s by Szczepau Anton "Tony" Wons (1891-1965)
O' peppermint tea —
two delights per sip
as steamy hot as passion
cool as a wintry lake dip
~Terri Guillemets, "Getting Boulder," 2003
You can get a lot of extra mileage out of a grandmother if you let her have a cup of tea. ~Pam Brown, quoted in An Illustrated Grandmother's Notebook, 1990, helenexley.com
A man may take his toast and tea,
His comfy cup and chat,
And, if his blood runs red, still be
A man for all of that.
There's old Jim B., on marmalade
And tea and toast he's able
To call a spade a blooming spade
And hammer on the table.
Red-blooded men will fight their way
No matter what their tipple;
The infant, Hercules, they say,
Slew snakes still at the nipple.
No kick red liquor has to lend
Compares with orange pekoe:
So, let the old soaks snicker, friend,
And tank up at the tea co.
~Chicago Daily News, reprinted in The Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, August 1926
My life flows through the veins of a tea leaf. ~Terri Guillemets, "Celestial grounding," 2003
...Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?
~Rupert Brooke, "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester," 1912
With tea, one is always in company, even when taken alone. ~Terri Guillemets
The man breathed in deeply — of rosebuds and mint, of sunny meadows and salty cliffs, of streams in no hurry and the sound of bagpipes. Here were the wildings of spring and summer and fall, mingling with each other, no longer flowers but tea. ~Ethel Pochocki (1925–2010), Wildflower Tea, 1993
They sipped and shared next to a teapot of whistling wishes and steaming dreams. ~Terri Guillemets
The full Moon throws startling patches of silver across the dimly lighted kitchen walls as I sip my peppermint tea. ~David J. Beard (1947–2016), tweet, 2009 March 12th
The overwhelming sorrow of finding a cup of tea you forgot about. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish, Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013, verybritishproblems.com
A crisis pauses during tea. ~Terri Guillemets
So of all the particulars of health and exercise, and fit nutriment, and tonics. Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims, "Inspiration"
Sipping a cup of hot tea is like a mental bubble bath. ~Terri Guillemets
When the news reporter said "Shopkeepers are opening their doors bringing out blankets and cups of tea" I just smiled. It's like yes. That's Britain for you. Tea solves everything. You're a bit cold? Tea. Your boyfriend has just left you? Tea. You've just been told you've got cancer? Tea. Coordinated terrorist attack on the transport network bringing the city to a grinding halt? Tea dammit! And if it's really serious, they may bring out the coffee. The Americans have their alert raised to red, we break out the coffee. That's for situations more serious than this of course. Like another England penalty shoot-out. ~Jslayeruk, as posted on Metaquotes Livejournal, in response to the July 2005 London subway bombings
pour a rainbow from a teapot—
drink of happiness and love
warmth, calmness, and peace—
breathing deep misty dreams
...Tea, although an Oriental,
Is a gentleman at least;
Cocoa is a cad and coward,
Cocoa is a vulgar beast...
~G.K. Chesterton, The Flying Inn, 1914
Tea is the symbol of and antidote to civilization. ~Terri Guillemets
If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. ~Japanese proverb
Whilst drinking tea, our hearts steam love. ~Terri Guillemets
Everywhere you go, on edges of chairs and window-sills, and piazza-rails and billiard-tables, you see cigars that have been only a little bit smoked; it is dreadful. The proprietor ought to have them ground up and used for English breakfast tea; people would never know the difference. ~Joe Perkins
rainy evening dilemma:
chamomile or earl grey
Tea patches heartbreak, sip by sip. ~Terri Guillemets
When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in it in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad; and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over, and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries. ~Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
Tea elevates our minds so that we can see our problems from a distance — through the fine mists of contemplation. ~Terri Guillemets
Come, Ladies, stuff in
Tea, toast, and muffin...
~Peter Pindar, "A Trip from Mortlake to Epsom Races and Back Again" [Pseudonym of John Wolcot (1738–1819). —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
There is a fine art in choosing the food that shall be served with afternoon tea. Although the true lover of the cup concedes that no sort of blunder can wholly destroy his exaltation, yet he admits that his joys may be inexpressibly enhanced by a wise discrimination in what is set before him.
Of muffins and tea we have heard much, and who is there to deny the succulent ecstasy thereof? Toast, well buttered and even jammed or marmaladed, has, too, its own unassailable propriety when taken with The Beverage. Of all kindred dishes one needs not much to speak. No voice can justly be raised against them; yet they are of the tea-room, the dining room... not of the drawing-room, where one holds his cup and chats, refills, and chats again.
Anyone who serves wafers with tea is lacking in gastronomic imagination. Drinking tea and eating a wafer is like having a picnic in the wood-shed, or wearing an Easter hat with goloshes. It is a hueless compromise where there might be a vivid delight. Many otherwise excellent hostesses fail to perceive the relation between afternoon tea and its edible accompaniments. They will serve you a hard obstinate biscuit that you break, red-faced, on the rim of your saucer, sending as likely as not, your cup bouncing over the other edge, and your tea splashing into your neighbor's lap; or they generously provide you with a huge, gelatinous cube of cake that adheres to your saucer, and renders you temporarily web-fingered, the while you attempt to formulate an epigram on Henry James, or discourse glibly as to why women like men. There is yet another type of hostess who passes with your tea a dribbling sandwich, oozing salad-dressing at every pore and containing, half concealed, a malicious, indivisible lettuce leaf. People who thus fail of maintaining the fitness of things at the tea-hour have no genuine appreciation of the drink which they dispense.
A friend of mine divides the human race into two classes, — those who eat 'Nabiscos' with tea, and those who do not. For myself, I see nothing invidious in a liking for the frail, tasteless little slabs; they are neat and innocent to the eye, they leave no sticky crumbs, and they create no havoc with white kid gloves. If they are a trifle lacking in distinction, why, so are no end of estimable articles and persons in the world. I should, however, be inclined to place more stress upon a taste for caraway cookies. To me, a caraway cooky is a delectable tid-bit, losing nothing if eaten by itself, but gaining incalculably if nibbled with afternoon tea. Those who do not regard it with joy puzzle me a little, I confess. In what spirit, I ask sadly, do they look upon existence, if a caraway cooky fails to stimulate within them a pious gratitude for the privilege of living?
Some of the Chinese dainties are not bad... The flat rice-cookies derive their interest from the temples and grottoes and running streams cameoed palely upon their discs. One eats them gingerly, conscious of the fact that he is sweeping away a country-side at a bite, and demolishing a whole landscape at one crunch of the teeth. They are, after all, ephemeral insipidities, quite incapable of pleasing the palate, though they may afford a moment's languid pleasure to the eye. There are, too, the Chinese cakes that come in blocks, like a quart of brick ice-cream, and peel off in layers, after the manner of a writing tablet... These dainties are anæmic confections enough, that tease the tongue and distract the mind, but make not for that beatific blending of sense and spirit which is the consummate prerogative of afternoon tea.
The discerning tea-drinker finds nothing, perhaps, more appropriate to his mood than some variety of the old-fashioned pound cake. It has a delicate persuasiveness of its own when it appears upon the drawing-room horizon — smooth, golden, firm yet melting, topped with a deep brown crust, and scattered through with red sultanas or translucent pairings of citron. Pound-cake in slices not too thick, piled upon a jade-colored Sedgi plate or one of blue-and-white Canton is a little hill of gold ingots, more seductive than Spanish bullion because less evanescent in its blessings. Still more satisfying to the demands of the occasion is the light sponge-cake baked with a rose geranium leaf in the bottom of the tin, — enchanting stuff, exhaling an aroma that puts it with the foods of high romance — not the dull substantials of every-day existence. And who would ask for substantials at afternoon tea? It is not a meal but a rite...
It is fitting, then, that one select with judicious finger the viands that one spreads before her guests when the tea-cup circulates... For with perfect harmony the gods are pleased, and thus in their beneficence they slip a gracious charm into all the recurring monotonies of human life. ~Anonymous, "The Philosophy of Tea-Cakes," The Contributors' Club, The Atlantic Monthly, August 1913
Top off the tea... it lubricates the grey matter. ~Good Neighbors, quoted from stashtea.com
Tutting. — A tea-drinking for women, succeeded by stronger potations in company of the other sex, and ending in ribaldry and debauchery. So called only, I believe, in Lincoln; in other places in the country it is known as a bun-feast. ~Slang and its Analogues: A Dictionary of Heterodox Speech, John S. Farmer and W. E. Henley, 1890s [Wow. I guess that's a tea party! —tg]
Outside of a teapot life is but thousands of dusty affairs. ~Terri Guillemets
A gentleman remarkable for his fund of humor, wrote to a female relative the following couplet:—
How comes it, this delightful weather,
That U and I can't dine together?
To which she returned the following reply:—
My worthy friend, it cannot be;
U cannot come till after T.
~"Short-Hand Question and Answer," The Kaleidoscope; or, Literary and Scientific Mirror, 1823 February 17th
Tea is instant wisdom — just add water! ~Terri Guillemets, "Singing valerian," 1996
Tea is liquid wisdom. ~Terri Guillemets, "Mentality," 1996
published 2002 Mar 8
revised 2021 Jan 13
last saved 2022 Oct 9