High Tea & 4 O'Clock

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sells all kinds of Teas, the finest included, extraordinarily cheap, because they buy by the cargo. Parties clubbing together, each one subscribing for the number of pounds and kinds he wants, as he would for a newspaper or a magazine, save from thirty to forty cents on a pound. Each parcel is marked with the subscriber's name and all sent in one package to the person who sends the order, and a complimentary package to him for his trouble, when the money sent is over thirty dollars.
...Peterson's, pg. 478, December, 1868.

The afternoon tea is now a recognized institution. Less formal and expensive than a New York afternoon reception, it answers the same purpose of a final object and rest for the day's visiting. In some instances it continues through the season; in others invitations are given for a single occasion only. You go, if invited, in spruce morning dress, with as much or as little display of train and bonnet as may suit with your views. You find a cheerful and broken-up assemblage--people conversing in twos, or at most in threes. And here is the Very Reverend the Dean. And here is the Catholic Archbishop, renowned for the rank and number of his proselytes. And here is Sir Charles--not he of the hunting-whip and breeches, but one renowned in science, and making a practical as well as a theoretical approximation to the antiquity of man. And here is Sir Samuel, who has finally discovered those parent lakes of the Nile, which have been among the lost arts of geography for so many centuries. In this society no man sees or shows a full-length portrait. A word is given, a phrase exchanged, and 'tout est dit.' What it all may amount to must be made out in another book than mine. Well, having been more or less introduced, you take a cup of tea, with the option of bread-and-butter, or a fragment of sponge-cake. Having finished this, you vanish; you have shown yourself, reported yourself; more was not expected of you.


Anthology of Tea: High Tea, Wedding Tea, Home Tea, 5 o'Clock Tea &c. and some entertaining history and social portrayals; collected tea magazine articles and book chapters from 1835 to 1924. 77 e-pages, © 1999-2007, Merrymeeting Archives LLC.

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1999 R. Goff