Sunday, 27 January 2013

The ceremony known as afternoon tea

In this feature I'll collect everything that concernes tea and books, which means books about tea, or just pages or quotes about tea I found during my readings. I thought to share them because it's hard to not jumping for joy when I see joined two of my biggest passion, tea and books! :)
I've been ispired by the feature tè letterario (literary tea) by Una Stanza Tutta Per (il) Tè [This blog's name is an untranslatable pun about Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own italian translation. It is Una stanza tutta per , with the word , that means tea, instead of "sé".]

In questa rubrica raccoglierò tutti che riguardano tè elibti, il che significa libri sul tè, o solo pagine e citazioni sul te che ho trovato nelle mie letture. Ho pensato di condividerli perché è difficile non saltare di gioia quando vedo unite due delle mie più grandi passioni, il tè e i libri! :)
Sono stata ispirata dalla rubrica tè letterario di Una Stanza Tutta Per (il) Tè.

Since I started collecting tea quotes, I pay much more attention when this beverage shows up inside a book I'm reading. In in this novel it happens a lot! There is even a character, little Pansy, who has a truly devotion for the afternoon tea!
The text I choose to share is the beginning of the novel: a wonderful incipit all about tea!

Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. There are circumstances in which, whether you partake of the tea or not - some people of course never do, - the situation is in itself delightful. Those that I have in mind in beginning to unfold this simple history offered an admirable setting to an innocent pastime. The implements of the little feast had been disposed upon the lawn of an old English country-house, in what I should call the perfect middle of a splendid summer afternoon. Part of the afternoon had waned, but much of it was left, and what was left was of the finest and rarest quality. Real dusk would not arrive for many hours; but the flood of summer light had begun to ebb, the air had grown mellow, the shadows were long upon the smooth, dense turf. They lengthened slowly, however, and the scene expressed that sense of leisure still to come which is perhaps the chief source of one's enjoyment of such a scene at such an hour. From five o'clock to eight is on certain occasions a little eternity; but on such an occasion as this the interval could be only an eternity of pleasure. The persons concerned in it were taking their pleasure quietly, and they were not of the sex which is supposed to furnish the regular votaries of the ceremony I have mentioned. The shadows on the perfect lawn were straight and angular; they were the shadows of an old man sitting in a deep wicker-chair near the low table on which the tea had been served, and of two younger men strolling to and fro, in desultory talk, in front of him. The old man had his cup in his hand; it was an unusually large cup, of a different pattern from the rest of the set and painted in brilliant colours. He disposed of its contents with much circumspection, holding it for a long time close to his chin, with his face turned to the house.

— How's your tea?
— Well, it's rather hot.
— That's intended to be a merit.
Ralph Touchett and his father

from The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

HERE my review about this book (regardless of tea), only in italian, sorry!

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