Sunday, 11 December 2011

'Surely a pretty woman never looks prettier than when making tea. The most feminine and most domestic of all occupations imparts a magic harmony to her every movement, a witchery to her every glance. The floating mists from the boiling liquid in which she infuses the soothing herbs, whose secrets are known to her alone, envelop her in a cloud of scented vapour, through which she seems a social fairy, weaving potent spells with Gunpowder and Bohea. At the tea-table she reigns omnipotent, unapproachable. What do men know of the mysterious beverage? (Lady Audley's Secret)

Fast forward 150 years and this particular social fairy is sitting here with her Yorkshire teabag still swimming in a mug that only got rinsed under the tap after the last brew. (I know I'm common, but I do like it good and strong. And constantly flowing.)

'It's all women's work from one end to the other. He marries a woman, and his father casts him off penniless and professionless. He hears of the woman's death and he breaks his heart - his good, honest, manly heart, worth a million of the treacheous lumps of self-interest and mercenary calculation which beat in women's breasts. He goes to a woman's house and is never seen alive again ... And - and then,' mused Mr Audley, rather irreverently, 'there's Alicia, too; she's another nuisance. She'd like me to marry her, I know: and she'll make me do it, I dare say, before she's done with me. But I'd much rather not; though she is a dear, bouncing, generous thing, bless her poor little heart.'

Bless my heart, I think I need another cup of tea ...

9 comments:

Eggs on the Roof said...

There's no such thing as a cup of tea too hot or too strong to drink, if you ask me. My children say I need to go to tea rehab, because I drink so many cups of super-strong PG Tips. I don't think I would have done well as a floaty character in Lady Audley's Secret, but I'd have made a perfect washerwoman in Bleak House.

mary said...

That's about my level, too, Charlie! This is one house where you will never, ever be offered green tea ... an abomination!

rachel said...

Sheesh, you're READING this???? It would drive me to strong drink.

Toffeeapple said...

Good grief, I'm glad they don't make men like that any more. I like Yorkshire tea too, the stronger the better though I hate the mess a teabag makes in a mug so I make tea in a teapot and use a large bone china mug to drink it from.

mary said...

Rachel, it's quite tongue-in-cheek. After all, it was written by a woman!

Toffeeapple, that sounds much more refined.

Noelle said...

I have always wonder at this all too sacred tea ritual capable of staving any anxiety and even holding off, if only for a little while, battles in times of war for example...
I use to detest its taste yet with age I have mellowed perhaps and thus, find myself reaching for a cuppa often...I like it lighter myself and prefered it in a delicate china cup with saucer...all to help me in times of dire stress or any other day...
As for the all Briton/ex-RAF fly boy in the famly, tea is to be brewed in a large pot and consummed throughout the day...
Yes Mary, I am drinking as I write...
Blessings to you and yours during this Holiday Season!

Cait O'Connor said...

Reading this post has made me fancy a strong cuppa right now. Hope you are enjoying Sebastian Barry......

mary said...

Thank you, Noelle. And all best wishes to you, too.

I'm with your RAF man. I think it has to be brewed in a pot to stave off a battle!

mary said...

Oh Cait, Sebastian Barry looks like being one of the best books that I've read all year. I know I won't - no self-discipline - but I want to ration it and read it slowly to make it last. And it's making me want to read A Long Long Way again.