Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management. Ward, Lock and Co., London 1861.
“In order to make good tea it is necessary that the water should be quite
boiling, but it must on no account be water that has boiled for some time,
or been previously boiled, cooled, and then re-boiled. It is a good plan to
empty the kettle and refill it with fresh cold water, and make the tea the
moment it reaches boiling point. Soft water makes the best tea, and boiling
softens the water, but after it has boiled for some time it again becomes
hard. When water is very hard a tiny pinch of carbonate of soda may be put
into the teapot with the tea, but it must be used very sparingly, otherwise
it may impart a very unpleasant taste to the beverage. Tea is better made in
an earthen than a metal pot. One good teaspoon of tea will be found
sufficient for two small cups, if made with boiling water and allowed to
stand 3 or 4 minutes: longer than this it should never be allowed to stand.
The delicate flavour of the tea may be preserved and injurious effects
avoided by pouring the tea, after it has stood 3 or 4 minutes, into a clean
teapot which has been previously heated.”
Lewis Carroll’s Mad Tea Party
‘Of course you don’t!’ the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. ‘I dare say you never even spoke to Time!’
‘Perhaps not,’ Alice cautiously replied: ‘but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.’
‘Ah! that accounts for it,’ said the Hatter. ‘He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o’clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you’d only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!’
(‘I only wish it was,’ the March Hare said to itself in a whisper.)
‘That would be grand, certainly,’ said Alice thoughtfully: ‘but then — I shouldn’t be hungry for it, you know.’
‘Not at first, perhaps,’ said the Hatter: ‘but you could keep it to half-past one as long as you liked.’
‘Is that the way you manage?’ Alice asked.
The Hatter shook his head mournfully. ‘Not I!’ he replied. ‘We quarrelled last March — just before he went mad, you know — ’ (pointing with his tea spoon at the March Hare,) ’ — it was at the great concert given by the Queen of Hearts, and I had to sing
"Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you're at!" You know the song, perhaps?' 'I've heard something like it,' said Alice. 'It goes on, you know,' the Hatter continued, 'in this way: — "Up above the world you fly, Like a tea-tray in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle — "'
Here the Dormouse shook itself, and began singing in its sleep ‘Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle, twinkle — ’ and went on so long that they had to pinch it to make it stop.
‘Well, I’d hardly finished the first verse,’ said the Hatter, ‘when the Queen jumped up and bawled out, “He’s murdering the time! Off with his head!”’
‘How dreadfully savage!’ exclaimed Alice.
‘And ever since that,’ the Hatter went on in a mournful tone, ‘he won’t do a thing I ask! It’s always six o’clock now.’
A bright idea came into Alice’s head. ‘Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here?’ she asked.
‘Yes, that’s it,’ said the Hatter with a sigh: ‘it’s always tea-time, and we’ve no time to wash the things between whiles.’
‘Then you keep moving round, I suppose?’ said Alice.
‘Exactly so,’ said the Hatter: ‘as the things get used up.’
‘But what happens when you come to the beginning again?’ Alice ventured to ask.
‘Suppose we change the subject,’ the March Hare interrupted, yawning. ‘I’m getting tired of this. I vote the young lady tells us a story.’
Original illustrations by Sir John Tenniel. From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. Video by Disney.