The Little Tea Book by Arthur Gray was written at the beginning of the previous century. Witness for yourself with this excerpt the deep admiration given to tea, the musing and mulling generated by tea, along with the expressions and thoughts of the day back in 1903.
THE LITTLE TEA BOOK
Compiler of Over the Black Coffee
ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE W. HOOD
THE BAKER & TAYLOR COMPANY
33-37 EAST 17TH ST., UNION SQ. NORTH
COPYRIGHT, 1903, BY
THE BAKER & TAYLOR COMPANY
Published, October, 1903
The Crow Press, N.H.
“Thou soft, thou sober, sage, and venerable liquid! Thou innocent pretence for bringing the wicked of both sexes together in the morning! Thou female tongue-running, smile-soothing, heart-opening, wink-tipping cordial to whose glorious insipidity I owe the happiest moments of my life.”
INTRODUCING THE LITTLE TEA BOOK
After all, tea is the drink! Domestically and socially it is the beverage of the world. There may be those who will come forward with their figures to prove that other fruits of the soil–agriculturally and commercially–are more important. Perhaps they are right when quoting statistics. But what other product can compare with tea in the high regard in which it has always been held by writers whose standing in literature, and recognized good taste in other walks, cannot be questioned?
A glance through this book will show that the spirit of the tea beverage is one of peace, comfort, and refinement. As these qualities are all associated with the ways of women, it is to them, therefore–the real rulers of the world–that tea owes its prestige and vogue.
Further peeps through these pages prove this to be true; for nearly all the allusions and references to the beverage, by male writers, reveal the womanly influence that tea imparts. But this is not all. The side-lights of history, customs, manners, and modes of living which tea plays in the life of all nations will be found entertaining and instructive. Linked with the fine feminine atmosphere which pervades the drinking of the beverage everywhere, a leaf which can combine so much deserves, at least, a little human hearing for its long list of virtues; for its peaceful walks, talks, tales, tattle, frills, and fancies which go to make up this tribute to “the cup that cheers but not inebriates.”
By FRANCIS SALTUS SALTUS
From what enchanted Eden came thy leaves
That hide such subtle spirits of perfume?
Did eyes preadamite first see the bloom,
Luscious nepenthe of the soul that grieves?
By thee the tired and torpid mind conceives
Fairer than roses brightening life’s gloom,
Thy protean charm can every form assume
And turn December nights to April eves.
Thy amber-tinted drops bring back to me
Fantastic shapes of great Mongolian towers,
Emblazoned banners, and the booming gong;
I hear the sound of feast and revelry,
And smell, far sweeter than the sweetest flowers,
The kiosks of Pekin, fragrant of Oolong!
More to follow from 1903 in my next post; I hope you’ve enjoyed observing tea as it was experienced and revered well over a hundred years ago.