On, In and Around Mondays: Eating Breakfast with Jane Austen
Sun reflects off autumn walls, glints on the golden rim of my teacup.
We are in the dining room for breakfast.
I am drinking rooibos tea. My girls are drinking green. We are eating bagels and reading Tea with Jane Austen.
Ours is a rich person's English breakfast. At least in Victorian times. The working class would have had meat on the table, and beer. Tea was a privilege. Jane Austen was the family keeper of theirs. She held the keys to its locked cupboard; after all, tea was expensive.
Drinking my rooibos, and the girls their green, it is hard to imagine the need to lock up our morning drink. It is hard to imagine that the expense of tea drove the English to empty their coffers until the country experienced a trade deficit. It is hard to believe that the government's solution was to offer opium to China, to try to settle the economic score.
Tea. It seems so innocent, here in the dining room for breakfast, and on the pages of Jane Austen's novels.
We laugh at the quotes about Mr. Woodhouse (from Emma) and Arthur Parker (from the unfinished novel, Sandition). Parker, hoping to impress a woman, shares, "I reckon myself a very good Toaster; I never burn my Toasts— I never put them too near the Fire at first—& yet, you see, there is not a Corner but what is well browned."
My littlest daughter decides we must toast our toast this way, come winter. We have a fireplace. She wants to drink tea, and dress up Victorian, and sip from painted porcelain cups. What does she know of China, and economics, of opium and locked cupboards. What does she know of tea. Except that we are drinking it in an autumn dining room, with the sun shining off golden rims.
Tea With Jane Austen photo, by L.L. Barkat.
On, In and Around Mondays (which partly means you can post any day and still add a link) is an invitation to write from where you are. Tell us what is on, in, around (over, under, near, by...) you. Feel free to write any which way... compose a tight poem or just ramble for a few paragraphs. But we should feel a sense of place.
Would you like to try? Write something 'in place' and add your link below. If you could kindly link back here when you post, it will create a central meeting place. :)