“Tea is really a very underrated meal you know.”
“She is, she is, most decidedly she is!”
“Requires so much more attention than breaky-fasts or lunchy-ons.”
“Oh indubitably my dearest chaps, without a doubt, indeedy deed.”
Having sat Alice in a very comfortable chair at the tea table Hatter was now involved in a deep discussion about the comparative values of various meals and their importance in the Empires rise and possible fall. His discussion partner was a rather large bucktoothed hare with a pair of pince-nez very precariously positioned on the tip of his long and very refined nose.
“I was having this very discussion with the White Rabbit just earlier. You do know the White Rabbit?”
“Well naturally I do, both from his undisputed position as chancellor of everything and of course as a distantly related cousin oft removed.”
“A relative eh?”
Hatter looked Hare up and down quizzically.
“Are you absolutely sure about that Hare? Seems a bit of a stretch don’t you think?”
“We is both of the long eared variety!”
Hare seemed a little insulted by Hatters questioning of the matter.
“Alice is related to the Queen you know!”
Hatter shot the bolt at the Hare with some viciousness.
“I really am not!”
Alice felt it was important to make such a point considering the Queens voracity for beheadings. Not a trait she wished connected with her kin.
“Well on Hares logic you must be.”
Hatter chortled loudly at the very vague point he had made whilst checking the kettles temperature diligently.
“Alice prefers Indian you know!”
Hare was brushing cake crumbs from his splendid Prince of Wales checkered waistcoat in an effort to remain aloof and undisturbed by the Hatters constant pecking.
“Hardly my concern, she is a child after all, quite an insignificant child by the looks.”
“But related to the Queen.”
“An elephant in Acton is better than a rhinoceros in the kush.”
“You must excuse the Hare Alice; he tends to blurt out such things when put in a tight spot.”
“You can’t make a sporran out of porridge.”
Alice probably should have just ignored the craziness but felt compelled to comment.
“That does seem a rather obvious statement to put in a colloquialism.”
“You can take a team to Cambridge, but you cannot make them row.”
The mention of rowing perked Alice up no end. Next week would be the very event of the year, the University boat race.
“I favor the dark blues myself.”
Hare was momentarily foxed. His nose twitched incessantly, and his eyes crossed so hard they seemed to almost meet.
“Hare humbugged by Miss Alice, what a glorious day indeed.”
“Two is a conversation, three an audience.”
The last rather clever interruption seemed to originate from somewhere behind a rather splendid china teapot emblazoned with a crest of arms that seemed somewhat familiar to Alice.
“That’s the Queens Teapot!”
Whomever or whatever was replying had the most irritating misunderstanding of how verbal interaction was supposed to go.
I know that coat of arms. That’s the Lion and the Unicorn.”
The remarks continued to fly from behind the fat bellied teapot without a breath.
“You have to excuse the Dormouse. He’s Merican you know.”
Yes, a Columnist.”
“You mean a colonist?”
“No he definitely writes columns. In the New York Times I believe.”
“Do stop it Dormouse. Gets a little annoying after an hour or so.”
Hare took the lid off the large potbellied teapot and proceeded to attempt to stuff the poor Dormouse inside.
“Do stop that Hare, will spoil the tea leaves enthusing properly.”
“You mean infusing.”
“I mean what I say and I say what I mean.”
“The Hatter is a stickler for vocabulary my dear. Never uses one word when he can use another!”
Hare seemed terribly pleased with his point and absentmindedly put Dormouse in the sugar bowl.
“Mericans don’t drink tea you know.”
“Yes we do.”
“They drink coffee. Foul stuff, made out of beans before the tomato sauce is added.”
Alice was so enjoying the conversation; international relations was a favorite subject of hers.
“We drink lots of tea.”
“Mixed with sea water.”
Both Hare and the Hatter almost fell of their chairs laughing. The uproar caused Hare to spill some tea on the linen cloth.
“Dirty place setting.”
Both the Hatter and Hare rose quickly from their places and moved one chair to the left. Not wishing to seem uncultured Alice followed suit. The Dormouse simply remained in the sugar bowl his small head nestled between two cubes.
“Plain cake or lemon cake?”
“Oh lemon cake please Hare.”
“All gone sorry.”
Alice found this a little rude.
“Why offer me some if you haven’t got any?”
“Would have been worse not to offer you some if I did.”
The Hatter applauded Hares wit.
“I don’t like plain cake.”
“Thank heavens we don’t have any of that either. Such a waste it would have been to go all the way to the market just for you to refuse to eat any.”
“I am beginning to think you are quite mad.”
“Well he is the March Hare you know, he do tend to be angry.”
The Hatter obviously thought Alices remark completely unnecessary.
“No not angry, mad.”
“Same difference. You would be mad if your coat suddenly changed from white to brown with no warning and no time to coordinate your wardrobe.”
Hare patted Hatter on the back soundly for his unequalled support.
“Raspberry with white tea, Chai Green tea, Ginger Peach Green tea, Licorice Spice herbal tea, Cinnamon Apple chamomile tea. Moroccan Mint tea.”
The Dormouse was reciting type after type of American tea as if reading off of some merchants advertising broadsheet.
“Mango Passionfruit Herbal tea, White Peach Wuyi Oolong Tea, Organic lavender Tulsi, Red White and Blueberry tea, Peppermint t…..”
The Hare and the Hatter had the poor Dormouse held between them and were spreading butter over his fur from chin to knee.
“What are you doing to the poor creature?”
“Nothing at all.”
The butter was quickly followed by a large helping of strawberry jam. Alice drank the last of her tea politely then excused herself from the table. Neither Hare nor Hatter seemed to notice being far too busy trying to talk the Dormouse into sitting on a toasting fork.
“I am going now.”
“Come back when its teatime why don’t you?”
Alice left th trio to sort out their differences and wandered back into the trees.
The derivation of tea is much at the heart of British society, surprisingly considering there is no such animal as British tea. Indian tea decidedly, China tea most definitely, even Ceylon tea on occasion, but British tea none. English breakfast tea is a thing of course, more because of time than geography.