The hearth fire seems especially snug and the teakettle whistles merrily. I actually don't think a teakettle should whistle right out loud - I always jump at the piercing note - but that is the modern way of telling me the water is exactly boiling. And tea must be made with freshly boiling water, in a freshly scalded teapot. We like ours steeped not quite four minutes, strong and comforting.
Very, very thin-sliced bread and butter is the best accompaniment for tea. For company, however, we may have a sugary teacake fresh from the oven or cinnamon toast bubbly with butter and cinnamon - or tiny hot thumb-size biscuits spread with white-clover honey.
Conversation at teatime should be tranquil, I think. Not the time for world problems or controversial issues, but a time to rest the spirit, remember pleasant things. Everyone needs such a time, and tea goes well with it.
-- Gladys Taber, Stillmeadow Daybook