"Polly, put the kettle on, and we '11 all take Tea."
Of all "cups that cheer," there is nothing like the smoking-hot cup of tea, made with boiling water, in a thoroughly scalded tea-pot. Put into the pot the required amount of tea, pour over it boiling water, cover the tea-pot so that no steam may escape, and allow the tea to stand and infuse for seven minutes, when it should be poured at once into the cups. If allowed to infuse longer than this time, which is sufficient to draw out the strength of the leaf, the tannin is developed, which gives an acrid, bitter taste, and being a powerful astringent, is destructive to the coating of the stomach. To insure "keeping hot" while serving, in a different tea-pot from that in which the tea is made, the simple contrivance known as the "bonnet" is warranted a sure preventive against that most insipid of all drinks - a warmish cup of tea. It is merely a sack, with a loose gathering-tape in the bottom, large enough to cover and encircle the tea-pot, with a small opening to fit the spout, and a slit through which the handle will be exposed. Make it with odd pieces of silk, satin or cashmere, lined, quilted or embroidered; draw this over the tea-pot as soon as the tea is poured into it; draw up the gathering-string tightly at the bottom, and the tea will remain piping hot for half an hour. One tea-spoon of tea and one tea-cup of hot water is the usual allowance for each person. Freshly boiled soft water is the best for either tea or coffee. Always have a water-pot of hot water on the waiter with which to weaken each cup if desired. Tea should never boil. The most elegant mode of serving tea is from the tea-urn, various forms and designs of which are made in silver and plated ware. The best tea-pot is that which retains heat longest, and this is a bright metal one, as it radiates the least heat, but the metal must be kept bright and polished. Serve both tea and coffee with the best and richest cream, but in the absence of this luxury, a tolerable substitute is prepared as follows: Take fresh, new milk, set in a pan or pail in boiling water where it will slowly simmer, but not boil or reach the boiling point, stir frequently to keep the cream from separating and rising to the top, and allow to simmer until it is rich, thick and creamy. In absence of both cream and milk, the white of an egg beaten to a froth, with a small bit of butter well mixed with it, may be used. In pouring coffee, it must be turned on gradually so as not to curdle it.