Lettuce Sandwiches Salted Almonds Olives Bonbons Cakes
When an afternoon tea gets to this stage it may still be called "a tea," but it has gone far beyond that, and has become a daytime reception. Even if the sun is shining outside there is usually artificial light in the rooms. The lamps are burning with a pleasant subdued light, there are candles with colored shades, the women who are receiving and presiding over the table are in full dress. The table itself is beautiful with china and cut glass and silver. Flowers are about everywhere, and except that the men are in morning dress and the women guests in street costume, it might be an evening party.
There is a reception held in the afternoon that is even more elaborate than this. When a woman wants to make signal some special "occasion," - to honor a guest, or perhaps because it is the only "crush" she gives in the year, - she often makes it a tea. For this the cards will be out ten days or more in advance and the refreshments provided are more elegant and numerous than those mentioned above. Such a collation might be as follows:
Cream Cheese Sandwiches
Olives or Pim-olas Salted Nuts Bonbons
Ices Frappe Cakes
Tea Coffee Chocolate Punch
The table is arranged for this as for the third tea mentioned, but there must be waiters in attendance, and they serve nearly everything. In most cases there is nothing done by the young women friends of the hostess who gather in the dining-room except entertain the guests and see that they have enough to eat. Once in a while, these young women may preside at the coffee-urn, or the chocolate, or teapot, but it is not a common occurrence.
The matter has been put into the hands of "the profession."
It is all very nice, and an excellent way to clear the debit side of one's social ledger, but the mind turns to the quiet afternoon tea-table with the hot tea under the cozy, the saucer of sliced lemon, the tiny flask of rum or the graceful cream jug, the sugar basin and plate of sandwiches, or bread and butter, with affection one never cherishes for the huge kettledrum.