The Tea Party Cure

"When Miss Briggs was tired she was cross and you could tell, usually, that when she was cross she was tired- she knew it , and her neighbours knew it. On the cross-tired days she got sick of "humans".  Then she locked the front door and pulled down the blinds and lighted the gas ring and - had a cup of tea. Not indoors- no; she and the next-door dog, who didn't irk her because he got cross-tired  too, (and showed it), went into the slip of a garden at the back. There in the shade of the tree, Miss Briggs set an easy chair for herself, another, rather easier, chair for Snip and a small table.

She took her best crochet-edged linen tea cloth, and her second best teapot, and the tea-cup that Grandfather left her in his will, and the plate she had bought for ninepence at the jumble-sale because it had roses all over it (not the jumble-sale, but the plate!). Snip had his company-dish with "Here's to your good appetite" on it's rim. A bit of real home-made jam and some sweet biscuits and a knobby loaf and a don't-think-of-its-price sized piece of butter.

Then Miss Briggs flung "humans" and cares behind her, picked some flowers and grouped them on the table, and with Snip sighing restfully opposite began her tea party cure.

She ate buttered bread and lots of jam, and drank a freshly soaked strong cup of tea. And Snip had puppy biscuits, with three sweet ones broken up and scattered about the others- to give him a festive feeling.

And when the lines about her forehead were smoothing out and her feet were rested, and the corners of her mouth were lifting a little, she knew the cure was working. So did Snip. And he stretched himself, put his paws on her lap, said "With your consent?" and jumped up. With a flop he curled around and put his nose on her knee. Miss Briggs crocheted and nodded and nodded and crocheted, and Snip sighed contentedly between ten-minute naps.

By the end of a couple of hours they were rest cured and ready to face their worlds again."

Lillian Gard. 1921