THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY
by Henry James
Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more
agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon
tea. There are circumstances in which, whether you partake of the
tea or not- some people of course never do- the situation is in itself
delightful. Those that I have in mind in beginning to unfold this
simple history offered an admirable setting to an innocent pastime.
The implements of the little feast had been disposed upon the lawn
of an old English country-house, in what I should call the perfect
middle of a splendid summer afternoon. Part of the afternoon had
waned, but much of it was left, and what was left was of the finest
and rarest quality. Real dusk would not arrive for many hours; but the
flood of summer light had begun to ebb, the air had grown me . . .