Saturday, February 4, 2017

Etiquette, Engagement Traditions

We usually find that a young lady's spinster friends are partial to the custom; they seem to find particular enjoyment in presenting her with dainty tea-cups, either separately or in sets.


There is an old tradition regarding the giving of tea-cups as an engagement present. A lover, who was obliged to go away on an extended sea journey, gave to his betrothed a delicate china cup, asking her to drink tea from it every afternoon. He said, "If I am unfaithful, the cup will fill to overbrimming and the tea pouring over the sides will crack the thin china. Then you will know I have broken faith."

The custom has been brought down to us, and now we find that the giving of a tea-cup or a tea-set as an engagement present signifies faithfulness—and it may mean faithfulness to friendship or love as the case may be. We usually find that a young lady's spinster friends are partial to the custom; they seem to find particular enjoyment in presenting her with dainty tea-cups, either separately or in sets. — Lillian Eichler, 1921

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