Saturday, March 6, 2010

'A hardened and shameless tea-drinker'

"[I am] a hardened and shameless tea-drinker, who has, for twenty years, diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant; whose kettle has scarcely to cool; who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and, with tea, welcomes the morning."
— Samuel Johnson

He wasn't kidding. According to James Boswell's biography of the wise and clever Johnson, "No person ever enjoyed with more relish the infusion of that fragrant leaf than Johnson. The quantities which he drank of it at all hours were so great, that his nerves must have been uncommonly strong."

The painter Joshua Reynolds once saw Johnson drink 11 cups — in one evening — and remarked on it. Johnson got defensive: "Sir, I did not count your glasses of wine, why should you number up my cups of tea?"

(via a reader)

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