How to be Idle (book #21)

Tom Hodgkinson, 2004.

He quotes Cobbett on tea-drinking:

I view the tea-drinking as a destroyer of health, an enfeebler of the frame, an engenderer of effeminacy and laziness, a debuacher of youth, and a maker of misery for old age … [from it] succeeds a softness, an effeminacy, a seeking for the fire-side, a lurking in the bed, and, in short, all the characteristics of idleness

I like Proper Moments for Drinking Tea. Hodgkinson describes this as a poem, by the sixteenth-century writer Hsü Ts’eshu, but this article implies that it is a list of conditions rather than a poem (the section about it is near the end of the page). Other sites imply that the original text may not now exist, just that quoted by the twentieth-century populariser of Chinese literature, Lin Yutang.

Here are the list of conditions in which tea should not be drunk:

At work.
Watching a play.
Opening letters.
During big rain and snow.
At a long wine feast with a big party.
Going through documents.
On busy days.

Hodgkinson also quotes what must be an early twentieth-century writer (he doesn’t give references) on bank holidays at the seaside:

one indiscriminate moving mass of cabs, cars, carts and carriages;
horses, ponies, dogs, donkies, and boys;
men, women, children, and nurses;
the least and the biggest – babies and bathing machines …
little boys with spades;
nurses with babies;
mammas with sewing;
young ladies with novels;
young gentlemen with Byron, canes and eye-glasses;
older ones with newspapers, sticks and spectacles.

(Originally in prose format.) I’d like to know what the novels were.


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