In her teashop that still reigns with the full splendour of ruffles and starch, Mrs. Prudy Murrell continues to charm a fortunate circle of customers with her elegant confectionaries.
As you step through the iron-lace door, your eyes convince you to expect style, Victorian service and no compromise to your romanticism. The deep wool carpet so richly woven in roses and golden leaves silently instructs you to speak in whispers. You look into the candlelight hue. Within is tranquillity for the senses – a time lapse between the jostling, rude today, and the fascination of a translucent yesteryear.
Glowing wood; silver spoons; round, mahogany pedestal tables draped with swan-white linen; dewdrop splashed nosegays in fairy crystal vials. An impressive display cabinet sighs with the scent of lavender oil and layers of beeswax. For over a hundred years the Murrell family, surviving an overflow of decades, has polished it.
How delightful is the rosebud menu. Your gloved finger underlines Cornish Teas, Mrs Murrell's version of scones with cream and jam. She loves the wild spirit of Cornwell, showing a fragment of the savage ocean in the glint of her amber eyes.
You relax into the velvet chair, your china-pink lips urging the delights on. Somewhere there are fragrances. Dreamily you gaze beyond the window and behold a lady's private garden. Pale stems tottering with heavy blossoms emit kisses of honey liqueur. An orchestra of bees tempts you to float through the floral fantasy. A full-fronted Mrs Murrell gently arranges your tea. She has a posy pinned to her organdie apron. Stirring from the lure of a sweet summer's afternoon, you sip grandly from Royal Albert teacups strewn with violets. Spider-web doilies cosset your swelling scones. Strawberry jam, a private recipe, shows hints of rose petals.
Slowly, you touch and taste. You will find no cheating here. The sugar sparkles; the scones are elfin circles; the butter proves itself on your fingers. While taking in tiny bites of scone, you identify some of the cakes in the cabinet… glistening Sticky Parkin, nutty Florentines, Bakewell Tart, maiden-like Madelines blushing with apricot jam. It seems as if a sprite has filled a flower horn with icing powder and blown a pearly dust over the display.
The porcelain plate is empty. The demure teapot pours no more. A faint breath releases when you click open your shell purse to pay. Mrs Murrell passes your change with grandmotherly hands.
"Perhaps you could call by next week in the crisp of the morning. I promise your eyes will brighten when you see Thursday’s Cherry Marzipans. "
Outside, the world embraces you with sunbeams as impish as the goblins you are sure peek at you from the rockery. One last look you say, pausing at the bluebell pickets. Your emotions begin to settle. How could anyone run such a business in today's market? It was like a vintage children's faerytale book. Everything was just right!
Graphics version here.
Esmerelda Jones. . . The Knitting Wench
Writer of desires
Writer of Old Curiosities
Victoriana, Victorian Swoon & Erotica, Gods & Goddesses: The Wisdom And Pleasures of Ancient Greece, Classic Romance, Poems For The Passionate, Bushrangers, Ghosts I Have Known. Ratings and comments delightfully accepted.