Recently I discovered the website of an interesting tea shop in Salem, Massachusetts.
I ordered a sampler of teas called The Best of Salem. The teas are Grand Turk, Hawthorne, King Derby and Sophia Blend. Each of these teas has a connection to Salem and more specifically Nathaniel Hawthorne.
In an earlier post I wrote about the Sophia Blend tea, and will write two more posts after this one about the other two.
Here the Hawthorne tea is in the brewing process. I chose to use my Tuesday tea towel even though I didn’t try the tea on a Tuesday. This is because how Nathaniel and Sophia met and fell in love is such a great story. I did not tell the story in the post about the Sophia blend, so will give a short version of it here.
After graduating from college Nathaniel Hawthorne withdrew from society and spent time reading and writing in his family home for about 12 years. He read hundreds of books and started writing. He would leave home to take long solitary walks and would go for long periods without even seeing his family as they would leave meals for him outside his room.
In 1837 his writing that had started to appear in magazines was noticed by Elizabeth Peabody and she made a visit to his house to visit his sister Elizabeth. The writing did not give a full name and Elizabeth thought that perhaps it was by his sister. However, in talking to Louisa Hawthorne she found out that it was by Nathaniel.
Not long after this Nathaniel sent a copy of his Twice-Told Tales that had just been published to Elizabeth.
Nathaniel and his sister also made a visit to the Peabody house. Elizabeth was alone, but ran upstairs to fetch Sophia. Unfortunately she had a headache and had gone to bed. Elizabeth tried to convince her to come see Mr. Hawthorne by saying “He is as handsome as Lord Byron.” However, Sophia was not persuaded to come down and said “If he has come once, he will come again.”
Elizabeth did talk about Sophia during the visit and Nathaniel was intrigued.
There was of course another visit, and this time Sophia came down to meet Nathaniel. She was wearing a beautiful white gown and when they met they were speechless. It is said that they fell in love with each other at first sight.
However, it took another five years for them to finally get married after a long secret romance and engagement. Nathaniel was 38 and Sophia was 32 when they finally married in 1842.
There is more to the story, but my mind wanders too much as I ponder how an extreme introvert like Nathaniel opened himself up to Sophia.
So, back to the tea.
There is only a hint of bergamot in the black tea and not as much as the Sophia blend. The black tea has a nice smooth finish and a pleasing taste. I may try it with milk and sugar as it might make a good breakfast tea.
I will write about some of the books of Nathaniel Hawthorne in the posts about Grand Turk and King Derby as they are inspired by his writing.