Addio, e grazie per tutto il pesce

Lontano, nei dimenticati spazi non segnati sulle carte geografiche del limite estremo e poco à la page della Spirale Ovest della Galassia, c’è un piccolo e insignificante sole giallo.
A orbitare intorno a esso alla distanza di circa centoquarantanove milioni di chilometri c’è un piccolo, trascurabilissimo pianeta verdazzurro le cui forme di vita, discendenti dalle scimmie, sono così incredibilmente primitive da credere ancora che gli orologi digitali siano una brillante invenzione.
[incipit]

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Defying Gravity: The ceremony known as afternoon tea

Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. There are circumstances in which, whether you partake of the tea or not – some people of course never do, – the situation is in itself delightful. Those that I have in mind in beginning to unfold this simple history offered an admirable setting to an innocent pastime. The implements of the little feast had been disposed upon the lawn of an old English country-house, in what I should call the perfect middle of a splendid summer afternoon. Part of the afternoon had waned, but much of it was left, and what was left was of the finest and rarest quality. Real dusk would not arrive for many hours; but the flood of summer light had begun to ebb, the air had grown mellow, the shadows were long upon the smooth, dense turf. They lengthened slowly, however, and the scene expressed that sense of leisure still to come which is perhaps the chief source of one’s enjoyment of such a scene at such an hour. From five o’clock to eight is on certain occasions a little eternity; but on such an occasion as this the interval could be only an eternity of pleasure. The persons concerned in it were taking their pleasure quietly, and they were not of the sex which is supposed to furnish the regular votaries of the ceremony I have mentioned. The shadows on the perfect lawn were straight and angular; they were the shadows of an old man sitting in a deep wicker-chair near the low table on which the tea had been served, and of two younger men strolling to and fro, in desultory talk, in front of him. The old man had his cup in his hand; it was an unusually large cup, of a different pattern from the rest of the set and painted in brilliant colours. He disposed of its contents with much circumspection, holding it for a long time close to his chin, with his face turned to the house.

— How’s your tea?
— Well, it’s rather hot.
— That’s intended to be a merit.
Ralph Touchett and his father

from The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

Sorgente: Defying Gravity: The ceremony known as afternoon tea

Downton Abbey, stagione 1

Carson: Ho inteso che la maggior parte delle signore è stata salvata in tempo.
Lord Grantham: Intendi le signore in prima classe. Dio aiuti i poveri diavoli sui ponti inferiori.
[A proposito del Titanic]

Cora: Gradite restare a pranzo?
Violet: Grazie.
Cora: Informo Carson.
Violet: Gliel’ho già detto io.

Violet: Ma [Mary] sarà assennata nel suo giudizio?
Robert: Nessuno è assennato a quell’età e neanche deve esserlo. Quello è il nostro ruolo.

Mia nonna diceva sempre che un tè zuccherato è miracoloso per i nervi logori. Ma perché debba essere zuccherato, non lo saprei dire.
Lady Violet

Quale sarebbe lo scopo della vita se non le permettessimo di cambiarci?
Carson

Per questo non c’è soluzione. Non possiamo fare in modo che venga assassinato. Credo.
Lady Violet

Se non dovesse farlo dovremmo portarla all’estero. Si riesce sempre a trovare un italiano che non sia tropo schizzinoso.
Lady Violet<

Sybil: Nonna, come sei romantica!
Lady Violet: Mi hanno chiamata in molti modi, ma mai così.

Rosamund: Mi conoscete, mamma. Io devo dire quello che penso.
Lady Violet: Perché? Nessun altro lo fa.