Afternoon Tea

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Afternoon tea was a low-key occasion on which everyone could come together. It lacked the formality of dinner and was an ideal way to introduce new friends or potential suitors to a family group, without the nerve-racking test of a full meal. It was usually consumed sitting down on sofas or chairs, with handy side tables for placing cups and saucers, and it lent itself easily to semiprivate conversation, as large groups typically broke down into smaller gatherings. At Downton, the Dowager Countess frequently uses the calm, intimate atmosphere of afternoon tea to give out advice, especially to the women of the family.

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