A Gypsy Tea Out of Doors

A Gypsy tea is the occasion of entertainment of young men by young women, wherein the young men have nothing to do but come and be treated just as hospitably and courteously as is possible. The girls must do all the hard work, all the planning, all the inviting and bear all the responsibilities of every kind. Twelve or more girls meet and appoint committees to attend to the necessary arrangements -- one committee to select a picnic ground, another to invite the young gentlemen whom they desire to attend, another to arrange for the music, and another to get the refreshments. All the other committees work under the directions of the committee on arrangements. A Gypsy tea always begins at twilight. The girls who are to select the picnic ground must exercise much judgment in deciding on a convenient and picturesque location, and as dancing is always an attractive feature of such an outing, they should see that there is a suitable pavilion nearby. Then there must be a spot well adapted for a campfire, for a Gypsy tea would never be a success without a campfire burning in the twilight. Other essentials are a kettle and tripod.

Three rough poles are made to form a tripod and the kettle is suspended from the vertex of the angles or the crossing point of the poles. Music, in which string instruments figure most conspicuously, should be selected, as this lends itself best to the wierd effect which should be sought. Three or four pieces will generally be sufficient and they may consist of a violin, guitar, banjo and snare drum or the drum may be omitted if not convenient. The committee appointed to gather the refreshments must have the assistance of all the other women of the club, for its work is very arduous and necessitates great care and precaution and good judgment. Each girl must subscribe something to eat, and care should be taken that all the girls do not contribute cakes, pies and pickles. Get plenty of cold meats, sandwiches and you might have some nuts of some kind or sweet potatoes or raw eggs or something to roast in the campfire. In a Gypsy tea the young women must all go to the grounds by themselves, unattended by the men and the men are to arrive in a body later; they have previously been informed of the exact location and hour when they will be expected.

The young women should all wear Gypsy costumes and one must be a fortune teller or good at pretending that she can tell fortunes. If suitable arrangements can be made for their reaching the grounds without appearing too conspicuous they may wear the Gypsy costumes as outer garments en route. Otherwise each girl can slip on something easily divested, over the Gypsy dress and remove it at the picnic grounds before the young men arrive, donning it again before time to start home.

Arrangements should be made for a vehicle to make the round of all the girl's homes on the day of the Gypsy tea to gather up the refreshments and take them to the picnic ground previously selected.

On the day of the outing all the girls gather at an appointed place and go together to the grounds by such means of transportation as they deem best suited to the conditions. The vehicle containing the refreshments and other needful appendages may follow.

On reaching the grounds the girls all get busy making the preparations and getting everything in excellent condition for the arrival of the boys. The tripods are arranged, the kettle is hung, the campfire is built, and the grounds are made to look artistic.

When the men arrive just at the hour of sundown, everything is in readiness. The fire is burning brightly, the fortune teller is at her post, the kettle is steaming and the refreshments are spread on tablecloths laid on the grass. Then the tea is made and each man enjoys a dainty but toothsome repast.

After tea the baskets and equipments are replaced in the wagon and the grounds cleared. The remainder of the evening may be spent in dancing, fortune telling and the like.

Telling Fortunes by Teagrounds.

First, the one whose fortune is to be told should drink a little of the tea while it is hot, and then turn out the rest,
being careful not to turn out the grounds in doing so, and also not to look at them, as it is bad luck.
Then she must turn the cup over, so that no water remains, for drops of water in the teagrounds signify tears.
Next, she must turn the cup around slowly toward her three times, wishing the wish of her heart as she turns it.
After this she must rest it a minute against the edge of a saucer - to court luck.
Then the fortune-teller takes it and reads the fortune.
Three small dots in a row stand for the wish.
If near the top it will soon be realized.
If at the bottom some time will elapse.
If the grounds are bunched together it signifies that all will be well with the fortune-seeker,
but if they are scattered it means much the reverse.
A small speck near the top is a letter.
A large speck, a photograph, or present of some kind, either one depending on the shape of the speck.
The sticks are people -- light or dark, short or tall, according to their color and length.
A small one means a child.
A thick one, a woman.
If they lie crosswise they are enemiec.
If straight up, intimate friends, or pleasant acquaintances to be made.
If a large speck is near them, it means they are coming for a visit, bringing a valise or trunk.
If there is a bottle shape near a stick it means a physician.
If a book shape, a minister or lawyer.
If many fine specks, a married man.
The sticks with a bunch of grounds on their backs are bearers of bad news, or they will "say things" about you.
A long line of grounds with no openings between foretells a journey by water.
If openings, by rail.
A large ring, closed, means an offer of marriage to an unmarried woman.
To a married one, it means a fortunate undertaking.
To a man, success in business.
A small ring is an invitation.
Dust-like grounds bunched together at the bottom or side are a sum of money.
A triangle signifies good luck, so does an anchor or a horseshoe.
A half moon or star to married people means a paying investment.
To unmarried, a new lover or sweetheart.
A pyramid is extremely lucky.
A square or oblong, new lands.
Flowers, a present.
Leaves, sickness and death.
Fruit of any kind, health.
A hand, warning, if the fingers are spread.
If closed, an offer of friendship or marriage.
A cross signifies trouble.
Any musical instrument, a wedding.
Bird, suit at law.
Cat, deception.
Dog, faithful friend.
Horse, important news.
Snake, an enemy.
Turtle, long life.
Rabbit, luck.
House, offer of marriage, or a removal.
Flag, some surprise or a journey to another country.
A heart is the most propitious sign of all, as it means happiness, fidelity, long life, health and wealth.

Breakfasts and Teas; Novel Suggestions for Social Occasions. Compiled by Paul Pierce