Monday, 26 September 2011

Margaret hoping and hoping

Have been in a contrary mood all day and while I was deliberating what I wanted to blog about, I happened upon Robert Godden's most recent post

Where there’s life, there’s Margaret’s Hope.

He calls Margaret's Hope a gateway drug...ok, he doesn't say drug, but it is in a way.  His point is that you can get this tea almost anywhere.  Even if one doesn't know much about Darjeeling, they can probably name this estate.  And once you've tried it and got accustomed to the taste of this Darjeeling, you'll be more likely to appreciate the subtleties of an even better one.  

I like the story he tells about the origin of the name.  I wrote about it when I was relatively early on my teablogging path, and still in the throes of said gateway drug. Here's what I had to say:

I've wondered more about this little tale, and I'm glad The_Devotea has reminded me of it.  There's been a lot of talk lately in my circle of tea obsessive friends about inexperienced/unknowledgeable teashop assistants.   Not just the way some of them are lacking the most rudimentary facts about tea, but that they're willing to recklessly make stuff up in order to sell more tea.

So I'm going to play the part of the completely dumfounded teashop assistant answering the question: Where does the name Margaret's Hope come from?

See, this is the story of a girl called Margaret, who desperately waits and waits to no avail.  She's says to herself, 'Why do I have to wait?'  But there's no answer.  No matter how often she asks or for how long she waits.

Many years go by and she gets so busy with her daily life that she forgets she's even waiting.  She enjoys the small joys in her life, as well as the big milestones.  Every once in a while she has a quiet moment where she remembers that gnawing feeling that used to be so strong.

But only after decades have passed and she's sitting quietly with her tea, does she look back and realise she's had her answer all along.  She'd hoped that she made a difference, but it was when she wasn't trying so hard that she had the most impact.

She'd tried to say the right things in her life, but it was when she said as little as possible and let her actions speak loudest that she was most effective.  

Margaret's Hope was that it had all meant something.  That it wasn't yet another story of yearning and reaching that was never resolved.

The customer looks at the teashop assistant and sighs.  'What on earth are you talking about?,' he asks.  'I just wanted to buy some tea.  I didn't want some metaphysical journey.  I thought it'd be some simple story.'

Yeah, ok.  Here's the real story:

The plantation owner had two daughters. One of them, Margaret, loved it there so much and hoped to one day return. Sadly, she died and the plantation owner was understandably devastated. To honour her, he named the plantation and the tea that was grown there after her and her dreams of returning to their land. To this day, Margaret's Hope tea is associated with high quality tea from Darjeeling.

'Perfect,' says the customer, 'I'll take that.'


  1. As I suspected, I am an inspiration to the global masses.

  2. For most people, this was their first Darjeeling. Not mine. That honor goes to Giddapahar, but I have enjoyed the Maggies I've sipped. Haven't had any from the 2011 stash, though.

  3. Margaret's Hope wasn't my first darjeeling either but it's one that I adore. Your version of the story was much better :)