The Ladies' Tea Guild

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Victorian enigma.

Can you discover the answer to this riddle?  It is an "enigma" from Godey's Lady's Book from July 1855.

Enigma 25. 
TAKE a cross letter, and two-thirds of the sea,
Unite them together; the product will be
What some people say gives to scandal a zest,
And oft is found worst where they say it is best;
A traitor’s its doom—for ‘tis quartered away,
And for such execution too dearly we pay;
Yet ‘tis treated still worse, for, by royal desire,
In the palace ‘tis “drawn” through hot water and fire. 

The clue to the answer is in the photo above!


Ashley said...

I would guess "tea" since "t" is a "cross letter" and 2/3 of "sea" could be "ea." :)

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

Yes! You got it. Sometimes the enigmas in Victorian magazines are so obscure, and you have to have the next issue of the magazine to get the answer ...

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)