Tea was a family affair. It included family, friends and acquaintances. The eldest daughter of the household or the youngest married woman poured the tea. The difference between a gathering of family for tea and a social gathering was in the atmosphere and the formality. A country tea involved " sitting around the tea table, with hot biscuits, and apple pies, or sweet meats and milk, or some such nice things. But in the city...we cannot sit round table, and only have a little toast, or bread and butter, and cake, and it is not half as sociable." Margaret Bayard Smith, "A Winter in Washington or memoirs of the Seymour Family", 1824. The Tea Hour could be any where from three to five in the afternoon. Sometimes the tea hour extended into the evening with singing, dancing, cards and chess. Gossip was exchanged and social and economic events were discussed. In the large cities, tea parties were an important event and part of the social schedule.