A CUP OF TEA 2
BY KATHERINE MANSFIELD 3
Rosemary Fell was not exactly beautiful. No, you couldn't have called her beautiful. Pretty? 6
Well, if you took her to pieces... But why be so cruel as to take anyone to pieces? She was 7
young, brilliant, extremely modem, exquisitely well dressed, amazingly well read in the newest 8
of the new books, and her parties were the most delicious mixture of the really important 9
people and... artists - quaint creatures, discoveries of hers, some of them too terrifying for 10
words, but others quite presentable and amusing. 11
Rosemary had been married two years. She had a duck of a boy. No, not Peter - Michael. 13
And her husband absolutely adored her. They were rich, really rich, not just comfortably well 14
off, which is odious and stuffy and sounds like one's grandparents. But if Rosemary wanted to 15
shop she would go to Paris as you and I would go to Bond Street. If she wanted to buy 16
flowers, the car pulled up at that perfect shop in Regent Street, and Rosemary inside the 17
shop just gazed in her dazzled, rather exotic way, and said: "I want those and those and 18
those. Give me four bunches of those. And that jar of roses. Yes, I'll have all the roses in the 19
jar. No, no lilac. I hate lilac. It's got no shape." The attendant bowed and put the lilac out of 20
sight, as though this was only too true; lilac was dreadfully shapeless. "Give me those stumpy 21
little tulips. Those red and white ones." And she was followed to the car by a thin shop-girl 22
staggering under an immense white paper armful that looked like a baby in long clothes.... 23
One winter afternoon she had been buying something in a little antique shop in Curzon 25
Comment [LS1]: The title is linked to the central incident in the story and also acts as a linking device between Rosemary and Miss Smith. As Rosemary emerges from the antique shop in the cold, winter weather, she feels she 'ought to go home and have an extra- special cup of tea'. Immediately after that Miss Smith appears, begging desperately for something Rosemary has plenty of but which Miss Smith needs to sustain her existence. Miss Smith's need for a cup of tea offers Rosemary a chance for the 'extra-special' tea she longed for and provides her with the means of creating an adventure for herself.
Comment [LS2]: The title also creates a contrast between the bland ordinariness of a cup of tea and what actually takes place between the two women. Having tea with someone indicates friendship and some sort of 'connection': unpretentious, natural and hospitable. However, the circumstances under which these women take tea are the opposite.
Comment [LS3]: The story opens with a comment about Rosemary's appearance, showing that image is very important to her and a pivotal feature of the story.
Comment [LS4]: The story is set in London.
Comment [LS5]: Rosemary has disposable income to buy almost anything she pleases. She buys flowers for no other reason than to admire...