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A Cup of Tea 1922 by Katherine Mansfield - Story Summary, Characters, Synopsis & Moral in English

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

A Cup of Tea was a short story written by Katherine Mansfield,  whose original name was Kathleen Mansfield Murry. At first this short story was published in a British pulp fiction magazine named Story-teller in 1922. Later in 1923 it was published in Katherine Mansfield's collection of stories called The Dove's Nest and Other Stories.

In this article we're going to tell you the characters, setting, outline summary, round vs flat characters, Narrator's point of view, style, themes and moral of this short story, A cup of tea.

The main characters involved in this short story were

1) Rosemary Fell

2) Philip - Rosemary's husband

3) Miss. Smith - a poor girl

This short story was set in 1920's in London.

The story revolved around the character of a wealthy woman named Rosemary Fell. She spends her day shopping and spending money lavishly. Rosemary Fell, a very rich woman, who was young, brilliant, well dressed and she was also fond of book reading. If Rosemary Fell wanted to shop, she would go to Paris and if she wanted to buy flowers, she would go to the perfect shop in Regent Street, where she would buy only red and white roses because she hated the shapeless flower named Lilac. And Rosemary Fell had been married to a rich man named Philip two years ago. Her husband Philip would always adore the beauty of Rosemary Fell

Scene 1

Antique Shop in Curzon Street

One winter afternoon, Rosemary Fell had been buying something in a little antique shop in Curzon Street. The antique shopman showed her a little enamel velvet box. On the lid of it, there stood a charming couple and more creatures were standing under a flowery tree. On admiring this, Rosemary asked the price of the little enamel box. To which the shopman answered twenty eight guineas. Eventually Rosemary was shocked after knowing the price and she told the shopman to keep it for her so that she would buy this little enamel box next time she comes to the shop. By saying this she left the shop by gazing at a tea-kettle above the shopman's head.

Scene 2

In Curzon Street

After stepping out from the little antique shop, Rosemary gazed at the winter rain, that was falling from the dark clouds and the people were walking hurrily by hiding themselves from the rain under their umbrellas. Rosemary found her car waiting on the other side, so she had to cross the pavement to reach her car. Meanwhile her thought was still on the little enamel box that she had seen in the little antique shop. Suddenly a young girl, who looked thin and dark, was standing beside Rosemary. The poor girl requested Rosemary to lend her the price of a cup of tea. On hearing the pathetic condition of the poor girl, Rosemary suddenly remembered the adventure novel that she had read named Dostoevsky. Inorder to execute the scenes that she had visualised in the book, Rosemary decided to take the poor girl home and offer her a cup of tea.  Rosemary could have offered her the price of a cup of tea in the street itself but she didn't want the act to be simple hence she took the poor strange girl in a car to her home for the thrilling experience and also Rosemary determined to prove the poor little girl that even the rich people had hearts.

Scene 3

In Rosemary's House

Rosemary reached her luxurious house with the poor girl, who asked her to give the price of a cup of tea.

After entering inside the home, Rosemary took the little girl to her beautiful cosy big bedroom. In the bedroom there were gold cushions, furniture, primrose, and the fire at the corner. Rosemary asked the poor girl to sit in the big chair and told to remove her hat and wet coat. By saying this Rosemary was going out to take the cigarettes from her cloth. On the other hand, the poor girl seemed very frightened and quickly asked Rosemary to give her a cup of tea. Immediately Rosemary ordered her servants to brings her a cup of tea and some brandy. After hearing the word brandy, the poor girl almost cried out that she wanted only a cup of tea and not brandy. Rosemary lend her handkerchief to wipe out the tears and she slowly put her arms aro

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