Rosemary Fell, a young, wealthy woman, goes shopping at a florist's and in an antique shop. Before going to the car, Rosemary is approached by Miss Smith, a poor girl who asks for enough money to buy tea. Instead, Rosemary drives the girl to her plush house. At the Fells' home, Miss Smith eats her fill. She then begins to tell Rosemary of her life when the husband, Philip, comes in. Although initially surprised, Philip recovers and asks to speak to Rosemary alone. In the library, Philip conveys his disapproval. When Rosemary resists dismissing Miss Smith, Philip tries another, more successful, tactic. He plays to Rosemary's jealousy by telling her how pretty Miss Smith is. Rosemary retrieves three pound notes, and, presumably, sends the girl away. This dismissal is a far cry from Rosemary's first vow to "Be frightfully nice to her" and to "Look after her."
Virginia Woolf once described Katherine Mansfield as "of the cat kind, alien, composed, always solitary and observant."
- A Cup of Tea