"A Cup of Tea" by Katherine Mansfield is a story about a woman named Rosemary, a rich woman who learns a lesson in materialism. The young, wealthy Rosemary decided to do some shopping, so she stops by a florist and an antique store.
The shopkeeper at the antique store always saves his best treasures for Rosemary as he seems to adore her. During this visit, he shows her a trinket kept in a velvet box, which fascinates her. After asking him to keep it for her, she leaves the shop. Outside the shop, Rosemary stops and has feelings of longing even though she has more money than one could hope for. While on the street, Rosemary is approached by a young girl named Miss Smith who asks her for money for a cup of tea. Rosemary is astounded and brings the girl back home with her. She feeds Miss Smith and invites her to stay. When Rosemary's husband Philip comes home, however, things quickly change as he tells his wife how pretty Miss Smith is. Rosemary's intentions for the girl quickly change and she gives her money and sends on her way. After the girl leaves, Rosemary asks Philip to buy her the velvet box and he agrees. She then gets to the heart of the matter and asks him if she is pretty.