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Tea at Margaret's
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hp   At five o'clock, François arrives at Margaret's house for afternoon tea.

hp   Margaret, who is twenty-two, still lives with her mother. She greets her boyfriend at the front door.

hp   Margaret's mother, Mrs Dawson, is a British lady in her early sixties, tall and slender, with elegant silver grey hair, and a dark blue dress.

hp   She maintains in her home the lifestyle of her native country.

hp   It is a change from the easygoing manners of Americans.

hp   M.: François, let me introduce you to my mother.

hp   F.: Good afternoon, Madam. What a lovely place you have!

hp   Mrs D.: Oh hello, François, I'm delighted to meet you. Margaret talks a lot about you.

hp   Mrs Dawson has set up tea and cakes on a table under an umbrella in the garden.

hp   They sit down and begin chatting.

hp   A moment later, Margaret goes fetch the kettle which is whistling in the kitchen, and brings it back.

hp   Her mother pours some hot water in the teapot to warm it, then pours it out.

hp   Now she puts one teaspoonful of tea per person, plus "one for the pot", and adds water.

hp   When tea has finished brewing, she fills carefully through a strainer three cups.

hp   After a few minutes of small talk, François wants to help himself to more tea, and is about to take the teapot.

hp   M.: Don't do that! The tradition wants that it be always the same person who handles the teapot.

hp   F.: Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know.

hp   Mrs Dawson smiles and refills François's cup.

hp   They chat for a while, drinking and eating scones and muffins.

hp   After an hour, Margaret gets up, followed by François. They say goodbye to Mrs Dawson and leave together.


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