Entry from the notebooks and diaries of Katherine Mansfield, dated October 21, 1907
“21. x. 07.
“… I shall certainly not be here much longer. Thank Heaven for that! Even when I am alone in my room, they come outside and call to each other, discuss the butcher's orders or the soiled linen and—I feel—wreck my life. It is so humiliating. And page 283 this morning I do not wish to write, but to read Marie Bashkirtseff. But if they enter the room and find me merely with a book, their tragic, complaining looks upset me altogether.
“Here in my room I feel as though I was in London—in London. To write the word makes me feel that I could burst into tears. Isn't it terrible to love anything so much? I do not care at all for men, but London—it is Life…. I am longing to consort with my superiors. What is it with me? Am I absolutely nobody, but merely inordinately vain? I do not know…. But I am most fearfully unhappy. That is all. I am so unhappy that I wish I was dead—yet I should be mad to die when I have not yet lived at all.
“Well, I have sat here for two hours and read. My right hand is quite cold…. If she comes into the room I sit on the Marie Bashkirtseff and seize my pen. She leans against the door rattling the handle and says:—‘ Are you writing a colossal thing—or an ordinary thing—or any thing exciting?’ How completely inane! I tell her to leave the room at once. Now if this door would open and Mimi walk in, Mimi or Ida or my charming Gwen—how happy I should be—with all three I can be myself. Outside the window there is a lumbering sound of trams and a sound of birds’ song. Now here comes tea, and I fall to the temptation—as usual.
“I am so damnably thankful that I did not allow J. to kiss me. I am constantly hearing of him, and I feel to meet him would be horrible. But why? It is ridiculous. I used him merely for copy. I am always so supremely afraid of appearing ridiculous—the feeling is fostered by Oscar—who was so absolutely the essence of savoir faire. I like to appear in any society entirely at my ease, conscious of my own importance, which in my estimation is unlimited—affable and very receptive. I like to appear slightly condescending, very much du grand monde, and to be the centre of interest. Yes, but quelquefois to my page 284 unutterable chagrin, unmistakable shyness seizes me. Isn't it ludicrous? I become conscious of my hands, and slightly inclined to blush.
“I thank Heaven that at present, though I am damnable, I am in love with nobody except myself.”