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The Letters of Katherine Mansfield: Volume I

Wednesday — February 20, 1918

February 20, 1918

I feel much better to-day and the hæmorrhage is—hardly at all. Can't work much, or think very sensibly, but I am ever so much better than I was….

Since this little attack I've had, a queer thing has happened. I feel that my love and longing for the external world—I mean the world of nature—has suddenly increased a million times. When I think of the little flowers that grow in grass, and little streams and places where we can lie and look up at the clouds—Oh, I simply ache for them—for them with you. Take you away and the answer to the sum is O. I feel so awfully like a tiny girl whom someone has locked up in the dark cupboard, even though it's daytime, I don't want to bang at the door or make a noise, but I want you to come with a key you've made yourself and let me out, and then we should tiptoe away together into a kinder place where everybody was more of our heart and size.

You mustn't think, as I write this, that I'm dreadfully sad. Yes, I am, but you know, at the back of it is absolute faith and hope and love, I've only to be frank, had a bit of page 131 a fright. See? And I'm still ‘trembling.’ That just describes it.

To-morrow I shall write a gayer letter. Oh, just to forget me for a minute,—do you remember how the Fool in King Lear said: “'Twas her brother who, in pure kindness, buttered his horse's hay.” I thought that was a good phrase for nowadays. ‘It is hardly the moment to butter the horse's hay!’ Isn't it? Pin it in the Nation.

Can I have another Dickens some time? Bleak House or Edwin Drood? Mrs. Gaskell positively fascinated me. I think she's an extremely good writer. The 2nd story in the Cranford book, Moorland Cottage, is really a little masterpiece….