The Letters of Katherine Mansfield: Volume I
Sunday night — September 1917 —
To Lady Ottoline Morrell
I feel as though I have returned from the seaside with one hot cheek and a feeling of sand between my toes, as I sit down to write to you. Your wonderful letter which seemed with its spray of verbena to come flying through the gold and green September air dropped in my lap and page 81 I read it and sniffed and sniffed the sweet spray and put it at the bottom of a blue jar.
M. has had a holiday this last week and we've been so immensely occupied that I have had no time “to myself” at all. I haven't been able to shut a gate or a window or a door—and now at the end of these exquisite days I feel that it is High Time to lie down and be covered with these fresh fallen yellow leaves. But—to discover that it still is possible to laugh so much, to linger, to gaze in at shop windows and long so ardently for that lovely mirror, to walk under these bright trembling trees and high tumbling clouds, to watch children, and to lean over bridges.
Ottoline: “But dear Katherine. This is like Walt Whitman too dreadfully in the home !”
Yes, I feel it is. But what am I to do? I am hung about with memories like these and cannot move for them —Next week I must be abominably sober but this week is still here, and no, I cannot be calm.
(A dreadful, cold thought: can this be all hypophosphites?) Ah well ! I must think that over carefully, “profoundly question it” (as B. R. might say) and if I feel it is true do not be surprised upon opening The Daily Mirror to find a picture of me with my hair parted down the middle and a black velvet band round my neck: Portrait of Katherine Mansfield, 141a Church Street…. You may make what use you like of this letter….
But I had rather think that it was something quite, quite different—
None of those people ought to be “considered”; it is only consideration which makes them swell so huge and loom so large. They cannot spoil September—Ah, Ottoline, will there really be winter again after all this rich beauty? Cold and rain again, dark little days, dingy little days gripping one with frigid fingers like those hateful little dressmakers of my childhood. Must one really stand passive to them and be draped and pleated and folded into a kind of awful mackintosh parcel agains?….page 82
London has a lap so full of pears and plums that every mean child hath a bellyful—
But B. and H. says in the Evening News: Now is the time to think of those cosy bloomers…. What Can One Do?