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The Letters of Katherine Mansfield: Volume I

Monday — January 21, 1918 —

January 21, 1918

To J. M. Murry

I am only going to write you a note to-day just to say that I still feel better. The weather is 1000 times rougher. Never, not even on shipboard, or in my own little country, or anywhere, have I heard such wind. And in the night page 104 when one lay quiet in bed and listened, God knows how many Ancient Mariners cried in it or how many lost souls whirled past. I thought then what agony it must be to be wife to a fisherman. How could a poor soul comfort herself and to whom could she pray when such a wind and such a sea fought against her? … I thought, too, it must have been just such a storm when Shelley died. This morning at red dawn a destroyer and a submarine tried to put out to sea, but they were obliged to return. I despised them for that and thought no English sailors would not have mastered it. But you know, for all my big talk, I never believe the Frenchies can sail a boat, or throw a ball, or do anything at all which is a patch upon the English…. If you could see this sea to-day rearing and smoking like a herd of monsters run mad!

Last night my little maid brought me a present, of rosebuds. Two green jars full of them and some yellow soleils d'or besides. She had been for a walk in the country, she said, and a friend had made her a present. She came to the door with them—so pretty—wearing a black woollen cap, and her cheeks were red. Shortly after, the Madame came to ask if I would like some hot wine at night for my cough. “Je ne savais pas que vous avez été si fatiguée.” Well, though it's a bit tard for remedy as I'm such a much better girl, I said Yes to the wine—and it was a rare fine posset. 3rd, the submarine captain, having heard me try to get tobacco, presented me with a whole packet of Maryland—not cigarettes but tobacco—so I feel people have been unusually kind….

As I write the sun pushes his head through a positive monk's hood of a cloud and blesses you and me upon this page. I thought this morning: In February I shall be able to say I come back the month after next. And February is a very tiny little month, too, so that after it is gone and March has blown in, there will only be a few weeks before April. Does this comfort you as it does me?