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The Letters of Katherine Mansfield: Volume I

March 29, 1915 —

March 29, 1915

To S. S. Koteliansky

I am extremely fond of you this afternoon. I wish you would walk into this café now and sit opposite me and say—“Do not look at these people; they are extremely foolish.” But no, you will not; you are dancing on the downs with the fair Barbara and Kisienka is forgotten. No, I won't come to any of your weddings. You will marry some woman who will show me the door—because I come and sing in the street you live in in my beautiful Russian dress (given me by my anonymous friend) and you dare to look out of the window. I have just finished Two Frightful Hours trying to buy a corset—not really a corset page 21 but a kind of belt—I have spent every penny that I haven't got upon an affair of violet silk which is so exquisite that I lament my lonely life…. Now Frieda would say that I was being very wicked, but you understand—don't you? All the while I write I am looking at you and laughing a little and you are saying to me, “Really, you are a deplorable creature!”

Your letter was given to me and I read it while I was half awake—when in bed—and after I had read it I lay smoking and watching the sun dance on the ceiling—and I wondered why on earth I had fled away and could not find any answer. At any rate I can tell you frankly that the illness that I had in England and longed to be cured of—is quite gone for ever—I believe it was my ‘heart’ after all, you know, but not the kind of heart that Dr. Eder punches. Shut your eyes a minute—do you feel frightfully happy—just now—just at this minute? I do—I should like to lie on the grass beside a big river and look up at the sun until the sun went down—and then go slowly home to a little house hidden in a ring of poplar trees—carrying a large bunch of daisies. Do you see this house? It is a new one—just built at this moment—it is in some place very far away and there are woods near, and this river. A tiny little balcony has a table on it with a red and white cloth and a jar of clovers—and we sit there in the evenings, smoke and drink tea. Now you can build a little of it.

To tell you the absolute truth, a friend of mine is coming to London at the end of this week. (Do not tell anybody.) Her name is Katherine Mansfield, and if she should ring up the Bureau on Friday—answer her. Will you.

Yes, Koteliansky, you are really one of my people—we can afford to be quite free with each other—I know.

… My dear, it is so hot in this café that if Mrs. E. were here she would have taken half a dozen sun baths!