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The Letters of Katherine Mansfield: Volume I

Friday — July 18, 1919 —

July 18, 1919

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett

I have just been doing the flowers. They look so lovely—especially three in my room, which are small white roses with gay little leaves, fairy tale roses. Downstairs the Dwarf is making me what she calls a ‘cotton body—a very useful possession, I should think. I wonder if she'd make me a fur body for the winter with a little hot piping round the waist. Further downstairs, in the toolbox Charlie has just been delivered of 6 kittens. She is in a dark cupboard, among the rakes and hoes and old bulbs, twisted with yellow twine and straw and red flower pots and bunches of twigs. I put my head in and feel I shall see a bright star in the back above Charlie and hear a chorus of angels. Athenæum hates them. When M. went to him and told him that God had sent him six little brothers and sisters he fell off the studio window ledge right through the glass house, breaking two large panes of glass. I love his sense of the dramatic necessity—but, all the same, next time he must not be told. C'est trop cher.

I am very horrified by your account of Mrs. B. Can't she be flung over the garden wall? Must she cling? Can't you harden your heart? And if she threatens to kill herself why should she be stopped? I don't know a page 238 single enemy who wants to share a house and to whom I could fling a bramble. But be firm—don't have her in your room—that is the worst of brambles, there is never an end to them—they creep under the doors, they catch you whenever you want to fly, and they can be more than a nuisance—they can hurt. I think she ought to join something and become a ? or a ? or a ?. It's no use her staying Mrs. B. evidently. I am awfully hard-hearted about clinging—one must just use a knife as quickly as possible.

This house seems to be an R 34 to-day, rushing through the air. Everything is in flight. It's as much as one can do to catch anything. The windows all open—the curtains moving—a smell of cherry jam boiling from the kitchen. Gertie saying, “If you please, m'm, the nasturtiums in the front are out,” as if they were walking up to the door—advancing upon us.

Oh Life—mysterious Life—What art thou? Forster says: a game—I feel suddenly as though from all the books there came a clamour of voices—the books are speaking—especially the poets—How beautiful willows are—how beautiful—how the sun rains down upon them—the tiny leaves move like fishes. Oh Sun, shine for ever! I feel a little bit drunk—rather like an insect that has fallen into the cup of a magnolia.