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Journal of Katherine Mansfield

[February 1914]

[In February 1914, when the following entries were made, Katherine Mansfield and I were living in Paris, at 32 rue de Tournon. We found it impossible to earn enough money, and I had to return to London to look for work.]

“A calm, irresistible well-being—almost mystic in character, and yet doubtless connected with physical conditions” [Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal].

Writes Dorothy:

William (P.G.) is very well,
And gravely blithe—you know his way—
Talking with woodruff and harebell
And idling all the summer day
As he can well afford to do.
(P.G. for that again.) For who
Is more Divinely Entitled to?
He rises and breakfasts sharp at seven,
Then pastes some fern-fronds in his book,
Until his milk comes at eleven
With two fresh scones baked by the cook.
And then he paces in the sun
Until we dine at half past one.
“God and the cook are very good,”
Laughs William, relishing his food.
(Sometimes the tears rush to my eyes:
How kind he is, and oh, how wise!)
After, he sits and reads to me
Until at four we take our tea.
page 4 My dear, you hardly would believe
That William could so sigh and grieve
Over a simple, childish tale
How ‘Mary trod upon the Snail,’
Or ‘Little Ernie lost his Pail’.
And then perhaps a good half-mile
He walks to get an appetite
For supper, which we take at night
In the substantial country style.
By nine he's in bed and fast asleep,
Not snoring, dear, but very deep,
Oh, very deep asleep indeed….

And so on ad lib. What a Pa man!

I am going to read Goethe. Except for a few poems, I know nothing of his well. I shall read “Poetry and Truth” immediately.

“When all is done human life is at its greatest and best but a little froward child to be played with, and humoured a little, to keep it quiet until it falls asleep, and then the care is over” (Temple).

That's the sort of strain—not for what it says and means, but for the ‘lilt’ of it—that sets me writing.