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Journal of Katherine Mansfield

An Encounter

An Encounter.

This afternoon I did not go for a walk. There is a long stone embankment that goes out into the sea. Huge stones on either side and a little rough goat path in the centre. When I came to the end the sun was going down. So, feeling extremely solitary and romantic, I sat me down on a stone and watched the red sun, which looked horribly like a morsel of tinned apricot, sink into a sea like a huge junket. I began, feebly but certainly perceptibly, to harp: “Alone between sea and sky etc.” But suddenly I saw a minute speck on the bar coming towards me. It grew, it turned page 40 into a young officer in dark blue, slim, with an olive skin, fine eyebrows, long black eyes, a fine silky moustache.

“You are alone, Madame?”

“Alone, Monsieur.”

“You are living at the hotel, Madame?”

“At the hotel, Monsieur.”

“Ah, I have noticed you walking alone several times, Madame.”

“It is possible, Monsieur.”

He blushed and put his hand to his cap.

“I am very indiscreet, Madame.”

“Very indiscreet, Monsieur.”

[At the end of December 1915 I returned to Bandol. There we took a tiny four-roomed villa, Villa Pauline, with an almond-tree that tapped at the window of the salle à manger. There we stayed until April 1916; and there K.M. wrote the first version of Prelude.]