Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Journal of Katherine Mansfield

Saunders Lane

Saunders Lane.

March 12. Our house in Tinakori Road stood far back from the road. It was a big, white-painted square house with a slender pillared verandah and balcony running all the way round it. In the front from the verandah edge the garden sloped away in terraces and flights of concrete steps—down—until you reached the page 57 stone wall covered with nasturtiums that had three gates let into it—the visitors' gate, the Tradesman's gate, and a huge pair of old iron gates that were never used and clashed and clamoured when Bogey and I tried to swing on them.

Tinakori Road was not fashionable; it was very mixed. Of course there were some good houses in it, old ones, like ours for instance, hidden away in wildish gardens, and there was no doubt that land there would become extremely valuable, as Father said, if one bought enough and hung on.

It was high, it was healthy; the sun poured in all the windows all day long, and once we had a decent tramway service, as Father argued….

But it was a little trying to have one's own washerwoman living next door who would persist in attempting to talk to Mother over the fence, and then, just beyond her ‘hovel,’ as Mother called it, there lived an old man who burned leather in his back yard whenever the wind blew our way. And further along there lived an endless family of halfcastes who appeared to have planted their garden with empty jam tins and old saucepans and black iron kettles without lids. And then just opposite our house there was a paling fence, and below the paling fence in a hollow, squeezed in almost under the fold of a huge gorse-covered hill, was Saunder's Lane.

[K.M. seems to have made this the scene of her story, The Garden Party.]

March. Jinnie Moore was awfully good at elocution. Was she better than I? I could make page 58 the girls cry when I read Dickens in the sewing class, and she couldn't. But then she never tried to. She didn't care for Dickens; she liked something about horses and tramps and shipwrecks and prairie fires—they were her style, her reckless, red haired, dashing style.

[The following is an unposted letter written to Frederick Goodyear, a close friend of both Katherine Mansfield and myself. He was at this time serving in France in the Meteorological section of the Royal Engineers. A few months afterwards he applied for a commission in an infantry regiment in order to go to the fighting line. There he was killed, in May 1917. It should be put on record that no single one of Katherine Mansfield's friends who went to the war returned alive from it. This will explain the profound and ineradicable impression made upon her by the war, an impression which found utterance in the last year of her life in the story, “The Fly.”

Frederick Goodyear, who was three years my senior at Brasenose, was certainly the most brilliant undergraduate at Oxford in my time. He was the first of my friends to be introduced to Katherine Mansfield after I had made her acquaintance, and he became her friend. He accompanied us to Paris on our unfortunate expedition in the winter of 1913. His letters and literary remains, with a biographical memoir by Mr. F. W. Leith-Ross, were published in 1920. The concluding words of his letter to Katherine Mansfield, to which hers was a reply, are these:

“The fact is I'm simply in a chronic surly temper with life: and Nothing, if I can possibly help it, shall make me emerge.

We want a definition. If love is only love when it is resistless, I don't love you. But if it is a relative emotion, I do.

Personally, I think everything everywhere is bunkum.

Fredk. Goodyear