Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Journal of Katherine Mansfield

[January 1918, Bandol]

[In November 1917 K.M. caught a chill, which developed into pleurisy. When she had partly recovered the doctor advised her to go to the South of France.

She was overjoyed at the prospect. She did not realise, neither did anybody warn her, that during the two years since she was last in Bandol conditions in France had utterly changed. Railway travelling was difficult, food bad. And, perhaps most serious of all, she would not admit that she was gravely ill. Her courage and confidence deceived herself as well as her friends. She persuaded herself and them that she was the one to be envied for being sent into the sun.

After an appalling journey, described in one of her letters, she reached Bandol in January 1918 to find that the little Mediterranean town she remembered so beautiful was now dirty and neglected. From the moment she arrived she was seriously ill and quite alone, until in February her friend, L.M., managed to get to her.]

[January. Bandol.] When I am sitting above the rocks near the edge of the sea, I always fancy that I hear above the plash of the water the voice of two people talking somewhere I know not what. And the talking is always broken by something which is neither laughter nor sobbing, but a low thrilling sound which might be either and is a part of both.

But Lord! Lord! how I do hate the French.

page 74

Mademoiselle complains that she has the pieds glacés.

“Then why do you wear such pretty stockings and shoes, Mademoiselle?” leers Monsieur.

“Eh—o, la—c'est la mode!”

And the fool grins, well content with the idiot answer.

How immensely easier it is to attack an insect that is running away from you rather than one that is running towards you.

Note: A muff like a hard nut. (Mouse in Je ne parle pas.)

(February.) What happens is that I come in absolutely exhausted, lie down, sit up and sit in a daze of fatigue—a horrible state—until 7 o'clock. I can barely walk—can't think, don't dare to go to sleep because if I do I know I'll lie awake through the night, and that is my horror. Oh, for a sofa or a very comfortable armchair—this is always the longing at the back of my mind; and except for that and a feeling of despair at wasting the time I am simply a blank. The pain continues in my left shoulder and is the——. That adds, of course, for finally it becomes intolerable and drives me to lie on the bed covered over to support it. But these are, Hard Lines.