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Journal of Katherine Mansfield

The Eternal Question

The Eternal Question.

I pose myself, yet once more, my Eternal Question. What is it that makes the moment of delivery so difficult for me? If I were to sit down—now—and just to write out, plain, some page 92 of the stories—all written, all ready, in my mind 'twould take me days. There are so many of them. I sit and think them out, and if I overcome my lassitude and do take the pen they ought (they are so word perfect) to write themselves. But it's the activity. I haven't a place to write in or on—the chair isn't comfortable—yet even as I complain this seems the place and this the chair. And don't I want to write them? Lord! Lord! it's my only desire—my one happy issue. And only yesterday I was thinking—even my present state of health is a great gain. It makes things so rich, so important, so longed for … changes one's focus.

… When one is little and ill and far away in a remote bedroom all that happens beyond is marvellous…. Alors, I am always in that remote bedroom. Is that why I seem to see, this time in London—nothing but what is marvellous—marvellous—and incredibly beautiful?

The tide is full in the Redcliffe Road. One by one the doors have opened, have slammed shut. Now, in their blind way, the houses are fed. That poor little violin goes on, tearing up note after note—there is a strange dazzling white cloud over the houses and a pool of blue.