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Journal of Katherine Mansfield

[January - May 1919]

January 1. J. came to bed at ten minutes to twelve. Said he: “Don't go to sleep before the New Year.” I lay holding my watch. I think I did go to sleep for a moment. The window was wide open and I looked out and over a big soft hollow, with a sprinkle of lights between. Then the hour struck: the bells rang—hooter, sirens, horns, trumpets sounded. The church organ pealed out (reminding me of Hans Andersen) and an Australian called Coo—ee. (I longed to reply.) I wanted L.M. to hear and to see. I called loudly to her ever so many times, but she had “chosen' to take a bath….

May 19. 6 p.m. I wish I had some idea of how old this note book is. The writing is very faint and far away. Now it is May 1919. Six o'clock. I am sitting in my own room thinking of Mother: I want to cry. But my thoughts are beautiful and full of gaiety. I think of our house, our garden, us children—the lawn, the gate, and Mother coming in. “Children! Children!” I really only ask for time to write it all—time to write my books. Then I don't mind dying. I live to write. The lovely world (God, how lovely the page 103 external world is!) is there and I bathe in it and am refreshed. But I feel as though I had a duty, someone has set me a task which I am bound to finish. Let me finish it: let me finish it without hurrying—leaving all as fair as I can….

My little Mother, my star, my courage, my own. I seem to dwell in her now. We live in the same world. Not quite this world, not quite another. I do not care for people: and the idea of fame, of being a success,—that's nothing, less than nothing. I love my family and a few others dearly, and I love, in the old—in the ancient way, through and through, my husband.

Not a soul knows where she is. She goes slowly, thinking it all over, wondering how she can express it as she wants to—asking for time and for peace.