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Journal of Katherine Mansfield



She was sure I would be cold, and as usual tried to make of my departure une petite affaire sérieuse. I always try to thieve out, steal out. I should like to let myself down from a window, or just withdraw like a ray of light.

“Are you sure you won't have your cape … etc., etc., etc.?”

Her attitude made me quite sure. I went out. At the corner the flying, gay, eager wind ran at me. It was too much to bear. I went on for a yard or two, shivering—then I came home. I slipped the Yale key into the lock like a thief, shut the door dead quiet. Up she came, up the stairs.

“So it was too cold, after all!”

page 104

I couldn't answer or even look at her. I had to turn my back and pull off my gloves. Said she:

“I have a blouse-pattern here I want to show you.”

At that I crept upstairs, came into my room, and shut the door. It was a miracle she did not follow….

What is there in all this to make me hate her so? What do you see? She has known me try to get in and out without anyone knowing it dozens of times—that is true. I have even torn my heart out and told her how it hurts my last little defences to be questioned—how it makes me feel just for the moment an independent being, to be allowed to go and come unquestioned. But that is just “Katie's funniness. She doesn't mean it, of course….”

We hardly spoke at lunch. When it was over she asked me again if she might show me the pattern. I felt so ill, it seemed to me that even a hen could see at a side glance of its little leaden eye how ill I felt. I don't remember what I said. But in she came and put before me—something. Really, I hardly know what it was. “Let the little dressmaker help you,” I said. But there was nothing to say.

She murmured: “Purple chiffon front neck sleeves.” I don't know. Finally I asked her to take it away.

“What is it, Katie? Am I interrupting your work?”

“Yes, we'll call it that.”