Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Journal of Katherine Mansfield

A Good Beginning

A Good Beginning.

May 30. First comes L.M. I give her orders. Ask her to supervise the maid till Monday. ‘Be gentle with her: help her to make the beds; and just tell her how everything must be.’ Then in page 109 detail I sketch out the maid's programme. ‘Send Ralph, please.’ Ralph arrives. I arrange the food. Then settle all that must be done, coercing Ralph, putting her mind in order if I can, making her see the bright side of things, sending her away (I hope) feeling important and happy.

I go upstairs to see Maud, to say good-morning, to hope ‘she will be happy.’ “Just take things gently; I'll quite understand that you can't get into our ways at once. Ask Miss B. and the cook for what you want. But if you wish to see me, don't hesitate to come in. I was so glad you were early.” She was very reassured. Her eyes shone (she's only a little girl). She said it was like the country. As she walked up from the tram the birds sang “something beautiful.” This instead of the ‘long drag up the hill’ was cheering. I left her happy. I know I did.

Downstairs just to say Good-day to Mrs. Moody and to say there were some flowers for her to take home. The good creature was on her knees polishing and saying it was such a fine day. Bless her 60 years! We had a little joke or two and I came away.

L.M. again—just for a moment to say: “As you have a machine, don't hem dusters by hand as I see you are doing. Keep your energies for something important!”

Then I sit down to work, and there comes a steady, pleasant vibration from the ship. If only I could always control these four women like this! I must learn to.

page 110

May 31. Work. Shall I be able to express one day my love of work—my desire to be a better writer—my longing to take greater pains. And the passion I feel. It takes the place of religion—it is my religion—of people—I create my people: of ‘life’—it is Life. The temptation is to kneel before it, to adore, to prostrate myself, to stay too long in a state of ecstasy before the idea of it. I must be more busy about my master's business.

Oh, God! The sky is filled with the sun, and the sun is like music. The sky is full of music. Music comes streaming down these great beams. The wind touches the harp-like trees, shakes little jets of music—little shakes, little trills from the flowers. The shape of every flower is like a sound. My hands open like five petals. Praise Him! Praise Him! No, I am overcome; I am dazed; it is too much to bear.

A little fly has dropped by mistake into the huge sweet cup of a magnolia. Isaiah (or was it Elisha?) was caught up into Heaven in a chariot of fire once. But when the weather is divine and I am free to work, such a journey is positively nothing.