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Journal of Katherine Mansfield

The Cook

The Cook.

The cook is evil. After lunch I trembled so that I had to lie down on the sommier—thinking about her. I meant—when she came up to see me—to say so much that she'd have to go. I waited, playing with the wild kitten. When she came, I said it all, and more, and she said how sorry she was and agreed and apologised and quite understood. She stayed at the door, plucking at a d'oyley. “Well, I'll see it doesn't happen in future. I quite see what you mean.”

So the serpent still slept between us. Oh! why won't she turn and speak her mind. This pretence of being fond of me! I believe she thinks she is. There is something in what L.M. says: she is not consciously evil. She is a fool, of course. I have to do all the managing and all the explaining. I have to cook everything before she cooks it. I believe she thinks she is a treasure … no, wants to think it. At bottom she knows her corruptness. There are moments when it comes to the surface, page 112 comes out, like a stain, in her face. Then her eyes are like the eyes of a woman-prisoner—a creature looking up as you enter her cell and saying: ‘If you'd known what a hard life I've had you wouldn't be surprised to see me here.’

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