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Journal of Katherine Mansfield

The Doll

The Doll.

“Well, look!” muttered Miss Sparrow.1 “I've nothing to be ashamed of. Look as much as you like. I defy you. It's what I've wanted all my life,” she cried brokenly, “and now I've got it. I defy you. I defy the world!” And she drew herself up in front of the window, proudly, proudly; her eyes flashed, her lips gleamed. She pressed the doll to her flat bosom. She was the Unmarried Mother.

Of course, I can't write that. I'm surprised to have made such a crude note. That's the raw idea, as they say. What I ought to do, though, is to write it, somehow, immediately, even if it's not good enough to print. My chief fault, my overwhelming fault is not writing it out. Well, now that I know it (and the disease is of very long standing) why don't I begin, at least, to follow a definite treatment? It is my experience that when an ‘evil’ is recognised, any delay in attempting to eradicate it is fatally weakening. And I, who love order, with my mania for the ‘clean page 161 sweep,’ for every single thing being ship-shape—I to know there's such an ugly spot in my mind! Weeds flourish in neglect. I must keep my garden open to the light and in order. I must at all costs plant these bulbs and not leave them (oh, shameful!) to rot on the garden paths. To-day (October 18, 1920) is Monday. I have raised my right hand and sworn. Am I ever happy except when overcoming difficulties? Never. Am I ever free from the sense of guilt, even? Never. After I had finished that slight sketch, The Young Girl, wasn't there a moment which surpasses all other moments? Oh, yes. Then—why do you hesitate? How can you? I take my oath. Not one day shall pass without I write something—original.

December 14. The baby became covered with inkspots and served as a little reminder for days of the things she had forgotten to say and the things she might have said so differently.

1 See entry of January 24, 1922.