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Journal of Katherine Mansfield

The Last Waiting-Room

The Last Waiting-Room.

One must write a story about a doctor's waiting-room. The glass doors with the sun from outside shining through; the autumn trees pale and fine; the cyclamen, like wax. Now a cart shakes by.

Think of the strange places that illness carries one into; the strange people among whom one passes from hand to hand; the succession of black-coated gentlemen to whom she'd whispered page 163 99, 44, 1—2—3. The last waiting-room. All before had been so cheerful.

“Then you don't think my case is hopeless?”

“The disease is of long standing, but certainly not hopeless.” This one, however, leaned back and said: “You really want to know?”

“Yes, of course. Oh, you can be quite frank with me.”

“Then, I do!”

The carriage came and drove her away, her head buried in her collar.

But the champagne was no good at all. I had to drink it because it was there; but there was something positively malicious in the way the little bubbles hurled themselves to the brim, danced, broke. They seemed to be jeering at me.