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Journal of Katherine Mansfield

The Rivers of China

The Rivers of China.

She sat on the end of the box ottoman buttoning her boots. Her short fine springy hair page 169 stood out round her head. She wore a little linen camisole and a pair of short frilled knickers.

“Curse these buttons,” she said, tugging at them. And then suddenly she sat up and dug the handle of the button hook into the box ottoman.

“Oh dear,” she said, “I do wish I hadn't married. I wish I'd been an explorer.” And then she said dreamily, “The Rivers of China, for instance.”

“But what do you know about the rivers of China, darling,” I said. For Mother knew no geography whatever; she knew less than a child of ten.

“Nothing,” she agreed. “But I can feel the kind of hat I should wear.” She was silent a moment. Then she said, “If Father hadn't died I should have travelled and then ten to one I shouldn't have married.” And she looked at me dreamily—looked through me, rather.