14 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Oxford, from the papers sounds very sinister. And why when people receive anonymous boxes of chocolate do they always wait to hand them round until friends come to tea. What ghouls they are, to be sure! Professor X who saved the lives of Doctor and Mrs E sounds profoundly moved. I should feel very tempted were I in Oxford to - hm - hm - better not. No doubt the secret police has steamed this letter over a cup of warm tea . . .
   Goodbye. We will leave Lady Ottoline then. Perhaps if it is a very good strawberry season you might one day much later care to go over - she is not at all fierce. I must tell you, Mr Gerhardi, that you write the most delightful letters.
            Yours very sincerely
                Katherine Mansfield.
My new book I am terrified to say comes out on the 23rd. I had wanted to send you a copy; I shall not be able to. When I am rich I shall send you a copy at once.  [To  William Gerhardi, 8 February 1922.]

                          St. Valentine's Day
My dear Lamb,
   As soon as I am in full possession of my legs again I shall have to walk abroad with a purse of gold and buy you presents. Even then I shan't be able to catch up. But Ill do my best. Ribbons - the last two are perfectly celestial - I really am beginning to feel flow out of your hat with white rabbits, canaries, and tight little rose buds. But here is this little book. It charms me beyond words! Im going to make it a Little- Great-Men-Book, an ever permanent note book. And coming on St. Valentine's very day. I always remember St V's Day. Its in one's diary, too. But it has a fascinating sound. Who was St. V? A ravishing person, no doubt, young, very young, with a glorious voice. . . But this is true. How ever much you may think these lovely gifts mean to me they mean ever. . . so. . . much. . . more. Now I want to answer your letter. I do hope your tooth is better. Why have we got teeth. Or why haven't we brass ones. I cling to mine but I feel they will all go one day, and the dentist is such a terrifying animal. I hate to think of you in the clutches of that chair. I always think of dear Tchekhov in Nice, with toothache, where he says "I was in such pain I crawled up the wall". That just describes it. It is maddening and exhausting to have toothache, I do hope yours is over. [To Dorothy Brett, 14 February 1922.]

Dear Ida,
   I am writing to you so that you shall have a letter and because I want one from you. We have heard nothing from Mrs Maxwell about subletting. I think you'd better not even make enquiries until we do hear with Doctor H. on the spot to report to her. It is annoying. We shall look v. silly if she says ‘no' . . .A devil of a day here, a London fog outside the windows. Not a gleam of light. Perhaps to compensate immense meals have been served by the hotel. Whole eels with rings of potato round em, chickens in beds of rice. It doesn't bear thinking about. My laundry came home. Deciding that if I were sick I could afford to pay for it they charged me 5 francs for my pantalons & 5 for my camisoles. I should think they would charge for my pyjamas by the leg. What grasping devils these frenchies are. And I have just spilt lashings of ink on one of their old sheets and theres no Ida to run off cheerfully to get me citric acid as if it grew in her garden.
   Jack is a tremendous shopper. There is a new teapot, bowls, terrine de foie gras, little brown loaf that looks as though it ought to have little brown legs to run away on. It is remarkable - more - how such a dreamy nature can care for another as he looks after me. He even brushed my hair last night. It was rather queer brushing but there it was.
   By the way: will you send the Mercury with my story in it to Romer W? And will you buy another coconut for the birds? I cant bear to think they look in vain. [To Ida Baker, 14 February 1922.]