23 June

23 June 1920

2 Portland Villas, Hampstead - London

There is No Answer
by
Katherine Mansfield [Continued...]

[. . .] Which was all very well, but what a time and place to choose for this nonsensical dreaming! She had better find a café where she could have breakfast and devour the hotel list with her coffee. By now she was right ‘in the town' and walking down a narrow street full of half open shops. She bought a newspaper from an old hag squatting beside a kiosk, her skirt turned back over her knees, munching a mash of bread and soup, and was just going into a discreet ‘suitable-looking' café when she saw a lovely flower stall. The flower seller knelt on the pavement surrounded by a litter of flat yellow baskets. She took out and shook, and held up to the critical light bunch after bunch of round, bright flowers. Jonquils and anemones, roses and marigolds, plumes of mimosa, lilies-of-the-valley in a bed of wool, stocks, a strange pink like the eyes of white rabbits, and purple and white violets that one longed not only to smell but to press against ones lips and almost to eat. Oh! how she loved flowers! What a passion she had for them and how much they meant to her. Yes, they meant almost everything.
And while she watched the woman arrange her wares in tin cups and glasses and round china jars she was strangely conscious of the early morning life of this foreign town. She heard it, she felt it flowing about her as though she and the flowers stood together on an island in the middle of a quick flowing river - but the flowers were more real. And the crowning joy and wonder [was] that she was perfectly free to look at them, to ‘take them in' for just as long as she liked ... [. . .] [KM Notebooks, undated]