25 June

25 June 1920

2 Portland Villas, Hampstead - London

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

[. . .] The kitten was very tiny; it could not even walk yet. It knew all about what to do with the front half of itself but its two little back legs were the trouble. They wanted to jump along, or to bound along in a kind of minute absurd galop. How very confusing it was! But the young man leaning over the counter and singing ‘Daisy, Daisy' hadn't a grain of pity in him. He threw the kitten over, rolled it into a ball, tickled it, held it up by its front paws and made it dance, let it almost escape and then pounced on it again and made it bite its own tail.
"Give me your onze heures do!"
he sang, in his swaggering, over-emphasised fashion. She decided he knew perfectly well that someone was watching and listening ... But how
wonderfully "at home" he looks, she thought. How lazily, how lightly he leans and stretches, as though it were impossible for anything to upset his easy balance, and as though if he chose, he could play with life just like he played with the kitten, tumble it over, tickle it, stand it on its hind legs and make it dance for him.
Quite suddenly the young man threw the kitten away, caught up his glass of dark purplish coffee, and facing her he began to sip and stare. Cool, cool beyond measure, he took his time, narrowed his eyes, crossed his feet and had a good, good look at her. Well - why not? She took another cigarette, tapped it on the table and lighted it, but for all her manner a malignant little voice in her brain warned her: "Keep calm!" [. . .] [KM Notebooks, undated]