4 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

I want to ask you something. Do you really believe all this? There is something that pulls me back the whole time and which wont let me believe. I hear, I see. I feel a great confidence in Manoukhine - very great - and yet - - I am absolutely divided. You know how, to do anything well, even to make a little jump, one must gather oneself together. Well, I am not gathered together. A dark secret unbelief holds me back. I see myself after 15 goes apologising to them for being not cured, so to speak. This is very bad. You realise I am in the mood now when I confess to you because I want to tell you my bad self But it may be its not me. For what is bad in me (i.e. to doubt) is not bad in you. Its your nature - If you do feel it - please tell me - please try and change. Try and believe. I know Manoukhine believes. I was sitting in the waiting room reading Eckermann when he came in, quickly, simply and took my hand and said "vous avez decide de commencer. C'est tres bien. Bonne sante!" But this was said beautifully, gently (Oh, Bogey I do love gentleness.) Now I have told you this I will get over it. It has been a marvellous day here, very soft, sunny and windy, with women selling les violettes de Parme in the street. But I could not live in a city ever again. That's done - that's finished with. I read Shakespeare (I am with you as I read) and I am half way through a new story. I long for your letter which follows mine. Oh, those precious birds at the coconut. How I see and hear them! And E's fig pudding.  [To John Middleton Murry, 3 February 1922.]

   There is no answer to this letter. But I wanted to tell you something very good that happened today. Yesterday I decided that I must take this treatment and I telephoned M. I was sitting alone in the waiting room of the clinique reading Goethes conversations with Eckermann when M. came in. He came quickly over to me, took my hand and said simply "Vous avez decide de commencer avec la traitment. C'est tres bien. Bonne sante", and then he went as quickly out of the room saying "tout de suite" (pronounced ‘toot sweet' for he speaks very little French). But this coming in so quickly and gently was a beautiful act, never to be forgotten, the act of someone very good.
  Oh, how I love gentleness, Koteliansky, dear friend. All these people everywhere are like creatures at a railway station - shouting, calling, rushing, with ugly looks and ways. And the women's eyes - like false stones - hard, stupid - there is only one word corrupt. I look at them and I think of the words of Christ "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect". But what do they care? How shall they listen? It is terribly sad. Of course, darling Koteliansky, I don't want them to be all solemn or Sundayfied. God forbid. But it seems there is so little of the spirit of love and gaiety and warmth in the world just now. Why all this pretence? But it is true - it is not easy to be simple, it is not just (as A.T.' s [Anton Tchekhov's] friend used to say) a sheep sneezing.
   It is raining. There is a little hyacinth 0n my table - a very naive one.
   Heaven bless you. May we meet soon.
                              Katherine. [To S.S. Koteliansky, 3 February 1922.]

Dear Mr Gerhardi,
   Wont you let me know what has happened about your novel. I have so often wondered. I hope you will write and tell me when it is going to be published.
   Another thing. Do you know Lady Ottoline Morrell who lives at Garsington? Would you care to? She is a personality and her house is exquisite and one meets there people who might ‘interest' you. Im thinking of the literary point of view as well as the other.
   I have come down from my mountains and am living in Paris until May. Oh, the flower shops after nothing but snow and pine trees! It is devilish not to be rich enough to go inside them. I stand and stare like a little boy in front of a pastry cooks.
           Yours very sincerely,
              Katherine Mansfield. [To William Gerhardi, 4 February 1922.]