'Katherine Mansfield Today' Blog

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What was KM thinking and writing 90 years ago today? The ‘KM blog’ posts daily extracts of her letters and notebooks written almost 90 years ago...
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18 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Id put them in the top double bedroom of course and ask 35 francs. Tell me what you think of this idea. It would be a terrific help if it could be done easily. No help at all, in fact a horror if you don't care about the idea or if it sounds difficult. It is indeed only a suggestion - an in case - to be answered as such - to be taken "lightly".
   As I write I am conscious I exaggerate a bit and that is not fair to you. If I have to drop that money on the chalet - well I must drop it, that's all. But I want to tell you its a little bit hard to do so. The first fortnight here I spent in all £50. And I cant earn to keep up with it. This ‘plan' would save your fares down and up again. There is that to consider. It would also give you your £8 a month clear and perhaps a little over. I want you to believe I am not just making use of you. I am treating you as my friend, asking you to share my present minuses in the hope I can ask you to share my future pluses
   Talk it over with me - will you?
                   Yours ever
                        Katherine
If my MS will not go into the box in Esher, will you take it out of Esher & pack it separately at the bottom of the box. It would go then, I think. I must just ‘risk' losing it. But don't let go of my shawl. [To Ida Baker, 18 February 1922.]

Dear Brett,
   The pink cyclamen has come and is in front of my vanity table. I am so very happy to have it. It will hang in my room wherever I am. Eventually I shall pay you back with a story. And even then I'll still be in your debt. I love cyclamen.
   Forgive this card. I am desperately tired but I had to let you know at once. I will write again in a few days. But for the next week or so I shall be a fearfully dull [?]
   But a loving one.
            Tig [To Dorothy Brett, 18 February 1922.]

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17 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Dear Ida,
   Can you tell me (1) what my boxes would cost to send by rail and (2) how long they will take. I have been thinking it over. It seems from your card today there is a chance the chalet may not be let as soon as we had thought. In that case I can't do without my clothes. In fact I feel the need of them very much, so perhaps they had better come along as soon as you have the keys. Yes, that's best. They had better be sent at once.
   If the chalet is not let I have been thinking what had better be done. These last few days have made me feel I don't want any flat before May. I prefer to stay here. Its simpler and it would be cheaper in the end - of that I am certain. Here one can tell what all costs to a 1/2d A la-bas there is food, servant, concierge and all the unforeseen expenses. . .It is not very gay here but its clean and one is independent; one soon gets into a routine and is free to work. Its a good hotel and the people are decent. But if the chalet remains unlet it will mean a loss of about £50 and that is horrible. In fact I can't easily meet it. Also we shall have to keep it open and warmed and cared for. Here is a suggestion. What about you staying there until, May, keeping Ernestine, and taking in a married couple as pensionnaires? At not less than 32 francs a day the pair. Does the idea revolt you? As far as I can make out one would then pay for the heating, lighting, E's wages, your keep, and youd make a profit of £10 a month. [To Ida Baker, 18 February 1922.]

Dearest Marie,
   I am so sorry to have had to send that wire. To think you might be here now! But for the first week or two I did not have much reaction from these X rays. Now I do. Ten minutes after a séance I am so dead tired I feel as if I had swum across Wellington harbour in the wake of the Duco. And that feeling goes on until Saturday evening. It is a mysterious business and my doctor (whose name is Ivan Manoukhin) says it will go on getting worse for five weeks. After that one begins to get better and by May he promises one will feel quite well! I feel as though I were about to faire un enfant. All my plans begin in May. But if it does all come true it will be little short of a miracle after these nearly five years.
   When you come over in May you could not do better than come to this hotel. It is excellent. Very clean, very quiet, with boiling water day and night. And one can eat on the premises - which is a point - if one wants to. Jack and I seem to have been here for months. We always drop into a routine. That is the best of having regular work. One has to arrange ones life round it. Ida is back in Switzerland trying to sublet the chalet and looking after Wingley. I foresee that Wingley's travelling days are not over. Poor little chap! He will have to write his Memoirs later on.
 [To Charlotte Beauchanp Perkins, 19 February 1922.]

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16 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

The Mountain is at Montana, settling up the house & looking after the pussy. This is an excellent hotel. We have two rooms at the end of a passage, cut off from the rest of the hotel with a bathroom and masses of hot water. Rooms cost from 13 francs a day. There is a lift of course and one can eat on the premises. If I were you Id come here at Easter. All rooms have hot and cold water. After 7 months in that cleanliness I feel water and soap are the great necessities. M. and I have settled down according to programme, as we always do. We work, play chess, read, make our tea and drink it out of nice small bowls. I can do nothing but get up and lie down, of course, and Manouhkin says in three weeks I shall have a real reaction & then be able to do even less than that for the next three weeks. Its rather like waiting to have an infant - newborn health. My horrid time ought to be just over by Easter.
   I must begin work. Seven stories sit on the doorstep. One has its foot inside. It is called The Fly. I must finish it today. This is a hard moment for work - don't you feel? Its hard to get life into it. The bud is not up yet. Oh spring, hurry, hurry! Every year I long more for spring.
   Of course I will seize the first chance to speak of your ears. My plan is to ask Manouhkin to the flat. At the clinique he is so busy and never alone for a moment. But Ill have a shot there, all the same. Its difficult too because he speaks hardly any french. Goodbye dear precious little artist. Ever your loving
                  Tig [To Dorothy Brett, 14 February 1922.]

Dear Ida
   If the boxes are going to take such a long time (i.e. three weeks) to arrive I see no point whatever in sending them. They had far better come with you as your personal luggage even if you don't return for a month. I can manage more or less with what I have here. And Id rather do that than pay vast sums to have my clothes sent by post. I shall send you the keys today. But don't send the boxes. Let them wait until you are ready to leave Montana. I don't think I care what Dr H. thinks of the climate of Paris . . .
Please try and sell the notepaper.
          Yours
               K.M.
Everything is quite all right here. But why repeat such stupid remarks about the climate of Paris. Its hard enough to have to bear it without being told so and so doesn't at all approve of it. What tactlessness! Dont you feel it! Please repeat to me NOT ONE word about what he says of the Manoukhin treatment. Id rather not hear.
My dear Ida
I open my letter to acknowledge yours.
(1) Of course we must have references! It is absolutely essential for many reasons.
(2) Ill post my keys tomorrow. Send as little as possible at that price (15 francs).
(3) Will you try the Palace for selling skis. If you can get nothing they had better be stored as you suggest.
(4) Blow the old crepe de chine jumper. I shall never wear it again.
(5) No, why should Mrs M's letter come there?
(6) Why didn't you send the D.N? [Daily News]
(7) Why not give the address to the P.O. at once?
(8) Please call me K.M. - not K. I never feel like K.
(9) Jack must have the parcel from Collins at once. It is proofs! UNpack parcel & send as printed matter & chuck out Jacks original copy. He only wants the PRINTED PROOFS - not what is cut out of papers. Love to Wingley. [To Ida Baker, 16 February 1922.]

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15 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

About Easter. Its a perfect plan. Its just the right time for Paris - April. Everything is still new-green and the sun is really warm and the first shadows of the new leaves (unlike all other shadows, so soft, so tender) are fluttering over the tables and on the grass. I think it is an excellent idea, too, to be here for May and June. For selfish reasons I like it too. We really shall have time to talk, and in Paris or anywhere outside England as far as I am concerned there is never that queer feeling that one is tied to the clock hand. One can go easily, in a leisurely way bask, take the air. . . Oh, Brett, let us look forward to this.
   Where is your little house! It is somewhere - but where. Sometimes I think it must be in the branches of a tree. Do let me know. I think you are very wise not to take a large one. Little houses are always best. A house is like an ark - one rides the flood in it. Little ones bob over the waves and can rest on the extreme tops of mountains much better than great big ones. Can I be official godmother to the garden? I should like to STARTLE you with the most superb things and to send for seeds from far corners of the earth and have a boronia plant below the studio window. Do you know the scent of boronia? My grandma and I were very fond of going to a place called McNabs Tea gardens and there we used to follow our noses and track down the boronia bushes. Oh how I must have tired the darling out! It doesn't bear thinking about.
  [To Dorothy Brett, 14 February 1922.]

What has E. done with the newspapers? She has not sent on one & Jack asked her to. I suppose she has just thrown them away. Make her look after you properly. Please write and tell me how you found things and so on and what was the feeling of the place. I am longing to hear about everything. You mustn't be so silly as to imagine because I am such a horrible creature I don't love you. I am a kind of person under a curse, and as I don't and can't let others know of my curse you get it all. But if you knew how tenderly I feel about you after one of my outbreaks. You do know. I cant say ‘nice' things to you or touch you. In fact I behave like a fiend. But ignore all that. Remember that through it all I love you and understand.
That is always true.
Take care of yourself, ma chere
Katherine, [To Ida Baker, 14 February 1922.]

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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.]

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.]

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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.]

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13 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

By the way, for proof of your being a writer you had only to mention a bath chair & it crept into your handwriting. It was a queer coincidence. I had just been writing a bath chair myself and poor old Aunt Aggie who had lived in one & died in one, glided off; so that one saw her in her purple velvet steering carefully among the stars and whimpering faintly as was her terrestial wont when the wheel jolted over a particularly large one. But these conveyances are not to be taken lightly or wantonly. They are terrible things. No less.
   I hope if you do come to Paris at Easter you will come and see me. By then I expect I shall have a little flat. I am on the track of a minute appartement with a wax-bright salon where I shall sit like a bee writing short stories in a honeycomb. But these retreats are hard to find.
   I am here undergoing treatment by a Russian doctor Ivan Manoukhin, who claims to have discovered a cure for tuberculosis by the application of X rays. It is a mystery. But it sounds marvellous. And at present I am full of wandering blue rays like a deep sea fish. The only real trouble is its terribly expensive. So much so that when I read the price I felt like Tchekhov wanted Anna Ivanovna to feel when she read his story in a hot bath - as though someone had slung her in the water & she wanted to run sobbing out of the bathroom. But if it all comes true it means one will be invisible once more - no more being offered chairs and given arms at sight. A close season for ever for hot water bottles and glasses of milk. Well people dont realise the joy of being invisible - its almost the greatest joy of all. But Ill have to write at least a story a week until next May, which is a little bit frightening.  [To  William Gerhardi, 8 February 1922.]

My darling Marie,
  You do write the most satisfactory letters! One seems to get so much out of them; they've such a flavour, if you know what I mean. All the difference between very dull cold mutton and very excellent lean beef with chutney & a crisp salad! I start with an appetite and end with one.
  It must be fun to be shopping. Its rather hard to realise that ‘V' doesn't care a great deal about clothes. I should care if I were on a desert island & had to try on my hats & see the effect in the lagoon. Perhaps, though, Mack doesn't take them very seriously. That makes a difference. Jack is like a brother in that respect: I mean he talks them over and criticises them just as a brother does. Poor Ida has been flattening her nose against the windows in the Rue de la Paix and is completely demoralised for the moment. She can only talk about garments that appear to be moulded on, with heavy embroidery, russian backs & the fascinating new boleros. Fancy boleros coming back! Its such an absurd word too, isn't it. I expect by the time we are old dolmans will be all the rage again and I shall meet you - where? - flashing with jet bugles.
  Yes, I do miss the chalet. Hotels are odious places, and I hate restaurants. But with this hope of getting better I can put up with anything. I don't dare look ahead, Marie. I feel just like a prisoner must feel who's been told there is a chance of his release. Its too much happiness to think of walking along by myself with nobody handing me a chair or offering me an arm or coming to meet me with a hot water bottie in one hand and a glass of milk in the other! If you have a small private God, say a prayer for me! [To Charlotte Beauchamp Perkins, 10 February 1922.]

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12 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Dear Mr Gerhardi,
   I can't tell you how honoured I am by your asking me to be Godmother. I have the warmest feelings towards your little nouveau ne and shall watch its first steps with all the eagerness a parent could desire. I cast about in my mind as to what to send it. Not a silver mug. No, not a mug. They only tilt them over their noses and breathe into them. Besides, the handle of mine, being silver was always red hot, so that I had to lap up what was inside, like a kitten. . . The matter I see demands time for consideration. But very seriously, I am most happy Cobden-Sanderson liked your book. I am sure it will be a success. And I look forward to reading it again and making other people read it. All success to you and many thanks.
   Please do not praise me too much. It is awfully nice to be praised but at the same time it makes me hang my head. I have done so little. I should have done so much more. There are these rows of stories, all waiting. All the same, I cant deny that praise is like a most lovely present, a bright bouquet coming to one (but gently! I hope) out of the air. Dont imagine for one moment though, that I think myself ‘wonderful'. That is far from the truth. I take writing too seriously to be able to flatter myself. Ive only begun. The only story that satisfies me to any extent is the one you understand so well ‘The Daughters of the Late Col.' & parts of Je ne parle pas. But Heavens! what a journey there is before one!  [To  William Gerhardi, 8 February 1922.]

Dear Mr Pinker,
Many thanks for your letter. I will try and write another story for The Sketch as soon as possible. I am undergoing treatment here which will make work rather difficult for the next few weeks.
I sincerely hope that many of your writers do not give you so much trouble with correspondence. I am ashamed that you should have to write to me so often.
Yours sincerely
Katherine Mansfield

Dear Mr Pinker
I beg to acknowledge with my grateful thanks the cheque for £12.2. received by me today.
Yours sincerely
Katherine Mansfield [To J.B. Pinker, 8 & 9 February 1922.]

 

 

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11 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Ida is leaving here on Saturday. She will be with you on Sunday. Tell her what you want her to do, if you intend leaving Switzerland. And write to me about everything. But my very soul rebels against when its fine you prefer your work & your work is more urgent than this affair in Paris has been. When it snows you might as well be playing cribbage with me! And also that remark "Moreover the rent is paid here!"
   No, darling, please. Let me be alone here. This queer strain in you does not, for some extraordinary reason in the very least atom lessen my love for you. Id rather not discuss it. Let it be! And I must work now until May. These ‘affairs' are 1000 times more disturbing than 1000 train journeys. Pax, darling. You will see Ida on Sunday. But for the last time I ask you not to join me. I cannot see you until May.
               Your loving
                          Wig.
Please just accept this. Its awfully hard having ‘it' to fight as well as my other not dear Bogies!
Later
Dearest Bogey
   I have just opened my letter to say your Sunday & Monday ones have come - about the snow, about Elizabeth, about your staying there. If the weather is fine by now I dare say your doubts will have taken wings, too. But for my part - I would rather stay here alone. I have seen the worst of it by myself i.e. going alone to Manouhkin, having no one to talk it over and so on. I want now intensely to be alone until May. Then IF I am better we can talk things over and if I am not I shall make some other arrangement. There's no need to look ahead. But that is my very calm collected feeling. So if you do want to leave the chalet before May - let us still be independent of each other until then - shall we?
 [To John Middleton Murry, 8 February 1922.]

As to the flowers - I haven't had a flower yet. Tulips are 1.50 each. The F.O. [Faithful One = Ida Baker] can't find anything sweet and reasonable. And it had been my plan to send you a basket the very first thing. Nothing but my horrid poverty stops that basket arriving. Manoukhin says that by the second week in May Ill feel perfectly well. Its exactly like being in prison and hearing somehow that there is a chance you may be let out. Now I know what a prisoner's dreams must be. I feel inclined to write a long story about a gaol bird. But I shouldn't know how to end it.
   I wonder how your novel is going? I am hard at Shakespeare again, tapping away at him like the birds tapped at my half coconut on the window sill.
   The F.O. has been looking for small flats. Yesterday she found one - "very nice", where five girls with bobbed hair lived with their uncle. It was, she confessed rather full of beds at the moment. But when the girls, who were from the country had gone the beds would be whisked away. And the concierge was most agreeable. The house very quiet. It seemed to me rather a strange menage but I went to see over it today. Really the F.O. is like Una in the Fairy Queen. She is too innocent for words to express. That flat! Those bobbed haired girls! ‘Uncle' had departed but two cigars remained to prove as F.O. murmured to me "that a man lived there". And the BEDS. Merciful Powers! There was something horribly pathetic about it in the pale afternoon light, in its attempts at gaiety, at real flowering. But the whole place will haunt me for ever. I said to the F.O. as we left "But its a bawdy-house." And after a long pause she said "Dear me! I had never imagined such a thing. But I quite see what you mean!" [To Elizabeth, Countess Russell, 8 February 1922.]

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10 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

In reply to your telegram.
My darling Bogey,
   I do not "understand" why you have sent this telegram, so my reply is rather in the dark. Still, I must send it. Please do not come here to me. That is what I wish to say, and I say it deliberately. It is not easy to write so to you. I will try and explain my reasons. I want you to have your freedom as an artist. You asked for it at Menton. I thought it was a mistake - that you did not mean it and only wrote under influence. But then after I left Montana you asked for it again. You were willing to join me if I wanted you - you were prepared, like a shot to be of help to me. (But that is exactly like saying to a person if you want to borrow money, borrow from me, or Fathers telling me I could count on him up to £50 if the necessity arose. It is not the gesture of people who deeply understand each other.) On the other hand your own personal feeling was not that at this most critical of all moments in her life I could not leave Wig. Golly - no! It was my work - May would be too late - my novel - and so on. Reverse the positions, darling. Hear me saying that to you!
   It is no good. I now know that I must grow a shell away from you. I want, ‘I ask for' my independence. At any moment in the future you may suddenly leave me in the lurch if it pleases you. It is a part of your nature. I thought that it was almost the condition of your working that we were together. Not a bit of it! Well, darling Boge, for various reasons I cant accept this. And now that I am making a bid for health - my final bid - I want to grow strong in another way, too. Ida is leaving here on Saturday. [To John Middleton Murry, 8 February 1922.]

My dear Elizabeth,
   Thank you so much for your letter. But what horrid snow. There must be too much of it. I hope it now settles down and the sun shines warm. It seems impossible that I missed you at Randogne. You were in my thoughts as we waited at the station & I tried to catch a glimpse of your chalet. I hate to think I did not see you.
   It served me right about John. After my agonies as to what would become of him - relief breathed in the poor boy's letter. He was like a fish off a line, swimming in his own element again, and never dreaming really of coming here. He made me feel like a very stuffy old Prospero who had been harbouring a piping wild Ariel. I hope he does stay where he is. It would be much the best plan. PoorJohn! Its horrible to think how I have curtailed his freedom. In my silly innocence I felt certain he couldn't bear not to know what this Russian man said and so on. But not a bit of it. He is hand in hand with his new novel - I see them rather like the couple in Donne's Ecstasy. But I do hope he wont change his ideas now. Bad weather and no posts are a trial which he hasn't experienced yet in solitude. He would repent of coming to Paris Im sure while he is seething with work which will out. Id much rather be alone until May too, now that I know his sentiments.
 [To Elizabeth, Countess Russell, 8 February 1922.]

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9 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Advise me - will you? I am looking for a tiny flat - very small - a mouse's hole just big enough to nibble a pen in. If I find anything suitable I shall take it until the end of May and Ida will look after it to save money on servants and so on. But (this is where I want your advice) to whom can I apply for a reference? They are sure to ask me for at least two - can you think of anybody? I wish you would answer this as soon as possible, Bogey. A card will suffice, as they say. Its rather urgent. Flats are so scarce here and I want to be settled as soon as possible once something is found. Of course it may all be a wild goose's chase. Ida has gone off to an agent this afternoon. But there it is!
   I have started a new Shakespeare notebook. I hope you will let me see yours one day. I expect they will be legion by that time. And reading with the point of view of taking notes I begin to see those marvellous short stories asleep in an image as it were. For instance
             . . . 'Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream
             Goes to and back, lackeying the varying tide
              To rot itself with motion.'
That is terrible, and it contains such a terribly deep psychological truth. That ‘rots itself ' . . .And the idea of ‘it' returning and returning, never swept out to sea finally. You may think you have done with it for ever but comes a change of tide and there is that dark streak reappeared, more sickeningly rotten still. I understand that better than I care to. I mean - alas! - I have proof of it in my own being.  [To John Middleton Murry, 7 February 1922.]

No, I dare not look out of prison at these delights. They are too much. And yet I do nothing else in bed at night when the light is out. I range the world over. It is just what prisoners must do when their time is getting short. I must write a story one day about a man in prison. Murry has answered my letter.He does not want to come to Paris. He feels it would do his work harm. So he is staying in Switzerland. But he says he will come and "fetch" me in May. By that "fetch" I know he hasn't the slightest faith in Manouhkin. Indeed, after saying "what terrific news" he never mentions it. I might have picked up a shilling. Men are odd creatures. But he is very happy and well looked after. In fact he sounds perfectly blissful. So there it is.
   This isn't a letter dearest, just a word to answer yours. I dreamed last night Ottoline had taken to painting & gave an exhibition out of doors - at Garsington. One immense canvas was a portrait of Philip called "Little Pipsie head-in-air". I can see it now. What fools our dreams make of us! But Ottoline was delighted with her work. She kept wandering about saying "such lovely reds, dont you think so? S0 warm!" I must get up. I have a whole story to finish. Ive got a job on the Nation to write a story a month for them & Cassells want some more and The Sketch. What places to let ones poor little children go wandering in. It cant be helped. They are like waifs singing for pennies outside rich houses which I snatch away & hand to Manouhkin.
 [To Dorothy Brett, 6 February 1922.]

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8 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

But all this human interest (ah! how it draws one!) apart there is Goethe talking, and he did say marvellous things. He was great enough to be simple enough to say what we all feel and dont say. And his attitude to Art was noble. It does me good to go to church in the breasts of great men. Shakespeare is my Cathedral but Im glad to have discovered this other. In fact, isn't it a joy - there is hardly a greater one - to find a new book, a living book, and to know that it will remain with you while life lasts!
   How is your novel? Does it go easily? I write slowly here because it takes time to abstract oneself. I feel I have a terrible amount to do, though. I hardly dare look out of this story because of all the others. They are in rows in the waiting room. But one would not have it otherwise.
   Ive read Anthony & Cleopatra again last week and upon my word it is appaling to find how much one misses each time in Shakespeare - how much is still new. Wonderful play! But Bogey you remember " ‘Tis one of those odd tricks which sorrow shoots out of the mind ". That is familiar enough but it still leaves me gasping. There is something over and above the words - the meaning - all that I can see. It is that other language we have spoken of before. I feel that as I am - I am not great enough to bear it. The image that for some reason comes into my mind is of an old woman in a cathedral who bows down, folds herself up in her shawl, mournfully closes herself against the sudden stirring of the organ. You know when the organ begins & it seems to ruminate, to wander about the arches & dark altars as though seeking some place where it may abide . . .
   I must get up. I hope you have my letters, and that, Wingley is a good little pussy-wee.
                Your loving
                       Wig.  [To John Middleton Murry, 6 February 1922.]

Dearest Brett,
   Your letter about the little still life has come. I cannot express to you what I feel at the beauty of your letter. IT is indeed such a still life that I shall keep it in my breast forever and never never forget that it was you who gave it to me. My dearest Brett you are very very rich that you have such gifts to give away, such treasure to unclose. Do not let us ever be less to each other than we are now. Let us always be more. I shall repay you one day with all that is in my power. In the meantime put this letter down & just feel for one moment that I love you. No more - no less.
   Now I want to fly off at a tangent at once and say that we must spend the summer (part of it) together. Is it agreed? If - if - if I get better let us go off alone to Perpignan and lie on the beach & walk in the vineyards. I am serious. You can paint, I shall write. We shall both wear very large hats and eat at a table under a tree with leaves dancing on the cloth. [To Dorothy Brett, 6 February 1922.]

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7 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Darling Bogey,
   I have just received your Friday-Saturday letter - full of snow. The whole of Switzerland according to the papers is snowing. It must be horrid! I hope it is over. No, its not been really bad weather here and April-mild until yesterday when it froze. But today the sun is in-and-out again.
   Will you send me the Lit. Sup? And the Dial? Id be very glad of both if its not too much bother.
   Ida is arranging to return on Friday, leaves here Friday night, that is. Don't feel any doubt about not coming here. Id far rather you didn't come. Theres no point in it and it would unsettle us both. Hotels are odious places for two. If one is alone one can work and forget but thats not so easy á deux. No, let the red peg and the white peg meet in May - not before. . .
Have you read that Goethe - Eckermann? I shall give it to Ida to return to you. But I mean to order a whole one for myself. That taste has given me such an appetite. Its a mystery to me that so fascinating a book should be so little talked of In fact its one of those books that once discovered abides for ever. Its such a whole (even in part as I have it). These two men live, and one is carried with them. The slight absurdity and the sentimental bias of Eckermann I wouldn't have not there! Delightfully human - one smiles but one cant help smiling always tenderly. And then outside sounds come in - the bells of Weimar ringing in the evening, the whisper of the wheat as the friends walk together, the neighbours little children calling like birds.  [To John Middleton Murry, 6 February 1922.]

You know darling I really do expect you in the SPRING. I feel the winter is over already and I read in the Daily Mail yesterday that the Dog's Mercury is out. But what is the Dogs Mercury? And does the Dog know? I hope hes very pleased but I expect he just looks at it and bolts it and goes on with a kind of "so that's that" air. Sad for the Dog's Mercury - don't you think?
   Well dearest, I feel a bit weak in the pen this morning & inclined to laugh at rien - you know the feeling? Do send me a little note here when you are not too busy. Its a fool of a day here - sunny & windy. Fat old men lose their hats & cry houp-la as they stagger after them.
   Heaven bless you.
         Your devoted
                   Katherine
[PS.] A kiss for David on the pussy's little derriere. [To Anne Drey, 4 February 1922.]

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6 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

It seems to me there is no more to say about it all. You see when Ida comes back she can settle everything and then when you come down in May she can go up again (its like a see-saw, isn't it?) and finish up the Chalet des Sapins. By the way coconut II is under the house. Ida saw it fall. Near the bathroom. . .I am so glad E. [Ernestine] is improved. I thought she would be all right on her own. Shes an honest creature and Wingley makes it proper there being 2 gentlemen in the house instead of one. What wretched posts are arriving. I am glad about Pinker and Massingham. I must get Alice Jones to find me an English typist. She sent me the Lancet today with Manoukhine's article in it. Shall I send it to you?
   The only thing I don't quite understand in your letter is your "breaking the back of your years work" and so on. Its all right - isn't it? Youre not working in secret at something I know nothing about? It sounds so very appalling.
   Well, I shall end this letter here for I want Ida to send it at once. Its Saturday night. Im afraid it may not reach you until Tuesday. Please reply at once about the Brett idea. And thanks most awfully for sending the letters - Will you go on sending them? I long to see the Tchekhov books, too when you have finished with them.
           Your loving Wig.  [To John Middleton Murry, 4 February 1922.]Darling Anne,

Darling Anne, Just a mot to say how grateful I am for the address of this hotel. Its just what I wanted and it simply flows with hot baths. I have a heaven-kissing room au 6ième with a piece of sky outside and a view into the windows opposite - which I love. Its so nice to watch la belle dame opposite bring her canary in when it rains and put her hyacinth out. I have decided to stay in Paris and not go back to that Switzerland. There is a man here - did I tell you about him? (It sounds rather an ambiguous beginning, by the way) But enfin there is a man here who treats my maladie with the X rays and I am going to him for this treatment. I had the first yesterday & I feel at this moment full of des rayons bleus - rather like a deep sea fish. But he promises to cure me by the summer. Its hard to believe it. But if it is true I shall take a puffi to your very door and come and have tea with David out of a very little small teapot. . .The only fly in the ointment is the terrific expense. Its 300 francs a time. However, I have been fortunate with my work lately and Ill just have to do a double dose of it until this is paid off. Money is a bore but I never take it dead seriously, and I don't care if I havent a sou as long as I can leap and fly alone. [To Anne Drey, 4 February 1922.]

Dear Mrs Jones,
   Thank you very much. The Lancet turned up in record time. And now I am going to ask you if you would kindly forward any letters that arrive at the office for me to the above address. I am staying in Paris for the course of treatment and shall not return to Switzerland. Will this be troubling you too much? It would be simpler if you entered the postage expenses etc. To J M M s account and I will settle (or try to get out of settling) with him.
He is staying up in the mountains with his beloved little black and white cat to bear him company.
          Yours very sincerely 
         Katherine Mansfield Murry. [To Alice Jones, 5 February 1922.]

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5 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.]

My darling Bogey
   Your letter came as a surprise to me but I absolutely agree with every word of it! It is far and away the best plan. I understand perfectly your feeling about your work and here is an opportunity. I, too, shall put in a great deal of work. I feel this year must float our ships if we are going to bring any cargo home. Goethe has filled me with renewed longing to be a better writer. No, I have no other idea to offer at all. Except - wouldn't it be far less unsettling if instead of you coming down for that week I got Brett over while Ida went up there. Shed come like a shot. In fact she begged me to let her come for a weekend. You know what energy a journey takes. We have nothing to talk over, darling that can't be done by letters. And then when you come in May all will be so different. I think wed better leave the Oiseau Bleu in the air - in flight - until we are certain we shall want to go there - But I hope you will agree with the Brett suggestion. Nothing is gained by you coming here for a week and you would lose a great deal by the geographical change. I don't think anyone can realise how different a city is until they come right into it. It makes a most extraordinary impression. I have a definite aim and hope in being here so I can ignore the effect - but for you at present in the middle of your novel it would be bad. [To J.M. Murry, 4 February 1922.]

Darling Marie,
   Do send me a line and say how you are. As you see I have left my mountains. I came here to see a specialist and I shall stay here until the second week in May taking a course of X ray treatment. A Russian doctor here has discovered a method of treatment of consumption by X raying the spleen (which lives next door to your heart my dear & in the same street with your liver.) It sounds very wonderful. It is terribly expensive. Each treatment costs 300 francs. But I was doing no good in Montana really and I have been ill nearly 5 years now. Anything rather than go on with a sofa life. Besides which it is my only chance, which makes a great difference towards what one can try to afford. By the way (a strictly family question, my dear) do you know a good depilatory. I wish you would tell me. I foresee the day is not far distant when I shall have to start using one.
   But above all do let me hear from you. Its like spring in Paris - so mild. Always your devoted sister
                 K. [To Charlotte Beauchamp Perkins, 5 February 1922.]

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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.]

Koteliansky
   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.]

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3 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

My precious Bogey
   Your telegram came yesterday as a complete surprise - a very very marvellous one - a kind of miracle. I shall never forget it.l I read it, scrunched it up, then carefully unscrunched it and put it away "for keeps". It was a very wonderful thing to receive. I agree absolutely it is best that I start now & I telephoned the same moment to M. whose sole reply was "deux heures". (But before I speak of my time there I want to say your two letters my dear one are simply such perfect letters that one feeds on them. I don't know. You have become such a wonderful person - well, you always were - but the beams are so awfully plain now - on se chauffe at every word you write. And there is a kind of calmness which I feel, too. Indeed I feel we are both so changed since the days before Montana - different people. I do feel that I belong to you, that we live in our own world. This world simply passes by - it says nothing. I do not like it but thats no matter. It is not for long. Do you realise that IF the miracle happens we May Go to England This Summer Together? Thats just an idear of what the future holds. May it make you a hundredth part as happy as it makes me!)
   I went to the clinique today and there the French doctor with Manoukhine went over the battlefield. Really it was the first time I have ever been ‘examined'. They agreed absolutely after a very prolonged examination that I had no cavities. Absolument pas de cavernes. They tested & tested my lungs & always said the same. This means I am absolutely curable. My heart, rheumatism, everything was gone into and noted & finally I passed into another room & had a séance.
 [To John Middleton Murry, 3 February 1922.]

Dearest
   Your letter has come. Now I have worried you after all. Stop! All is over. I wired you yesterday that I had decided to stay. I should not have written then - I should have waited. For, as so often happens, after waiting I saw daylight. And I knew that whatever might happen I must take this chance. Now I have written to my agent about money. I shall manage it. Dont ever send me money, Brett! I mean that. Please don't. I am that kind of man!! I haven't yet heard from Murry but I wrote to him fully. You mustn't say that about thrashing him for it makes me sorry I told you. I understand Murry awfully well, its only I cant bear to make him unhappy or to make him feel he is having to make sacrifices.
   As soon as I decided about the treatment I phoned Manoukhin and had my first treatment today. And its only now this minute, in bed, with a warm spring like wind at the window that Im beginning to feel perhaps it may come true.
   But now all goes smoothly, dearest. Ill stay at this hotel which suits me in every way. The Mountain will go back to Montana and settle everything there. I expect Murry will join me here a bit later. All goes well - awfully well. Dont come for a few weeks. Wait until about the 5th week when I shall be able to walk a bit and laugh without coughing. Then come for a weekend. We'll be merry - really merry - two small crickets chirruping away - and there will be buds on the trees.
   So
   From now
   Don't lets talk any more about Tig for the present. She is done with - settled in Paris and so full of blue rays at this moment that she feels like a deep sea fishchik. [To Dorothy Brett, 3 February 1922.]

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2 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

The whole thing is new. That I realised keenly. It is the latest thing in science. That was what one felt. At the same time, there was a very good responsible atmosphere at this place. One felt in the presence of real scientists - not doctors. And Donat never says a fantastic word. He is dead straight. One does feel that. Its what I always imagined a Pasteur institute to be. Donat agreed I could be cured. He has healed an englishman in the 3rd degree who after I2 applications has no more bacillus at all in his sputum. . . He asked me about Montana. He & Manoukhine said that if I had been anywhere really healthy & led a quiet life free from worries I would have had the same amount of benefit. But in their united opinion Montana was too high for my heart in its present state. If I stayed absolutely still in bed there - bien - but to make a continual effort of that kind is not and cannot be good. One is living on l'energie nerveuse. He ended by saying "It is easy to see you are not a little ill. You have been ill for a long time. One has not an endless supply of force. You ought to get well. L'air de Paris et les rayons de Doctor Manoukhine will make you well. Of that I am confident." I then came away.
   I am glad l saw this man as well as the other. But isn't it strange. Now all this is held out to me - now all is at last hope real hope there is not one single throb of gladness in my heart. I can think of nothing but how it will affect 'us'. [To John Middleton Murry, 1 February 1922.]

Begin treatment tomorrow. Tig. [To Dorothy Brett, 2 February 1922.]

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1 February 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

My precious
   I rested all today, but after sending your letter I wrote one to Manoukhine, saying that before I decided anything I would like to know all there was to know about this treatment, whether one ran any risks, what its effects were on the heart, and so on. I told him that I was very much in the dark, that I could not afford an experiment, and in a word that I would be obliged if he would let me see his french partner & talk it all over. His reply was to ask me to meet them both at 5 oclock at their cabinet medicale. So we took a taxi and I went. The general impression was good, all in the highest degree simple, scientific, professional, unlike anything I have seen before. Manoukhine came & took me in to Donat. He (D) is an elderly man, rather like Anatole France in style, wearing a white coat and skull cap. Quite unaffected, and very clever, I should imagine. I told them my difficulties. It was a little bit awkward, especially as Donat has evidently a great regard and admiration for M. But there you were. This matter is serious & past pretending. And they were awfully kind. Donat delivered an absolute lecture; they drew diagrams, described the process, told me of its effects and so on. There is no risk. It is, as you know the application of X rays to the spleen. It produces a change of blood. It is a kind of immensely concentrated sun action. What the sun does vaguely and in a dissipated way this gently forces. He discovered it while working at typhus & cholera and applied it to tuberculosis. Donat spoke of it always as my colleagues discovery. "Dr M. has taught us". "Dr M. then experimented on so many animals and so on and found such and such results".  [To John Middleton Murry, 1 February 1922.]

Koteliansky
   I have seen Manoukhine. Yes, one has every confidence in such a man. He wishes me to begin the treatment at once. I am taking steps to try to do so, but it is not quite easy to arrange. It will cost me much money. I have £100 saved but I must make not only another £100 but enough to live on here and for special food and so on. Also I have Ida Baker to keep as well until I am strong enough to walk about and so on. It is all difficult, and for some reason I find it hard to accept all its difficulties, as one must. Perhaps for one thing it is not nice in a city. I had forgotten how women parade about, idle and unworthy, and how ignoble are the faces of men. It shocks me to see these faces. I want more than anything simply to cry! Does that sound absurd? But the lack of life in all these faces is terribly sad.
   Forgive me, my dear friend. Let me speak of something else for a moment. While I was waiting at the clinique tonight the doors were all open & in the doctor's cabinet people were talking russian. They talked all together. Doctor M's voice was above the other voices, but there was a continual chorus - all speaking. I cannot tell you how I love Russian. When I hear it spoken it makes me think of course always of Tchekhov. I love this speech. I thought also of you, and I wished you were with me.
   Send me a note here. Not a letter. I don't expect you to write. If I get well you will let me help you with the people you help, won't you? Now a bell is striking as though it turned over in its sleep to strike. Its very late. [To S.S. Koteliansky, 1 February 1922.]

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