'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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20 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

I shall leave my rooms here just as they are. If Brett cares to let them furnished she may. I shall be only too pleased. But no harm will come to them. And in the spring when I am at Selsfield it will be nice to have them. (That's not sincere. Ugh! How I hate London and all its bricks! Perhaps I shan't then, though.) But there it is. It couldn't be helped. I suppose I was too quick. At any rate no harm has been done yet. I shall have to count on making money in Paris. I have over £80 in the bank. Money does not worry me. I'll go to the Victoria Palace for the first week or so and Ida has a famous list of hotels. She will find another and a better one I hope, then - somewhere more cosy. It's a little pity you can't take these rooms and let your flat. They are so fearfully nice & self-contained, with hot baths, attendance, food, telephone, and so on. Brett is a very good creature, too. This won't alter anything, will it? It only means that instead of being in London I shall be in Paris. [To J. M. Murry, 27 September 1922.]

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19 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

Dearest Bogey
I have changed my plans and am going to Paris on Monday for the treatment - i.e. for 8-10 weeks. I am not a little bit satisfied with the purely experimental manner of it here, and as I realise more than ever these last foggy days how dreadful it would be to go back or not to go forward I would endure any hotel - any Paris surroundings for the sake of Manoukhin himself. I'm sure you'll understand. You see Webster is simply a radiologist. He doesn't examine one, or weigh one or watch the case as they did at the clinic. Everything was different. It's quite natural - he knows nothing. He is experimenting. And I don't feel I'm in the mood for experiments.
If I leave on Monday I'll get another treatment next Wednesday at 3 Rue Lyautey.
[To J. M. Murry, 27 September 1922.]

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18 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

The weather is absolutely grey here, every day not a spot of blue sky. ln fact the sky is like a big enamel pail. People don't seem to mind, though. I don't think they even notice.
Did I tell you Im having my first treatment tomorrow? I hope I shall get off with 8.
Ask for anything you want done, or sent. And tell me about your health, won't you? Did you see the perfectly lovely sketch of Johnnie Keats in Sundays Observer?
Ever, darling
Wig. [To J. M. Murry, 23 September 1922.]

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17 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

Dearest Bogey
I am still so sorry about your neck. Is it better. I told Sorapure this morning who said no tonic will do you as much good as a regime of milk & oranges. Not alone. Not together. But in this order.
Every morning drink a large glass of milk & ½ an hour after eat an orange. Every afternoon - do the same. The lime salts are what you need, & they are helped to disperse by the citric acid. ½ an hour after you have drunk that milk, it reposes, a solid curd, in your stomach. Along comes the orange juice & a most important meeting with very valuable consequences takes place . . . Will you do this? Its about 200 per cent stronger than Sanatogen.
[To J. M. Murry, 23 September 1922.]

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16 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

It is so terrible to be alone. Outside my window there are leaves falling. Here, in two days, it is autumn. Not late autumn but bright gold everywhere. Are the sunflowers out at the bottom of the vegetable garden? There are quantities of small japanese sunflowers, too, aren't there? Its a mystery, Bogey, why the earth is so lovely.
God bless you
Wig.
Later. Richard has just been in again to finish his drawing. Then we went downstairs and he played. But what am I telling you? Nothing! Yet much much happened. Don't you think its queer how we have to talk ‘little language', to make one word clothe, feed, and start in life one small thought. [To J. M. Murry, 23 September 1922.]

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15 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

Darling, Im too shy to write proposing myself to Will Rothenstein. If you care to send him a card saying I am agreeable I'd be pleased to be in a book. But wouldn't that be the best way to do it? Richard came yesterday and did a drawing. It was extremely well done. He's been to the Aeolian Hall and chosen rolls for the pianola. So this little house sighs like a shell with Beethoven.
Ah, Bogey, I had such a sad letter today from Roma Webster. Goodbye Arco. She is afraid there will be no Arco for her. And goodbye Paris and the Manoukhin treatment. It cannot be for her. "Every day I am getting worse". Brave noble little soul shining behind those dark lighted eyes! She has wanted so much, she has had so little! She wants so terribly just to be allowed to warm herself, to have a place at the fire. But she's not allowed. She's shut out. She must drive on into the dark. Why? Why cant I go to Rome? I should like to start for Rome today just to kiss her hands and lay my head on her pillow. [To J. M. Murry, 23 September 1922.]

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14 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

Dearest Bogey
Im so glad to hear from you. Our goodbye reminded me of the goodbye of a brother and sister who weren't each others favourites . . . But it didn't matter, a little bit.
L.M. has been to Popes. Ill tell her about Turner's Hill in case she cares to telephone.
I don't think I can come to S. until my treatment here is over. I regret, very much, missing autumn that I love so. But at the same time I am happy in London just now. Not because of people but because of ‘ideas'. At last I begin to understand the meaning of ‘Seek and ye shall find'. It sounds simple enough, but one seems to do anything but seek. . . However, that sounds a little too airnest for a letter. [To J. M. Murry, 23 September 1922.]

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13 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

If I stay I do hope we shall be able to meet later on perhaps. Let us arrange some easy place for both of us then. It would be most awfully nice to have a talk. Im living in two crooked little rooms here in a little crooked house. Its a relief to be away from hotels after live months in Paris in a hotel bedroom overlooking a brick wall. John is going to live for a time in Sussex with Locke-Ellis (do you know him?) at a place called Selsfield - a very lovely house on a hill top. Shall you be going back to Steyning in October?
Ill never be able to knock any spots off this city, my dear. It frightens me. When Im with people I feel rather like an unfortunate without a racquet standing on the tennis court while a smashing game is being played by the other three. Its a rather awful and rather silly feeling.
Don't forget how much Id love to see you! Or how sorry I am for everything.
Lovingly yours.
Katherine M. [To Sylvia Lynd, 19 September 1922.]

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12 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

My dear Sylvia,
Its the most miserable news to know you are in bed again and that again such bad sorrowful things have been happening to you. . .What can one say. I had so hoped and believed that your lean years were over. May they be over now!
Id love to come and see you. But stairs are unclimbable by me. I am better but I can't walk more than a few yards. I can walk about a house and give a very good imitation of a perfectly well and strong person in a restaurant or from the door across the pavement to the taxi. But thats all. My heart still wont recover. I think I shall be in England 2-3 months, as there is a man here who can give me the X ray treatment Ive been having in Paris. After that I shall go to Italy. But all is vague. Im seeing the specialist today. I may have to go back to Paris almost immediately. What it is to be in doctors hands!  [To Sylvia Lynd, 19 September 1922.]

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11 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

Dearest Violet,
I am so sorry my letter distressed you. But what was ‘your doing', my dear? There is nothing to undo as far as I am concerned. I felt Sydney would have been - much more than bored. I wanted to spare him. And I felt, too, reluctant to speak of important things just now. . . that Id nothing ‘useful' to say. Don't you think one has these moments in life?
‘No', you are saying ‘this won't do, Katherine. Why, if all this is true, didn't you on Sunday. . . ' But the fact is I did not realise until Sunday - until after Sunday my need for reflection.
Dont, if you can help it, think me too horrid. Indeed I am with all my heart
Devotedly yours
Katherine. [To Violet Schiff, 19 September 1922.]

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10 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

Give my dear love to Selsfield - to the stairs especially and the chimney room and oh, dear, the late light coming in at the small window by the fireplace - all the garden! I love Selsfield.
I had a card from Lawrence today - just the one word ‘Ricordi'. How like him. I was glad to get it though. Schiff continues his epistolary bombardment. I refuse to reply any more. He is a silly old man.
Do you want anything sent? Anything bought? Command me. Ill• command Ida. Its a warm still day with a huge spider looking in at my windypane. Spider weather.
Greet Locke-Ellis for me - Accept my love.
Yours
Wig. [To J. M. Murry, 19 September 1922.]

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9 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

I came back & found Richard here. He had tea with me and we had a most terrific talk. Nice is not the word for your little brother. Richard does believe it is possible to ‘imagine' an artist a much more complete being than he has been up till now - not that exactly. But more conscious of his purpose. But if I try to reproduce his youthful conversation I shall antagonise you. For I can't put in all the asides and all the implications. Sullivan came back for supper & he & I talked of all these ideas afterwards. It was, as he said, a "simply stunning evening". I do hope you see Sullivan for a longish time and that you see Dunning, too. Is this interference. Its hard not to interfere to the extent of wishing you found life as wonderful as it seems to me. Even the least idea - the fringe of the idea - of ‘waking up' discovers a new world. And the mystery is that ‘all' of us in our unlikeness and individual ways do seem to me to be moving towards the very same goal. Dear dear Bogey. I hope I don't sound like Mrs Jellaby.  [To J. M. Murry, 19 September 1922.]

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8 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

My dear Bogey,
There seems to me little doubt that the wave of mysticism prophesied by Dunning is upon us. Don't read these words other than calmly! But after yesterday to read that little leader in the Times this morning was quite a shock. We had a most interesting after-lunch talk at Beresford's. Orage gave a short exposition of his ideas and we asked him questions and made objections. It seemed strange to be talking of these dark matters (with passionate interest) in a big sunny room with trees waving and London 1922 outside the windows. Ask Sullivan about it when you see him in the country. He liked Orage and he found a very great similarity between his ideas and Dunnings. In fact the more we talked the more apparent were the resemblances. This pleased me for I felt you would accept what Dunning believed and like that you and I would find ourselves interested equally in these things.  [To J. M. Murry, 19 September 1922.]

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7 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

I was staying at a house this weekend where all the guests have made a habit of bringing roots and bulbs and cuttings from wherever they have been and planting them in the garden. So you come across a little Spanish flower, or a little rock plant from Cornwall, or a lovely little tuft of grasses from France, or a Swiss daisy. Don't you think its a good idea? The little boy who lives in the house is eight years old and he is a great naturalist. He has stocked a pond with fishes he has caught himself and knows all about them - carp, and dace and tench. I wonder if you have those kinds in Canada?
Aunt Chaddie and Aunt Jeanne are coming to tea with me this afternoon. I expect I shall hear all the news about the wedding then. If Aunt Jeanne goes to live in New Zealand I shall be living in Italy, I expect and Aunt Chaddie in England. You will have to make a tour when you are grownup and come and visit us all.
Does John ever write letters? Granpapa has told me about him, too. I am quite up to date in the news of what happened on his visit.
With much love to both my dear little nephews. I shall keep my first letter from you for a ‘remembrance'.
Ever your affectionate
Aunt Katherine. [To Andrew Bell, 11 September 1922.]

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6 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

Dear little Andrew
You are growing up so very fast that I had better be quick and call you little before it is too late. Many many thanks for your letter. I can hardly believe the tiny person I said goodbye to in London is able to write with such grownup handwriting.
Do you really think about me? That is awfully nice of you. I hope we would be friends if we lived near each other. You see I don't know a bit the kind of life a little Canadian boy leads or the things he learns at school - or out of school. I wonder if you know a lot about birds. Some of the nicest men I know are fearfully keen on birds and can tell you marvellous things about them. If you would like me to send you a book on birds send me a card to let me know and you shall have it. Or are you interested in plants - wild flowers, as well? [To Andrew Bell, 11 September 1922.]

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5 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

Darling little B.
Here's your apricot cover. I have put an old ribbing in its place . . . It doesn't look bad.
Will you come to tea in my room tonight & have a long-and-cosy chat after? There seem to be masses of things to say - but I don't want to say them in a rush. And if you are safely pinned into a chair I shall know you are resting.
You are frightfully clever to have made those rooms. But you know that. You are also frightfully nice.
Minnie is very sad still & she won't let me have no marmalade things being as they are. She will do anything rather than go, however. Well, it will all settle itself I don't think its anything to worry about a pin. (Hullo: marmalade has just come.)
Ever & ever
Tig.
Its a lovely day!! [To Dorothy Brett, c.9 September 1922.]

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4 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

My dear Koteliansky
   I could not ring you up. I was too tired. I had been out seeing the X ray specialist & having my lungs photographed and so on and so on . . . Please forgive me.
   Will you come here on Friday afternoon or evening - whichever suits you best? I have not been alone till now.. Workmen have been in the house, noises of hammering, ringing of bells and so on. But by Friday all will be over.
   l long to see you.
                      Katherine.  [To S. S. Koteliansky, 6 September 1922.]

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3 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

Wages            1. 5. O
Laundry             11. 3
Milk                    6. 9
Grocer             1.12.11½
Mrs S.             2.16. 9
2 wks.Express  1. 5. 6½
(milk butter eggs for one week, chiefly eggs & butter for second week)
Bread                 6. 5½
                     8. 8.10½

Dearest Bogey
   These are the bills which I have paid for the last week. They seem to be prodigious. I have examined each and I can't find a single extravagance. I think living in England is a great deal dearer than one imagines. What your share is passes my comprehension. I feel inclined to leave it at any contribution however small will be gratefully received by your very obliged
                     Wig.
Of course we had Sullivan for 2 dinners and 2 breakfasts, Richard for 2 dinners and L.E. for one. Also your egg & milk special diet accounts for a trifle with the Express. [To J. M. Murry, early September 1922.]

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2 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

Dearest Ottoline,
   I simply haven't known what to answer for it has been as difficult for me to reach 11 Oxford Square as for you to come to horrid Hampstead. Apart from seeing Father last week, I had to rest. I've been deadly tired. Its a bore. I cannot walk more than a few yards yet and ‘getting about' is a great difficulty. How fantastic is seems! The second time you asked me I had an appointment with my X ray man and it took hours of what they are pleased to call overhauling. I am to start the new series of this treatment this week.
   Variations on an ancient theme. I seem to write to you of nothing else. And I feel you must think me perfectly horrid!
   Yet the fact is I long to see you and if [you] can still bear the thought of me I will come any time you propose (except Tuesday afternoon). I ought to have answered your letter immediately! Why didn't I? I felt I COULD not refuse again.
   Do let me come if you can! I hate to appear so odious. But my beastly half-health gets in the way of all I want most to do.
   I wish I knew how you are. If we did meet I feel I should like to talk for ever.
                Yours (in spite of my badness) ever devotedly.
                       Katherine. [To Ottoline Morrell, 3 September 1922.]

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1 September 1922

6 Pond Street, Hampstead, London

Dearest Father,
   I am so sorry to have made that foolish mistake about the date - writing 4 for 14. It was right in my mind and wrong on paper. I shall be delighted to take tea with you at Bath's Hotel next Monday afternoon at 4 o'clock, thank you, darling.
   This afternoon Jack and I are going down to East Grinstead for the week-end to "see a man about a house". It sounds a very nice one and in the pink of condition. His idea is that we shall share it with him. But I will not enter into detail here. If anything comes of it, I shall be able to tell you on Monday.
   How extremely unfortunate that poor Renshaw should be afflicted so seriously with malaria! More especially that he should be in for a bad bout of attacks just now. It is a complaint I know very little about. I wonder if it responds to inoculation? I know Ida's father, who specialised in these matters, used to say it was a thirteen years' infection but unless one became reinfected it disappeared. But there's no great consolation to be derived from that. I can imagine poor little Jeanne's distress.
   Yes, isn't the weather past praying for. There has not been one out and out fine summer day since we came back.
   With fondest love, Father dear,
                      Ever your devoted child,
                                                     Kass [To Harold Beauchamp, 1 September 1922.]

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