'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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30 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

  Well, if Im going to get up for lunch up I must get. Another gritty, heavy tray on this bed and I shall scream. Terrible lessons in patience are needed to be ill in an hotel. But the people mean to be so very kind. They are certainly a remarkable set of servants - I shall always come back here with pleasure. They will do anything for one and one can keep canaries or cover the walls with pictures or have 13 vases of flowers as one little Chinaman has (according to my maid) and the servants like it!
  Goodbye. Write again when you have a mind to. I am always astonished you write so seldom. But I think you do it with intent. It seems to you best. That first long gap including Easter amazed and worried me. I couldn't believe it of you, after I had so earnestly begged you to keep in touch. I nearly wired Hudson in my anxiety. And then along came your letter with the days fly by & painted eggs and so on. After that no silence will surprise me. So never feel bound to write. Letters aren't everything, but I have always found it a trifle difficult to understand how people keep in touch without them. But people do. I expect you'd have a "spiritual" reason.
   Ever
                      K.M. [To Ida Baker, 30 April 1922.]

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29 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

   Since I wrote you that last letter Ive had flue. The weather has been really appaling, never the same for 1/2 an hour. I feel better today however and shall get up for lunch. Im rather glad to have had influenza; it has been such a dreaded thing to me.
   My agent has sold every single story of my new book in advance & I have not written one. That's pleasant! But once we get away we shall be able to work without end. My book has been a complete success, really. It has made it possible for me to publish stories anywhere I like, it seems. I even get column reviews from the Tribuna - the Italian ‘Times'. I intend, next spring, to go to London, take the Bechstein Hall and give readings of my stories. Ive always wanted to do this and of course it would be a great advertisement. Dickens used to do it. He knew his people just as I know old Ma Parker's voice and the Ladies Maid. [To Ida Baker, 30 April 1922.]

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28 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

I am very interested that Koteliansky thinks the German Russian treaty good. Manoukhin and all the Russians here say it means war in the near future - for certain, for certain! It is the beginning of Bolshevism all over Europe. The Bolsheviks at Genoa are complete cynics. They say anything. They are absolutely laughing in their beards at the whole affair, and treating us as fools even greater than the French. The French at least have a sniff of what may happen but we go on saying "let us all be good", and the Russians & Germans burst with malicious glee. I was staggered when I heard this. Manoukhin's partner here, a very exceptional French-man, started the subject yesterday, said why did not we English immediately join the French and take all vestige of power from Germany. This so disgusted me I turned to Manoukhin & felt sure he would agree that it simply could not be done. But he agreed absolutely. So they declare, the Russians here, we are in for another war and for Bolshevism partout. Its a nice prospect - isn't it! [To Dorothy Brett, 29 April 1922.]

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27 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Dearest Brett,
   Many many thanks for your letter. Ill answer it first. About Joyce. Don't read it unless you are going to really worry about it. Its no joke. Its fearfully difficult and obscure and one needs to have a really vivid memory of The Odyssey and of English literature to make it out at all. It is wheels within wheels within wheels. Joyce certainly had not one grain of a desire that one should read it for the sake of the coarseness, though I confess I find many a "ripple of laughter" in it. But that's because (although I dont approve of what he has done) I do think Marian Bloom & Bloom are superbly seen at times. Marian is the complete complete female. There's no denying it. But one has to remember she's also Penelope, she is also the night and the day, she is also an image of the teeming earth - full of seed, rolling round and round. And so on and so on. I am very surprised to hear a Russian has written a book like this [Andrei Bely's Petersburg]. Its most queer that its never been heard of. But has Kot read Ulysses? Its not the faintest use considering the coarseness except purely critically.
[To Dorothy Brett, 29 April 1922.]

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26 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Dear Mr Pinker,
   I thank you for your letter of April 22.
   You are right in thinking that my next book of stories will contain about 60,000 words, of which the English serial rights of 24,000 are already sold
to "The Sphere". In addition to these there are four stories which have already appeared serially, which I intend to include in my next book. This disposes of a further 8,000 words, say 30,000 in all, leaving 30,000 words still undisposed of serially. As far as I can foresee - it is extremely diflicult to be definite about work that is still unwritten - these 30,000 words will be composed of 8 stories - 3 of about 5000 words, 3 of 3-4000 words, and 2 short ones of 2000 words.
   If Messrs Constable enter into this arrangement and buy the serial rights of these unsold 30,000 words at £8 a thousand, I should be content with £100 in advance on the book rights. If, however, the arrangement falls through and they do not buy the serial rights at this price, I should not consider £100 adequate. But, as you say, £8 a thousand is a better price than I have hitherto received for serial rights, and that would compensate for the rather small advance on the book royalties.
   With many thanks for your care of my interests,
   I remain,
                    Yours sincerely,
                Katherine Mansfield [To Eric Pinker, 25 April 1922.]

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25 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

My dear Elizabeth,
   It was a small miracle to receive your letter this morning when I had only cast mine on the waters yesterday. Oh dear, what an enchanting way you have of filling your letters so full that there are little side flower-beds as well and tufts of sweet-smelling delicious things tucked into the very corners! I revel (decently and modestly, I hope) in every word.
   But it's horrible to think of you facing castor oil. And the worst of it is C.O. is such a jealous God. Every dose puts one into grimmer bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods but me.
   May I as an old campaigner suggest that a large wine-glassful of Saint [ ] Water sipped slowly an hour before breakfast and followed by an apple or an orange is very ‘helpful'. Another glass of Saint [ ] sipped slowly during the day completes the cure, I find. Old [ ] who had the inside very much to heart used to swear by spinach at the evening repast, eaten very hot. The whole secret lay in that.
   I wish you would see Doctor Sorapure. He is a great lamb and an extremely intelligent one. In fact he is a unique human being. His address is 47, Wimpole Street. His telephone number is 3146 Mayfair.  [To Elizabeth, Countess Russell, 25 April 1922.]

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24 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

My dear Ida
   The Flowers arrived in the most perfect condition - so fresh they might have been gathered 1/2 an hour ago. I have made a most exquisite ‘garden' of the moss, little violet roots, anemone roots & crocus blades. Its like a small world. The rest are in a jug. They are surpemely lovely flowers. But please do something for me. I beg you. Tell me (1) where they grew (2) how they grew (3) was there snow near (4) what kind of a day was it (5) were they among other flowers or are they the first? Don't bother about description. I only want fact. In fact if you can send me a kind of weather & ‘aspects' report as near as you can you would earn my deep deep gratitude. By aspects I mean the external face of nature.
   If E. [Ernestine] had anything to do with the gathering mille remerciments. If W had a paw in the matter pull his tail for me.
                         K.M.
[To Ida Baker, 24 April 1922.]

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23 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

  But how are you? Are you enjoying London? I don't know why I rejoice so to hear of Bertie's happiness and his wife's dimple.? But I do. The dimple is very important. No wife ought to be without one. But she sounds so pretty. I love bright eyes. How satisfying it is to write about pretty creatures. Your Lucy was so lovely, her slender legs as she lay asleep by the fire - her long lashes.
   Are you working? I won't ask you what you are reading. Do you sometimes get tired of books - but terribly tired of them. Away with them all! It being a cold night, lately, John and I slept together and there we lay chaste in one bed, each with an immense Tome of Eckermann's Conversations with Goethe perched on our several chests. And when my side of the bed began to shake up and down
J: "What in God's name are you laughing at?"
K: "Goethe is so very very funny!"
But it hadn't ‘struck' John.   [To Elizabeth, Countess Russell, 23 April 1922.]

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22 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

   We are both longing to get away to that small Bavarian village and to work. I feel I have spent years and years at this hotel. I have eaten hundreds of wings of hotel chickens and only God knows how many little gritty trays with half cold coffee pots on them have whisked into my room and out again. It doesn't matter. Really one arrives at a rather blissful state of defiance after a time when nothing matters and one almost seems to glory in everything. It rains every day. The hotel window sills have sprouted into very fat, self-satisfied daisies and pitiful pansies. Extraordinary Chinamen flit past one on the stairs followed by porters bearing their boxes which are like large corks; the lift groans for ever. But it's all wonderful - all works of the Lord - and marvellous in His sight. John and I went for a drive in the Bois the other day. Elizabeth, it was divine. That new green, that grass; and there were cherry trees in flower - masses of adorable things. . .
[To Elizabeth, Countess Russell, 23 April 1922.]

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21 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Most dear Elizabeth,
   I have kept on putting off writing to you until I could say that I was quite well. But that's silly. For I think of you, wonder where you are and if you have started your journey, long to know, and miss the joy of your hand-writing on the envelope. Oh dear, it would be nicest of all to see you and to hear you talk. I shall always miss you as one misses someone very near and dear. It would be too lovely if John and I might come to the Chalet in August - too thrilling. I dip into the idea and put it away again - as one does a beloved book.
   About John's novel. I felt very much as you did when I read the Times review - almost as though the reviewer had been reading another book. . . "A later and a loftier Annie Lee." It has been very well reviewed on the whole. Don't you think that perhaps he lays bare the secret of many many men - the desire to walk away from their solitary job, solitary cottage loaf and marmalade and find an ideal pub with a cosy landlady. I don't know. I had much better hold my tongue. John is by no means puffed up. He looks upon it as an experiment and having written it feels he can now swim in the deep end of the bath without fear. [To Elizabeth, Countess Russell, 23 April 1922.]

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20 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Dear Ida
   I was v. glad to hear from you today. I had begun to wonder how things were going. When you write again tell me - will you? about money. What is the situation.
   We have had awful weather lately, with the exception of Vendredi Saint. I have not been well for the past ten days as a result, I expect, and work has accumulated to such an extent that Im afraid Im no good as an advisor to you about your T House. If not Brighton, I'd try Eastbourne long before Sheringham (which is a most horrid place). But I have heard of a place called Frinton, very chic - Winston Churchills, Gladys Cooper, Sir Gerald du Maurier & Dora Morley and family. I know nothing more about it but I should imagine it would be more your affair.
   About a name. I don't think the title is at all a good idea. People with ozone appetites don't care a button if its Lady Diana Marmers or plain Jane who satisfies them. In any case I doubt if it ever pays to pander to snobs. [To Ida Baker, 19 April 1922.]

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19 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

   By the way I have discovered something interesting about the Russian colony in Paris - I mean Manoukhin and his friends. They are intensely religious. Before the revolution they were all sceptics - as far from religion as the English intelligenzsia. But now that is changed. They go to church perpetually, kneel on the cold stones, pray, believe, really, in religion. This is very strange. Last Good Friday at the clinic Manoukhin was late and his partner, Donat, a handsome white bearded man with a stiff leg, talked to us about it. They have become mystics, said he. Mystic! That strange word one is always touching the fringes of and running away from . . .
   Forgive this letter - all is scraps and pieces. I am shamefully tired and only fit for business communications. I try to whip myself up but its no good. The spirit is there all right, dearest. Please read between the lines and I promise in another week or two I shall send a better different letter.
[To Dorothy Brett, 17 April 1922.]

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18 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

We nearly saw Ethel Sands last week. Murry quite saw Iris Moffet. Met her in the street. Has she been ill? He said she was so changed he hardly knew her. Something has happened to her skin. But perhaps it was only temporary. I have been seeing my Schiffs after all. They are wonderfully kind and sensitive. There are some people whom one delights in for most complicated reasons - by delights in I mean enjoy. I suppose the pleasure is nearly all literary. The Schiffs are a perfect feast to one in that way. I could watch, listen, take in for days at a time. And then I admire Violets appearance very much - do you? Everything is so definite - her lips, her eyes, nose, teeth, and that air of radiance. She has a lovely throat, too - very full, and her gaiety is very very rare.
[To Dorothy Brett, 17 April 1922.]

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17 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Im sure we shall be in Paris until the middle of June for once Manoukhin is over I must get my teeth seen to before we go off again. Then we think of making for Austria or Bavaria, and perhaps our old love, Bandol for the winter. Thats what we want to do. I foresee I shall have to pick up a young maid in Bavaria. I cant do without somebody - not a Mountain - but a maid. Who takes ones gloves to be cleaned? Looks after ones clothes, keeps them brushed and so on - and then there's ones hair and all that. It takes such a terrific time to keep everything going. There is an endless succession of small jobs. And then one wants little things bought - new sachets and toothpaste - all those things to keep renewed. I can't keep up with it not if I was as strong as ever. There's too much to write and too much to read and to talk about. I can't for the life of me understand how women manage. Its easier for men because of the way they dress and so on. Also they aren't dependent on small things like we are. No, a little nice Bertha or Augusta is my ambition. [To Dorothy Brett, 17 April 1922.]

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16 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

   Its a good thing on the whole dearest that you are not coming this month after all - May will be better. I was a little imprudent last week, or I suppose I must have been, and ever since I last wrote Ive been. . . as before. It will pass away again. Manoukhin said last Friday I must not walk more than 10 minutes yet but drive everywhere. So thats what I am doing. The rest of the time I lie down again and write. But its only a li'll bit of a downfall. In a week or two Ill be up again.
   Brett how dare you even breathe the idea of scrubbing. If you ever take a scrub brush in your hand I hope it will sting you and run after you like a beetle. Dont work any more than you can possibly help! Its cheaper by far to employ slaves for those jobs. I hope your servant is a good creature and will really look after you. I wish I knew more about your house and its fixings but its tiring to write such things. You'll tell me when you come over.  [To Dorothy Brett, 17 April 1922.]

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15 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

                         Easter
My dearest Brett
   I look at my list and there are eleven letters to write this morning. But you shall come first; I have so much I want to say to you its hard to begin. First - the Easter egg did arrive on Saturday. It took nearly another day to get it through the customs. I am quite overwhelmed by it and can't utter a word. I certainly never would have guessed that. But you must have paid so much, too. That makes me feel uncomfortable. It must have cost a fearful sum. It is too noble a gift; I shall have one day to give it back to you. But I can't for the life of me speak about it. Overwhelmed is the only word. But I wish you hadn't spent so much, especially as you need money now. And I cant help feeling you bought it for yourself and sacrificed it. I shall only keep it for you. Thats the only way I can. [To Dorothy Brett, 17 April 1922.]

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14 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Dear Mr Pinker,
   Please excuse me for not having acknowledged your cheque for £27.8.2 sooner. Thank you very much. I enclose a second copy of my five-weekly story for The Nation. The other copy I sent direct to be in time for next week's issue. Can you dispose of these second copies in America?
   And would you kindly send me those forms to sign? I hope they have not been lost in the post.
                 Yours sincerely
                   Katherine Mansfield.
 [To Eric Pinker, 16 April 1922.]

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13 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Dearest Violet
   Once again I have to send my regrets - not because I am ill this time. But I have to go to the clinic early to have a séance extraordinaire. They want to take photographs and so on, and I dare not go out to lunch beforehand. Its damnable! I only heard from M. [Dr. Manoukhin] this evening. But this is positively my last seance. After tomorrow I shall become a reasonable human being. Forgive me once again.
   My exquisite dip into life with you & Sydney has given me a longing for all kinds of things out of reach. Yes, money can buy very much. Your rooms, too! The peace of them and the subdued light. I did not realise such rooms existed in an hotel.
                  With so much love to you both
                                            Katherine.
 [To Violet Schiff, 13 April 1922.]

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12 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

My dear Koteliansky
   I feel better. I went to the clinic yesterday and Manoukhin says all is going according to plan. The reaction is practically over. I have gained 15 pounds! If this ‘succeeds' really I hope and believe I shall be able to do much for Manoukhin. It is extraordinary: he is simply not known. In a week or so I am going to meet Bunin and Kuprin at M's flat. To think one can speak with somebody who really knew Tchekhov.
   You know Koteliansky darling, when I write about myself I feel it is selfish and heartless because of all that is happening to the world that you have known. Forgive me!
   I press your hands. Do you remember "God sent the crow. . . a piece of cheese".
                   Yours ever
                         Katherine. [To S. S. Koteliansky, 8 April 1922.]

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11 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Brettushka,
   I wish I knew whether my letters arrive or not. If you get this one do please send me a card on the spot. Are you coming on the 18th. I went out today Miss and bought myself a sweet-pretty-hat-it-was-indeed, and walked away in it carrying my dead one in a paper bag. Which is to say:
   That this reaction seems to be nearly over. I do feel much better. Manoukhin is very pleased, was yesterday.
   Oh, Brett I cant say what its like! I still dont dare to give myself up to believing all is going to be quite well. But all the same.
   God bless you darling.
                Your
                  Tig [To Dorothy Brett, 8 April 1922.]

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10 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Brett and Jack's brother are coming for Easter, but only staying for a week. Of course you will have to be on the spot for Papa. Perhaps you'd rather wait until after his coming (it sounds as though he was a celestial person out of the prayer book.) Of course, in spite of my saying do come - you know don't you that I would understand perfectly if you didn't, if it was in the least inconvenient. Dont ever feel bound in any way as far as I am concerned. Jack says of course he will send you a copy of his book but he is afraid you won't like it. He doesn't think much of it himself. His next will be much better. And I hesitate to send you mine because you may think it ‘personal' - like old V. did. Thats so difficult to explain. You see the Daughters of the Late C. were a mixture of Miss Edith & Miss Emily, Ida, Sylvia Payne, Lizzie Fleg, and ‘Cyril' was based on Chummie. To write stories one has to go back into the past. And its as though one took a flower from all kinds of gardens to make a new bouquet. But this is a thing which no amount of talking can change. One either feels it, or doesn't feel it . . . About writing a novel - I am going to write a kind of serial novel for The Sphere this summer - to start in August. You [are] right, my dear, one is kept very busy. But one wouldn't have it otherwise.
[To Charlotte Beauchamp Perkins, 8 April 1922.]

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9 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Darling Marie,
  I was so delighted to hear from you. Fancy your leaves not out. We are as green as can be in Paris - no - not really ‘out" but all little crumpled new born leaves - most lovely. And we had that fine day you spoke of. It was a joy after the fierce ones there have been lately.
  I am so wondering if you and little J. are coming in May. Are you? We both hope so. I must say it seems as though my reaction is over and for the last three days I am marvellously better. I don't dare to say too much about it. But Ive been out, walking, bought a sweet-pretty-hat for a song, had my hair cut and altogether I feel absolutely a different human being. I shall be able to tell more in another week. But the doctors at the clinic were delighted yesterday and since I came to Paris I have gained 5 pounds! But if things go on at this rate, my darlings, we ought to have fun in May. The hat shop I found is a treasure - very cheap and very original. Tomorrow we are lunching with the Schiffs - South of France friends é and I shall cull addresses from Violet Schiff who always looks exquisite, in case you do come. You would really like this hotel immensely. Double room with private bath 25 francs a day - without food. Meals to be had on the premises - too much meat and not enough trimmings but we might dodge out for our meals in May. Its so warm then and the evenings are so exquisite in Paris. I want to lure you across. [To Charlotte Beauchamp Perkins, 8 April 1922.]

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8 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

When you wrote Thursday with icicles it was warm, really hot here and sunny. I had a most extraordinary afternoon. Got ready to go to Cooks & lost my cheque book. Spent an hour with Jack turning the whole room into a haystack. No sign. Went off to Cooks to stop all cheques. I had to wait to explain to see my entire account, to go to the intelligence department where my name ‘Mansfield' was cried like a vegetable & finally escaping prison by a hair we went off to the Bon Marché to buy a very simple light hat. Have you been there? Its one of the wonders of the world. Having fought to the lift we got out on to an open gallery with about 5,000 hats on it, 10,000 dressing gowns, and so on. But the gallery looked over the entire ground floor & the whole of the ground floor was taken up with untrimmed ‘shapes' & literally hundreds & hundreds of women - nearly all in black - wandered from table to table turning & turning over these shapes. They were like some terrible insect swarm - not ants more like blowflies. Free balloons were given away that day & fat elderly women with little eyes & savage faces carried them. It was exactly like being in hell. The hats were loathesome. Jack as usual on such occasions would not speak to [me] and became furious. If I said ‘Do you like that?' he replied ‘No. Horribly vulgar? If I timidly stretched out a hand he hissed ‘Good God!' in my ear. We got out of the place at last. Then while waiting for a taxi a woman tried to commit suicide by flinging herself at his umbrella with which he was prodding the pavement.  [To Ida Baker, 8 April 1922.]

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7 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Dear Ida,
   You have missed my point. Where do you sleep? When do you go to bed? These two important questions you hedge away from. If you omit to put the time why the devil should that put my mind at rest. It doesn't in the least. I still hear midnight strike through the pages. You are a peculiarly maddening character to have to do with.
(l) Now I will answer your letter. I enclose the note you asked for in case Dr M. continues his annoyance. Would you like Jack to write to him direct, very briefly, merely asking him to ‘discontinue his intereference with our subtenants?' Reply to this. Jack can write a very cool letter, very on his dignity, if you'd like one.
(2) What about giving Wingley for always to the de Perrots. If they would take him would it not be a good plan? As regards Jack and me we shall not be settled anywhere for over a year. I hate to think of the cat being pulled about from pillar to post. He'd be much happier with kind friends - the dear. I'd rather not have him than have him after an interval of suffering. I think it would be in the long run kinder to destroy him than to let him be with strangers. Jack's Mother would be perfectly gentle with him, but Jack's Father might kick him. Or so I feel. Will you decide this? Dove that he is I feel I have said goodbye to him, and that it would be very cruel and sentimental to deprive him of a good home if the de Perrots would like him - [To Ida Baker, 8 April 1922.]

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6 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Dear Ida
   It is no use writing to you when you are too tired to reply. And please do not write to me after 10.30 o'clock p.m. You know what I think about your incredible folly in sitting up after midnight. Its more; it really will ruin your mind and memory and understanding. But you only do it to attract attention to yourself Even to attract yourself to yourself. Nobody admires it.
   I send back Mrs M's letter as I daresay you have not made a note of the address. No, I shall not write to her. Why should I? She has not written directly to me.
              Yours ever
                  K.M. [To Ida Baker, 5 April 1922.]

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5 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Im interested in what you say of Wyndham L. [Lewis] Ive heard so very very much about him from Anne Rice and Violet Schiff .Yes I too admire his line tremendously. Its beautifully obedient to his wishes. But its queer I feel that as an artist in spite of his passions and his views and all that he lacks a real centre. Ill tell you what I mean. It sounds personal but one can't help that: we can only speak of what we have learnt. It seems to me that what one aims at is to work with ones mind and one's soul together. By soul I mean that ‘thing' that makes the mind really important. I always picture it like this. My mind is a very complicated, capable instrument. But the interior is dark. It can work in the dark & throw off all kinds of things. But behind that instrument like a very steady gentle light is the soul. And its only when the soul radiates the mind that what one does matters. . .What I aim at is that state of mind when I feel my soul and my mind are one. Its awfully terribly difficult to get at. Only solitude will do it for me - But I feel Wyndham Lewis would be inclined to call the soul tiddley ompom. It's a mystery, anyway. One aims at perfection - knows one will never achieve it and goes on aiming as though one knew the exact contrary.
 [To Dorothy Brett, 4 April 1922.]

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4 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Dearest
   I sent my last letter to Thurlow Road. Did the Hannays impound it - horrid thought! This I shall send to Pond Street and hope that the painters wont light their fires with it. Shall I in future always send your letters there? It's a very nice address. One sees it pond and all. But what I want to say first is.
   Do come on the 18th. You will? You are coming? Im to expect you then? Don't put it off till May. I feel we shall be freer then for I dread to say who wont be in Paris in May. As it is the Schiffs have arrived. I haven't seen them though and am not going to for a week or so, though Im awfully fond of both of them. But we must be alone - that's flat. We must feel a bit free. Another reason. When I went to the clinique on Friday Manoukhin said that I should be on the turn in another week. Now he says it is from the 5th to the 10th one feels so ill and Ive had my 10th whack so I ought to be well on the turn by the 18th. I was rather in despair last Friday but suddenly just as I was getting on to the table Manoukhin began to talk about literature - about a story of Bunin's and one of Kuprin. This was such a joy that after that nothing mattered and I believed in everything. We began to rejoice over what was so fine in Bunin's work and - all was well. There is nothing on earth more powerful than love of work. [To Dorothy Brett, 4 April 1922.]

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3 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Dear Mr Pinker,
   I have received your letter but the forms were not enclosed. As soon as I receive them they shall be signed and returned to you. With regard to my last letter I confess that thinking it over I feel I might do better with a change of publisher. This book on the strength of its reviews (it has been most extensively reviewed) ought to have sold more if it had been more advertised. It had a chance of going really well, I fancy, but it seems to me Constable did not make the use they might have of their opportunity. I have received numerous letters, too, from the kind of people who comprise the reading public which prove it had a chance of popularity. (I haven't any desire to be fashionable and exclusive or to write for the intelligenzia only.)
   But these are of course the opinions of a ‘layman'. The real point is I shall have to make as much money as I can on my next book - my path is so dotted with doctors.
                   Yours sincerely
                 Katherine Mansfield [To J. B. Pinker, 2 April 1922.]

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2 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

My dear Ida
   Your full house may be amusing but where are you sleeping? I hope the de Perrot girls do not stay. Five is too many for comfort. I cannot see where they all are. Besides feeding five and so on must be a bore in that little house. Dont forget stuffed nouilles and plats like that, they go farthest and are easy to make.
   The weather is still devilish here. Friday was fine but now it pours again. However one cant get over the fact that its April. Once it is fine it will be very very fine. And all early spring plants and so on are extremely hardy. It is not they who come to harm. Bitterest cold, east wind, and storm won't hurt violets or hawthorn buds or daffodils or primroses. They seem to have some special resisting power in these months. Even half open leaves can stand snow. Or so Beach Thomas tells me - and he's a very fine honest naturalist, Tomlinson's great friend. Its a relief to know this.
   If you want to know how I am my grande reaction will go on for another week. Then Manoukhin says peu et peu I shall begin to get better.
   My book is in a 3rd large edition which is more important, & the reviews still roll in - still the same - and letters. Do you remember Mrs Belloc Lowndes? Wrote me at Baugy? Shes coming over in May for "ten days talk". So are Chaddie & Jeanne, so is Brett, Anne, Drey, Richard. The Schiffs are here. But I wrote saying I couldn't see them. I shan't see the others either if I can escape in time. I have a horror of people at present. As it is one never has enough time to oneself. [To Ida Baker, 2 April 1922.]

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1 April 1922

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

Violet dearest
   You may imagine how much I dislike proving to you and Sydney how insupportable a creature I am. But I am now in bed with a violent cold. I caught it somehow on Wednesday in these corridors and there it is in all its vileness. This means of course that again I shant be able to see you. I am tired of being governed by the Furies; I think its time they left me alone a little. But the moment I am better may I telephone you and come and see you?
   I was so distressed that Sydney stayed such a short time on Wednesday. But Joyce was rather. . . difficile. I had no idea until then of his view of Ulysses - no idea how closely it was modelled on the Greek story, how absolutely necessary it was to know the one through and through to be able to discuss the other. Ive read the Odyssey and am more or less familiar with it but Murry and Joyce simply sailed away out of my depth - I felt almost stupified. Its absolutely impossible that other people should understand Ulysses as Joyce understands it. Its almost revolting to hear him discuss its difficulties. It contains code words that must be picked up in each paragraph and so on. The Question and Answer part can be read astronomically or from the geological standpoint or • oh, I don't know! And in the midst of this he told us that his latest admirer was Jack Dempsey.
   No, I really believe there is no reason Civilisation should go. There is still a chance of saving it in spite of everything and Im against the destroyers . . .  [To Violet Schiff, c. 1 April 1922.]

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