Katherine Mansfield



Il fait beau, aujourd’hui.  I am sitting in my long chair on the terrace.

The wind of the last days has scattered almost the last of the fig leaves and now through those candle-shaped boughs I love so much there is a beautiful glimpse of the old town.

Some fowls are making no end of a noise.

I’ve just been for a walk on my small boulevard and looking down below at the houses all bright in the sun and housewives washing their linen in great tubs of glittering water and flinging it over the orange trees to dry.

Perhaps all human activity is beautiful in the sunlight.

Certainly these women lifting their arms, turning to the sun to shake out the wet clothes were supremely beautiful.

I couldn’t help feeling – and after they have lived they will die and it won’t matter.

It will be all right; they won’t regret it.

(Katherine Mansfield 1888 – 1923 from her letters, volume 2, December 1920.  Katherine Mansfield was a prominent writer of short fiction.  Born in New Zealand she died at the age of 34 of tuberculosis.)


11 thoughts on “Katherine Mansfield

  1. I love the line about the last of the fig leaves. One of the markers of a new season for me is the arrival or departure of the fig leaves (for my dog too as she likes to eat them!). A wonderful letter and painting – thank you for sharing 🙂

    • It is prose as poetry – “A small, slender bird is pecking the blue bay berries. Please to tell you mice have made a nest in my old letters to L.M”. L.M was Lesley Morris the pseudonym of her friend Ida Bake.

    • Jo Nell – further on in that letter she asks her friend”Wander with me 10 years – will you? Ten years in the sun. It’s not long-only 10 springs. If I manage to live for 10 years I don’t think I’d mind dying at 42″. Virginia

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