“I am at the sea – at Island Bay in fact – lying flat on my face on the warm white sand. And before me the sea stretches.
To my right – shrouded in mist, like a fairy land – a dream country, the snow mountains of the South Island; to my left, fold upon fold of splendid golden hills. Two white lighthouses, like great watching birds perched upon them. A huge yellow dog lies by me. He is wet and ruffled, and I have no boots or stockings on – a pink dress – a panama hat – a big parasol. Adelaida, I wish that you were here with me.”
– February, 1907
That’s a journal entry from Katherine Mansfield – she’s about nineteen years old now. I found a selection of her letters and journals at a book sale recently. Don’t you just love delving into the minds of writers?
I can almost feel the warm white sand beneath my fingers now, see her in the pink dress and panama hat. I wish that I was there with her. Instead of here, in the unnatural light of the computer screen, with a glazed expression willing words to come out. I think I prefer her way of spending the day.
“I shall stay here until after dark – walking along the beach – the waves foaming over my feet – drinking a great deal of tea – and eating a preposterous amount of bread and apricot jam at a little placed called the Cliff House.”