Thursday, January 17, 2008

Our Own Kingdom

Katherine Mansfield to John Middleton Murray

Sunday before Xmas
(December 19, 1915)

My dearest love,
I have just got the letter that you wrote me on Thursday night, with the money in it. Papers have come, too, which I have not opened yet, and other letters are waiting--but I want to speak to you tres serieusement. Your letter made you 'real' to me in the deepest sense of the word, I believe, almost for the first time. You say just those things which I have felt I am of you as you write just as you are of me.

Now I will say Toujours because now at last I know you. We are in a world apart, and we always shall be in a world apart--in our own kingdom which is finer and rarer. Shut the gates of it for a minute and let us stand there. Let us kiss each other, we three. Yes, Bogey, I shall love you for always.

. . . I've just read the Times Lit. Sup., The New Statesman, The Daily News, and letters from Beatrice Campbell, Kay and Marie. For the papers many thanks, darling; they were a great feast. The New Statesman is a dead horse--but still--horse it is and there you are. Beatrice (tres entre nous) wrote me a nice letter. She's a queer mixture for she is really loving and affectionate, and yet she is malicious. She was about you and Lawrence re me, you understand. How you were so happy on your own and a lot of rubbish, and how Lawrence had spoken against me at Clive Bell's. It is unpleasant hearing that kind of thing, and smells faintly of their drawing-room, which is a most distasteful memory to me. By the way, I wrote to Lawrence the other day--a wild kind of letter, if I think of it, and not fair to 'us.' You understand? It was just after I had been in bed and without letters, and I had a fit of positive despair, when life seemed to me to be absolutely over--and I wrote rather in that strain. I only tell you because when I have read your despairing letters to your friends I have always felt that you betrayed us and our love a little, and I feel if you should see mine (don't --for it's nothing and the mention is making it a mountain) you might feel a little the same. I am sorry I wrote it. To tell you the truth, I am come to the conclusion that our happiness rests with us and with nobody else at all, and that we ought to build for ourselves and by ourselves. We are very rich people, for we are real true lovers--and we are young and born in each other. Therefore, I think we ought to develop together--keep very close together (spiritually, mon cheri) and make ourselves, on our island, a palace and gardens and arbours, and boats for you and flowery bushes for me--and we ought not to court other people at all yet awhile. Later it will be different. Do you know what I mean and do you agree with me? Writing to you, I love you simply boundlessly. My love for you is always being new born; the heavenly dews descend upon it, and I'll not believe it is the same flower as yesterday--you see--how I believe in you! I have a store of belief in you that couldn't be exhausted! How I admire you! How I love you! . . . We must not fail our love.

At the end of your letter you ask me how long I am going to stay. I do not know at all, my precious. You'd better tell me what you think. I'll add a word tomorrow.

-from Katherine Mansfield's Letters to John Middleton Murray 1913-1922 edited by John Middleton Murray (London: Constable & Co., 1951, 1958)p.60-61.

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