ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - , New Zealand's Most Famous Writer Was Closely Associated With D.h. Lawrence An...

New Zealand's most famous writer was closely associated with D.H. Lawrence and something of a rival of Virginia Woolf. Mansfield's creative years were burdened with loneliness, illness, jealousy, alienation - all this reflected from her work in the bitter depiction of marital and family relationships. Her short stories are noted for their use of stream of consciousness and sharp portraits of characters. She often depicted everyday events in the lives of ordinary people.

"Henry was a great fellow for books. He did not read many nor did he possess above half a dozen. He looked at all in the Charing Cross Road during lunch-time and at any odd time in London; the quantity with which he was on nodding terms was amazing. By his clean neat handling of them and by his nice choice of phrase when discussing them with one or another bookseller you would have thought that he had taken his pap with a tome propped before his nurse's bosom. But you would have been wrong." (from 'Something Childish But Very Natural')

Katherine Mansfield was born in Wellington, New Zealand, into a middle-class colonial family. Her father was a banker and mother a genteel. She lived for six years in the rural village of Karori. Mansfield has told that "I imagine I was always writing. Twaddle it was, too. But better far write twaddle or anything, anything, that nothing at all." As a first step to her rebellion against her background, she withdrew to London in 1903 and studied at the Queen's College, where she joined the staff of the College Magazine. Then she took up music in New Zealand in 1906. Her father denied her the opportunity to become a professional cello player - she was accomplished violoncellist. Her lifelong friend Ida Baker persuaded Mansfield's father to allow Katherine to move back to England in 1908, with an allowance of 100 a year. There she devoted herself to writing. Mansfield never visited New Zealand again.

After an unhappy marriage with George Brown, whom she left a few days after weddings. Mansfield toured for a while as an extra in opera, spent some time in Bavaria, where she suffered a miscarriage. During her stay in Germany she wrote satirical sketches of German characters, which were published in 1911 under the title In a German Pension. On her return to London in 1910, Mansfield became ill with an untreated sexually transmitted disease, a condition which contributed to her weak health for the rest of her life. She attended literary parties without much enthusiasm: "Pretty rooms and pretty people, pretty coffee, and cigarettes out of a silver tankard... I was wretched."

In 1911 Mansfield met John Middleton Murry, a Socialist and former literature critic, who was first a tenant on her flat, then her lover. Mansfield coedited and contributed to a series of journals. Until 1914 she published stories in Rhythm and The Blue Review. In 1918 she had divorce from her first husband and married John Murry. In the same year she was found to have tuberculosis. When her only brother died in World War I, Mansfield focused her writing on New Zealand, re-creating in her fiction members of her family, grandmother, her parents, her brother 'Chummie.She and Murry became closely associated with D.H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda. When Murray had an affair with the Princess (nee Asquith), Mansfield did not object to the affairs but her letters to Murray.

"I am afraid you must stop writing these love letters to my husband while he and I live together. It is one of the things which is not done in our world." (from a letter to Princess Bibesco, 1921) In her last years Mansfield lived much of her time in southern France and in Switzerland, seeking relief from tuberculosis. As a part of her treatment in 1922 at an institute, Mansfield had to spend a few hours every day on a platform suspended over a cow manger. She breathed odors emanating from below but the treatment did no good. Without the company and friends, family, or her husband, she wrote much about her own roots and her childhood. Mansfield died of a pulmonary hemorrhage on January 9, 1923, in Gurdjieff Institute, near Fontainebleau, France. Her last words were: "I love the rain. I want the feeling of it on my face."

Her family memoirs were collected in Bliss (1920), which secured her reputation as a writer. In the next two years she did her best work, achieving the height in the Garden Party (1922). During her life only three volumes of her stories were published. Mansfield's famous short stories include 'Bliss(1918), dealing with the subject of infidelity, 'The Man Without a Temperament(1920), in which a husband becomes painfully aware that his relationship to his wife has deteriorated to 'rot', and 'The Garden Party(1921), in which an extravagant garden-party coincides with the accidental death of a local working-class man, and the daughter of the party's hostess is touched by a newborn social conscience.

Mansfield was greatly influenced by Anton Chechov, sharing his warm humanity, sensitive characterization and subtle choice of detail. Her influence on the development of the short story as a form of literature was also notable. Among her literary friends were Aldous Huxley, Virginia Woolf, who considered her over praised, and D.H. Lawrence, who later turned against Murry and her. Mansfield's journal, letters, and scrapbook were edited by her husband.

BLISS

Although Bertha Young was thirty she still had moments like this when she wanted to run instead of walk, to take dancing steps on and off the pavement, to bowl a hoop, to throw something up in the air and catch it again, or to stand still and laugh atnothingat nothing, simply.

What can you do if you are thirty and, turning the corner of your own street, you are overcome, suddenly, by a feeling of blissabsolute bliss!as though you'd suddenly swallowed a bright piece of that late afternoon sun and it burned in your bosom, sending out a little shower of sparks into every particle, into every finger and toe?..

Oh, is there no way you can express it without being "drunk and disorderly?" How idiotic civilisation is! Why be given a body if you have to keep it shut up in a case like a rare, rare fiddle?

"No, that about the fiddle is not quite what I mean," she thought, running up the steps and feeling in her bag for the keyshe'd forgotten it, as usualand rattling the letterbox. "It's not what I mean, becauseThank you, Mary," she went into the hall. "Is nurse back?"

"Yes, m'm."

"And has the fruit come?"

"Yes, m'm. Everything's come."

"Bring the fruit up to the dining-room, will you? I'll arrange it before I go upstairs."

It was dusky in the dining-room and quite chilly. But all the same Bertha threw off her coat; she could not bear the tight clasp of it another moment, and the cold air fell on her arms.

But in her bosom there was still that bright glowing placethat showers of little sparks coming from it. It was almost unbearable. She hardly dared to breathe for fear of fanning it higher, and yet she breathed deeply, deeply. She hardly dared to look into the cold mirrorbut she did look, and it gave her back a woman, radiant, with smiling, trembling lips, with big, dark eyes and an air of listening, waiting for something... divine to happen... that she knew must happen... infallibly.

Mary brought in the fruit on a tray and with it a glass bowl, and a blue dish, very lovely, with a strange sheen on it as though it had been dipped in milk.

"Shall I turn on the light, m'm?"

"No, thank you. I can see quite well."

There were tangerines and apples stained with strawberry pink. Some yellow pears, smooth as silk, some white grapes covered with a silver bloom and a big cluster of purple ones. These last she had bought to tone in with the new dining-room carpet. Yes, that did sound rather far-fetched and absurd, but it was really why she had bought them.She had thought in the shop: "I must have some purple ones to bring the carpet up to the table." And it had seemed quite sense at the time.

When she had finished with them and had made two pyramids of these bright round shapes, she stood away from the table to get the effectand it really was most curious. For the dark table seemed to melt into the dusky light and the glass dish and the blue bowl to float in the air. This, of course, in her present mood, was so incredibly beautiful... She began to laugh.

"No, no. I'm getting hysterical." And she seized her bag and coat and ran upstairs to the nursery.

 

Nurse sat at a low table giving Little B her supper after her bath. The baby had on a white flannel gown and a blue woollen jacket, and her dark, fine hair was brushed up into a funny little peak. She looked up when she saw her mother and began to jump.

"Now, my lovey, eat it up like a good girl," said nurse, setting her lips in a way that Bertha knew, and that meant she had come into the nursery at another wrong moment.

"Has she been good, Nanny?"

"She's been a little sweet all the afternoon," whispered Nanny. "We went to the park and I sat down on a chair and took her out of the pram and a big dog came along and put its head on my knee and she clutched its ear, tugged it. Oh, you should have seen her."

Bertha wanted to ask if it wasn't rather dangerous to let her clutch at a strange dog's ear. But she did not dare to. She stood watching them, her hands by her side, like the poor little girl in front of the rich littie girl with the doll.

The baby looked up at her again, stared, and then smiled so charmingly that Bertha couldn't help crying:

"Oh, Nanny, do let me finish giving her her supper while you put the bath things away."

"Well, m'm, she oughtn't to be changed hands while she's eating," said Nanny, still whispering. "It unsettles her; it's very like to upset her."

How absurd it was. Why have a baby if it has to be kept not in a case like a rare, rare fiddlebut in another woman's arms?

"Oh, I must!" said she.

Very offended, Nanny handed her over.

"Now, don't excite her after her supper! You know you do, m'm. And I have such a time with her after!"

Thank heaven! Nanny went out of the room with the bath towels.

"Now I've got you to myself, my little precious," said Bertha, as the baby leaned against her.

She ate delightfully, holding up her lips for the spoon and then waving her hands. Sometimes she wouldn't let the spoon go; and sometimes, just as Bertha had filled it, she waved it away to the four winds.

When the soup was finished Bertha turned round to the fire.

"You're niceyou're very nice!" said she, kissing her warm baby. "I'm fond of you. I like you."

And, indeed, she loved Little B so muchher neck as she bent forward, her exquisite toes as they shone transparent in the firelightthat all her feeling of bliss came back again, and again she didn't know how to express itwhat to do with it.

"You're wanted on the telephone," said Nanny, coming back in triumph and seizing her Little B.

 

Down she flew. It was Harry.

"Oh, is that you, Ber? Look here. I'll be late. I'll take a taxi and come along as quickly as I can, but get dinner put back ten minuteswill you?All right?"

"Yes, perfectly.Oh,Harry!"

"Yes?"

What had she to say? She'd nothing to say. She only wanted to get in touch with him for a moment. She couldn't absurdly cry: "Hasn't been a divine day?"

"What is it?" rapped out the little voice.

"Nothing.Entendu, "said Bertha, and hung up the receiver, thinking how much more than idiotic civilisation was.

 

They had people coming to dinner. The Norman Knights a very sound couplehe was about to start a theatre, and she was awfully keen on interior decoration, a young man, Eddie Warren, who had just published a little book of poems and whom everybody was asking to dine, and a "find" of Bertha's called Pear Fulton. What Miss Fulton did, Bertha didn't know. They had met at the club and Bertha had fallen in love with her, as she always did fall in love with beautiful women who had something strange about them.

The provoking thing was that, though they had been about together and met a number of times and really talked, Bertha couldn't make her out. Up to a certain point Miss Fulton was rarely, wonderfully frank, but the certain point was there, and beyond that she would not go.

Was there anything beyond it? Harry said "No." Voted her dullish, and "cold like all blonde women, with a touch, perhaps, of anaemia of the brain." But Bertha wouldn't agree with him; not yet, at any rate.

"No, the way she has of sitting with her head a little on one side, and smiling, has something behind it, Harry, and I must find out what that something is."

"Most likely it's a good stomach," answered Harry.

He made a point of catching Bertha's heels* with replies of that kind... "liver frozen, my dear girl," or "pure flatulence," or "kidney disease,"... and so on. For some strange reason Bertha liked this, and almost admired it in him very much.

She went into the drawing-room and lighted the fire; then, picking up the cushions, one by one, that Mary had disposed so carefully, she threw them back on to the chairs and the couches. That made all the difference; the room came alive at once. As she was about to throw the last one she surprised herself by suddenly hugging it to her, passionately, passionately. But it did not put out the fire in her bosom. Oh, on the contrary!

The windows of the drawing-room opened on to a balcony overlooking the garden. At the far end, against the wall, there was a tall, slender pear tree in fullest, richest bloom; it stood perfect, as though becalmed against the jade-green sky. Bertha couldn't help feeling, even from this distance, that it had not a single bud or a faded petal. Down below, in the garden beds, the red and yellow tulips, heavy with flowers, seemed to lean upon the dusk. A grey cat, dragging its belly, crept across the lawn, and a black one, its shadow, trailed after. The sight of them, so intent and so quick, gave Bertha a curious shiver.

"What creepy things cats are!" she stammered, and she turned away from the window and began walking up and down...

How strong the jonquils smelled in the warm room. Too strong? Oh, no. And yet, as though overcome, she flung down on a couch and pressed her hands to her eyes.

"I'm too happytoo happy!" she murmured.

And she seemed to see on her eyelids the lovely pear tree with its wide open blossoms as a symbol of her own life.

Reallyreallyshe had everything. She was young. Harry and she were as much in love as ever, and they got on together splendidly and were really good pals. She had an adorable baby. They didn't have to worry about money. They had this absolutely satisfactory house and garden. And friendsmodern, thrilling friends, writers and painters and poets or people keen on social questionsjust the kind of friends they wanted. And then there were books, and there was music, and she had found a wonderful little dressmaker, and they were going abroad in the summer, and their new cook made the most superb omelettes...

"I'm absurd. Absurd!" She sat up; but she felt quite dizzy, quite drunk. It must have been the spring.

Yes, it was the spring. Now she Was so tired she could not drag herself upstairs to dress.

 

A white dress, a string of jade beads, green shoes and stockings. It wasn't intentional. She had thought of this scheme hours before she stood at the drawing-room window.

Her petals rustled softly into the hall, and she kissed Mrs. Norman Knight, who was taking off the most amusing orange coat with a procession of black monkeys round the hem and up the fronts.

"...Why! Why! Why is the middle-class so stodgyso utterly without a sense of humour! My dear, it's only by a fluke that I am here at all Norman being the protective fluke. For my daring monkeys so upset the train that it rose to a man* and simply ate me with its eyes. Didn't laugh wasn't amusedthat I should have loved. No, just stared and bored me through and through."

"But the cream of it was," said Norman, pressing a large tortoiseshell-rimmed monocle into his eye, "you don't mind me telling this, Face, do you?" (In their home and among their friends they called each other Face and Mug.) "The cream of it was when she, being full fed,* turned to the woman beside her and said: 'Haven't you ever seen a monkey before?' "

"Oh yes!" Mrs. Norman Knight joined in the laughter. "Wasn't that too absolutely creamy?"

And a funnier thing still was that now her coat was off she did look like a very intelligent monkeywho had even made that yellow silk dress out of scraped banana skins. And her amber ear-rings: they were like little dangling nuts.

"This is a sad, sad fall!" said Mug, pausing in front of Little B's perambulator. "When the perambulator comes into the hall" and he waved the rest of the quotation away.

The bell rang. It was lean, pale Eddie Warren (as usual) in a state of acute distress.

"It is the right house, isn't it?" he pleaded.

"Oh, I think soI hope so," said Bertha brightly.

"I have had such a dreadful* experience with a taxi-man; he was most sinister. I couldn't get him to stop. The more I knocked and called the faster he went. And in the moonlight this bizarre figure with the flattened head crouching over the lit-tle wheel..."

He shuddered, taking off an immense white silk scarf. Bertha noticed that his socks were white, toomost charming.

"But how dreadful!" she cried.

"Yes, it really was," said Eddie, following her into the drawing-room. "I saw myself driving through Eternity in a timeless taxi."

He knew the Norman Knights. In fact, he was going to write a play for N. K. when the theatre scheme came off.

"Well, Warren, how's the play?" said Norman Knight, dropping his monocle and giving his eye a moment in which to rise to the surface before it was screwed down again.

And Mrs. Norman Knight: "Oh, Mr. Warren, what happy socks?"

"I am so glad you like them," said he, staring at his feet. "They seem to have got so much whiter since the moon rose." And he turned his lean sorrowful young face to Bertha. "There is a moon, you know."

She wanted to cry: "I am sure there isoften often!"

He really was a most attractive person. But so was Face, crouched before the fire in her banana skins, and so was Mug, smoking a cigarette and saying as he flicked the ash: "Why doth the bridegroom tarry?"

"There he is, now."

Bang went the front door open and shut. Harry shouted: "Hullo, you people. Down in five minutes." And they heard him swarm up the stairs. Bertha couldn't help smiling; she knew how he loved doing things at high pressure. What, after all, did an extra five minutes matter? But he would pretend to himself that they mattered beyond measure. And then he would make a great point of coming into the drawing-room, extravagantly cool and collected.

Harry had such a zest for life. Oh, how she appreciated it in him. And his passion for fightingfor seeking in everything that came up against him another test of his power and of his couragethat, too, she understood. Even when it made him just occasionally, to other people, who didn't know him well, a little ridiculous perhaps... For there were moments when he rushed into battle where no battle was... She talked and laughed and positively forgot until he had come in (just as she had imagined) that Pearl Fulton had not turned up.

"I wonder if Miss Fulton has forgotten."

"I expect so," said Harry. "Is she on the 'phone?"

"Ah! There's a taxi now." And Bertha smiled with that little air of proprietorship that she always assumed while her women finds were new and mysterious. "She lives in taxis."

"She'll run too fat if she does," said Harry coolly, ringing the bell for dinner. "Frightful danger for blonde women."

"Harrydon't," warned Bertha, laughing up at him.

Came another tiny moment, while they waited, laughing and talking, just a trifle too much at their ease, a trifle too unaware. And then Miss Fulton, all in silver, with a silver fillet binding her pale blonde hair, came in smilling, her head a little on one side.

"Am I late?"

"No, not at all," said Bertha. "Come along." And she took her arm and they moved into the dining-room.

What was there in the touch of that cool arm that could fanfanstart blazingblazingthe fire of bliss that Bertha did not know what to do with?

Miss Fulton did not look at her; but then she seldom did look at people directly. Her heavy eyelids lay upon her eyes and the strange half-smile came and went upon her lips as though she lived by listening rather than seeing. But Bertha knew, suddenly, as if the longest, most intimate look had passed between themas if they had said to each other: "You, too?"that Pearl Fulton, stirring the beautiful red soup in the grey plate, was feeling just what she was feeling.

And the others? Face and Mug, Eddie and Harry, their spoons rising and fallingdabbing their lips with their napkins, crumbling bread, fiddling with the forks and glasses and talking.

"I met her at the Alpha showthe weirdest little person. She'd not only cut off her hair, but she seemed to have taken a dreadfully good snip off her legs and arms and her neck and her poor little nose as well."

"Isn't she very liee with Michael Oat?"

"The man who wrote Love in False Teeth?"

"He wants to write a play for me. One act. One man. Decides to commit suicide. Gives all the reasons why he should and why he shouldn't. And just as he has made up his mind either to do it or not to do itcurtain. Not half a bad idea.

"What's he going to call it'Stomach Trouble'?" "I think I've come across the same idea in a little French review quite unknown in England."

No, they didn't share it. They were dears dearsand she loved having them there, at her table, and giving them delicious food and wine. In fact, she longed to tell them how delightful they were, and what a decorative group they made, how they seemed to set one another off and how they reminded her of a play by Tchekof!

Harry was enjoying his dinner. It was part of hiswell, not his nature, exactly, and certainly not his posehis something or otherto talk about food and to glory in his "shameless passion for the white flesh of the lobster" and "the green of pistachio icesgreen and cold like the eyelids of Egyptian dancers."

When he looked up at her and said: "Bertha, this is a very admirable soujfle" she almost could have wept with child-like pleasure.

Oh, why did she feel so tender towards the whole world to-night? Everything was goodwas right. All that happened seemed to fill again her brimming cup of bliss.

And still, in the back of her mind, there was the pear tree. It would be silver now, in the light of poor dear Eddie's moon, silver as Miss Fulton, who sat there turning a tangerine in her slender fingers that were so pale a light seemed to come from them.

What she simply couldn't make outwhat was miraculouswas how she should have guessed Miss Fulton's mood so exactly and so instantly. For she never doubted for a moment that she was right, and yet what had she to go on? Less than nothing.

"I believe this does happen very, very rarely between women. Never between men," thought Bertha. "But while I am making the coffee in the drawing-room perhaps she will 'give a sign.' "

What she meant by that she did not know, and what would happen after that she could not imagine.

While she thought like this she saw herself talking and laughing. She had to talk because of her desire to laugh.

"I must laugh or die."

But when she noticed Face's funny little habit of tucking something down the front of" her bodice as if she kept a tiny, secret hoard of nuts there, tooBertha had to dig her nails into her handsso as not to laugh too much.

It was over at last. And: "Come and see my new coffee machine," said Bertha.

"We only have a new coffee machine once a fortnight," said Harry. Face took her arm this time; Miss Fulton bent her head and followed after.

The fire had died down in the drawing-room to a red, flickering "nest of baby phoenixes," said Face.

"Don't turn up the light a moment. It is so lovely." And down she crouched by the fire again. She was always cold... "Without her little red flannel jacket, of course," thought Bertha.

At that moment Miss Fulton "gave the sign."

"Have you a garden?" said the cool, sleepy voice.

This was so exquisite on her part that all Bertha could do was to obey. She crossed the room, pulled the curtains apart and opened those long windows.

"There!" she breathed.

And the two women stood side by side looking at the slender, flowering tree. Although it was so still it seemed, like the flame of a candle, to stretch up, to point, to quiver in the bright air, to grow taller and taller as they gazed almost to touch the rim of the round, silver moon.

How long did they stand there? Both, as it were, caught in that circle of unearthly light, understanding each other perfectly, creatures of another world, and wondering what they were to do in this one with all this blissful treasure that burned in their bosoms and dropped, in silver flowers, from their hair and hands?

For ever-for a moment? And did Miss Fulton murmur: "Yes. Just that. " Or did Bertha dream it?

Then the light was snapped on and Face made the coffee and Harry said: "My dear Mrs. Knight, don't ask me about my baby. I never see her. I shan't feel the slightest interest in her until she has a lover," and Mug took his eye out of the conservatory for a moment and then put it under glass again and Eddie Warren drank his coffee and set down the cup with a face of anguish as though he had drunk and seen the spider.

"What I want to do is to give the young men a show. I believe London is simply teeming with first-chop, unwritten plays. What I want to say to 'em is: 'Here's the theatre. Fire ahead.'"

"You know, my dear, I am going to decorate a room for the Jacob Nathans. Oh, I am so tempted to do a fried-fish scheme, with the backs of the chairs shaped like frying-pans and lovely chip potatoes embroidered all over the curtains."

"The trouble with our young writing men is that they are still too romantic. You can't put out to sea without being sea-sick and wanting a basin. Well, why won't they have the courage of those basins?"

"A dreadful poem about a girl who was violated by a beggar without a nose in a lit-tle wood..."

Miss Fulton sank into the lowest, deepest chair and Harry handed round the cigarettes.

From the way he stood in front of her shaking the silver box and saying abruptly: "Egyptian? Turkish? Virginian? They're all mixed up," Bertha realised that she not only bored him; he really disliked her. And she decided from the way Miss Fulton said: "No, thank you, I won't smoke," that she felt it, too, and was hurt.

"Oh, Harry, don't dislike her. You are quite wrong about her. She's wonderful, wonderful. And, besides, how can you feel so differently about someone who means so much to me. I shall try to tell you when we are in bed to-night what has been happening. What she and I have shared."

At those last words something strange and almost terrifying darted into Bertha's mind. And this something blind and smiling whispered to her: "Soon these people will go. The house will be quietquiet. The lights will be out. And you and he will be alone together in the dark roomthe warm bed..."

She jumped up from her chair and ran over to the piano.

"What a pity someone does not play!" she cried. "What a pity somebody does not play."

For the first time in her life Bertha Young desired her husband.

Oh, she'd loved himshe'd been in love with him, of course, in every other way, but just not in that way. And equally, of course, she'd understood that he was different. They'd.discussed it so often. It had worried her dreadfully at first to find that she was so cold, but after a time it had not seemed to matter. They were so frank with each othersuch good pals. That was the best of being modern.

Bot nowardently! ardently! The word ached in her ardent body! Was this what that feeling of bliss had been leading up to? But then, then

"My dear," said Mrs. Norman Knight, "you know our shame. We are the victims of time and train. We live in Hampstead*. It's been so nice."

"I'll come with you into the hall," said Bertha. "I loved having you. But you must not miss the last train. That's so awful, isn't it?"

"Have a whisky, Knight, before you go?" called Harry.

"No, thanks, old chap."

Bertha squeezed his hand for that as she shook it.

"Good night, good-bye," she cried from the top step, feeling that this self of hers was taking leave of them for ever.

When she got back into the drawing-room the others were on the move.

"...Then you can come part of the way in my taxi."

"I shall be so thankful not to have to face another drive alone after my dreadful experience."

"You can get a taxi at the rank just at the end of the street. You won't have to walk more than a few yards."

"That's a comfort. I'll go and put on my coat."

Miss Fulton moved towards the hall and Bertha was following when Harry almost pushed past.

"Let me help you."

Bertha knew that he was repenting his rudenessshe let him go. What a boy he was in some wayso impulsive sosimple.

And Eddie and she were left by the fire.

"I wonder if you have seen Bilks' new poem called Table d'Hote," said Eddie softly. "It's so wonderful. In the last Anthology. Have you got a copy? I'd so like to show it to you. It begins with an incredibly beautiful line: 'Why Must it Always be Tomato Soup?' "

"Yes," said Bertha. And she moved noiselessly to a table opposite the drawing-room door and Eddie glided noiselessly after her. She picked up the little book and gave it to him; they had not made a sound.

While he looked it up she turned her head towards the hall. And she saw... Harry with Miss Fulton's coat in his arms and Miss Fulton with her back turned to him and her head bent. He tossed the coat away, put his hands on her shoulders and turned her violently to him. His lips said: "I adore you," and Miss Fulton laid her moonbeam fingers on his cheeks and smiled her sleepy smile. Harry's nostrils quivered; his lips curled back in a hideous grin while he whispered: "To-morrow," and with her eyelids Miss Fulton said: "Yes."

"Here it is," said Eddie. " 'Why Must it Always be Tomato Soup?' It's so deeply true, don't you feel? Tomato soup is so dreadfully eternal."

"If you prefer," said Harry's voice, very loud, from the hall, "I can 'phone you a cab to come to the door."

"Oh, no. It's not necessary," said Miss Fulton, and she came up to Bertha and gave her the slender fingers to hold.

"Good-bye. Thank you so much."

"Good-bye," said Bertha.

Miss Fulton held her hand a moment longer.

"Your lovely pear tree!" she murmured.

And then she was gone, with Eddie following, like the black cat following the grey cat.

"I'll shut up shop," said Harry, extravagantly cool and collected.

"Your lovely pear treepear treepear tree!"

Bertha simply ran over to the long windows.

"Oh, what is going to happen now?" she cried.

But the pear tree was as lovely as ever and as full of flower and as still.

 

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CONTENTS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.. BLISS... PICTURES

Match the following definitions in the left column with the words in the right column. Find sentences with these words in the story.
1. open and sincere in expression; straightforward. bliss 2. to carry out or fulfill the command, order, or instruction.

Match one of the following adjectives to each description.
frank passionate curious amused distressed dreadful collected mysterious absurd extravagant bored a) A person has strong romantic or sexual feelings and expresses them in thei

Pictures
Eight o'clock in the morning. Miss Ada Moss lay in a black iron bedstead, staring up at the ceiling. Her room, a Bloomsbury top-floor back,

Match the following definitions in the left column with the words in the right column. Find sentences with these words in the story.
1. not having a clear shape. to take trouble 2. to smile widely at somebody. to give no sign

Sun and Moon
In the afternoon the chairs came, a whole big cart full of little gold ones with their legs in the air. And then the flowers came. When you

Find the English equivalents to the following words or phrases and use them in the sentences of your own.
1.to behave in a particular way in order to make other people believe smth that is not true. at any rate 2.to be annoyed or quite angr

Life of Ma Parker
When the literary gentleman, whose flat old Ma* Parker cleaned every Tuesday, opened the door to her that morning, he asked after her grands

Match the following definitions in the left column with the words in the right column. Find sentences with these words in the story.
1. to be concerned or interested. to be a success 2. mental or emotional unhappiness or distress. to overcome

Marriage a la Mode
On his way to the station William remembered with a fresh pang of disappointment that he was taking nothing down to the kiddies. Poor little

Match the following definitions in the left column with the words in the right column. Find sentences with these words in the story.
1.to take care of. to settle something 2. to lead or move, as to a course of action, by influence or persuasion. to fish

Miss Brill
Although it was so brilliantly finethe blue sky powdered with gold and the great spots of light like white wine splashed over the Jardins P

Match the following definitions in the left column with the words in the right column. Find sentences with these words in the story.
1.futile; useless. to decide on smth 2.being familiar with smth so that it no longer seems new or strange to you.

Her First Ball
Exactly when the ball began Leila would have found it hard to say. Perhaps her first real partner was the cab. It did not matter that she shared the cab with the Sheridan girls and their brother. S

Match the following definitions in the left column with the words in the right column. Find sentences with these words in the story.
1. to like smth or like to do smth, to be willing to do smth weird 2.not happy or smiling; looking very serious

Match one of the following adjectives to each description.
ashamed exciting surprising terrified shy gloomy

Speak on or write an essay about your assessment of the story and your impressions of it.
The Lady's Maid Eleven o 'clock. A knock at the door. ...I hope I haven't disturbed you, madam. You weren't asleepwere you? But I've just given my lady her tea,

Match the following definitions in the left column with the words in the right column. Find sentences with these words in the story.
1. to do ones hair to cheat smb 2.full of extreme anger, raging to feel inclined to do smth

The Fly
"Y'are very snug in here," piped old Mr. Woodifield, and he peered out of the great, green-leather arm-chair by his friend the boss's desk as a baby peers out of its pram. His talk was ov

Match the following definitions in the left column with the words in the right column. Find sentences with these words in the story.
1. to have a useful effect: to help smb. to be over 2. to meet or find something by chance. to make a nuisance

The Tiredness of Rosabel
At the corner of Oxford Circus Rosabel bought a bunch of violets, and that was practically the reason why she had so little teafor a scone

Comprehension Check
a) What did Rosabel do to earn her living? b) What was her mood when she was returning home? c) What means did the author use to describe Rosabels tiredness? d) What had

Speak on or write an essay about your assessment of the story and your impressions of it.
  The Little Girl To the little girl he was a figure to be feared and avoided. Every morning befo

Match the following definitions in the left column with the words in the right column. Find sentences with these words in the story.
1.an unusually large person properly 2.to search or examine thoroughly to give smth up

Put in the missing prepositions.
I looked the apartment where I had spent most my life. The window was open and sounds the street mixed the talk show the radio that my mother always kept It seemed that she had even tur

Pension Seguin
The servant who opened the door was twin sister to that efficient and hideous creature bearing a soup tureen into the First French Picture. Her round red face shone like freshly washed china. She

Match the following definitions in the left column with the words in the right column.
1. very likely to be influenced, harmed or affected by smth. immense 2. to suggest that smth is true or that you feel or think

Late at Night
(Virginia is seated by the fire. Her outdoor things are thrown on a chair; her boots are faintly steaming in the fender). Virginia (laying the letter down): I don't like this letter at all

Comprehension Check
a) What kind of letter did Virginia receive? b) Why did she consider it offensive? c) Why did Sunday evenings have a special effect on the woman? d) What are Virginias t

Sixpence
Children are unaccountable little creatures. Why should a small boy like Dicky, good as gold as a rule, sensitive, affectionate, obedient, and, marvellously sensible for his age, have moods when,

Match the following definitions in the left column with the words in the right column. Find sentences with these words in the story.
1. to make smb able to avoid doing smth difficult or unpleasant. to have moods 2. to deliberately try to forget an unpleasant m

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