Il y a 90 ans et une semaine presque exactement (le 9 janvier 1923), Katherine Mansfield était emportée par la tuberculose.
Le 16 janvier 1923, dans son journal, Virginia Woolf évoque la mort de celle qui sans avoir été véritablement "une amie", était en réalité infiniment plus... Les liait bien davantage l'une de ces étranges et envoûtantes affinités électives.
Katherine has been dead a week, & how far am I obeying her « do not quite forget Katherine » which I read in one of her old letters ? Am I already forgetting her ? It is strange to trace the progress of one’s feelings. Nelly said in her sensational way at breakfast on Friday « Mrs Murry’s dead ! It says so in the paper ! » At that one feels - What ? A shock of relief ? - a revival the less ? Then confusion at feeling so little - then gradually, blankness and disappointment ; then a depression which I could not rouse myself from all that day. When I began to write, it seemed to me there was not point in writing. Katherine wont read it. Katherine’s my rival no longer. (…)
And I could see her before me so exactly, & the room at Portland Villas. I go up. She gets up, very slowly, from her writing table. A glass of milk & a medicine bottle stood there. There was also piles of novels. Everything was very tidy, bright & somehow like a doll house. At once, or almost, we got out of shyness. She (it was summer) half lay on the sofa by the window. She has her look of a Japanese doll, with the fringe combed quite straight across her forehead. Sometimes we looked very steadfastly at each other, as though we had reached durable relationship, independent of the changes of the body, through the eyes. Hers were beautiful eyes (…)
Yes I still feel, somehow that friendship persists. Still there are things about writing I think of & want to tell Katherine. If I have been in Paris & gone to her, she would have got up & in three minutes, we should have been talking again. (…)
And I was jealous of her writing - the only writing I have ever been jealous of. (…)
Yet I have the feeling that I shall think of her at intervals all through life. Probably we have something in common which I shall never find in anyone else.
The Diary of Virginia Woolf . Volume II 1920-1924. The Hogarth Press