MISS BRILL (1920) By Katherine Mansfield Although it was so brilliantly fine—the blue sky powdered with gold and great spots of fine the light like white wine splashed over the Jardins Publiques—Miss Brill was glad that she Publiques Miss had decided on her fur. The air was motionless, but when you opened your mouth there opened was just a faint chill, like a chill from a glass of iced waterbefore you sip, and now and again a leaf came drifting—from nowhere, from the sky. Miss Brill put up her hand and drifting from touched her fur. Dear little thing! It was nice to feel it again. She had taken it out of its it box that afternoon, shaken out the moth powder, given it a good brush, and rubbed the moth-powder, life back into the dim little eyes. "What has been happening to me?" said thesad little eyes. Oh, how sweet it was to see them snap at her again from the red eiderdown!... But the nose, which was of some black composition, wasn't at all firm. It must have had a knock, somehow. Never mind mind—a little dab of black sealing-wax when the time came— wax came when it was absolutely necessary... Little rogue! Yes, she really felt like that about it. rogue! Little rogue biting itstail just by her left ear. She could have taken it off and laid it on her lap and stroked it. She felt a tingling in her hands and arms, but that came from walking, she supposed. And when she breathed, something light and sad—no, not sad, exactly no, exactly— something gentle seemed to move in her bosom. There were a number of people out this afternoon, far more than last Sunday. And the bandsounded louder and gayer. That was because the Season had begun. For although begun. the band played all the year round on Sundays, out of season it was never the same. It was like some one playing with only the family to listen; it didn't care how it played if there weren't any strangers present. Wasn't the conductor wearing a new coat, too? She wearing was sure it was new. He scraped with his footand flapped his arms like a rooster about to crow, and the bandsmen sitting in the green rotunda blew out their cheeks and glared at the music. Now there came a little "flutey" bit bit—very pretty!—a little chain of bright a drops. She was sure it would be repeated. It was; she lifted her head and smiled. Only two people shared her "special" seat: a fine old man in a velvet coat, his hands claspedover a huge carved walking walking-stick, and a big old woman, sitting upright, with a roll of knitting on her embroidered apron. They did not speak. This was disappointing, for Miss Brill always looked forward to the conversation. She had become really quite expert, she thought, at listening as though she didn't listen, at sitting in other people's lives just for a minute while they talked roundher. She glanced, sideways, at the old couple. Perhaps they would go soon. Last Sunday, too, hadn't been as interesting as usual. An Englishman and his wife, he w wearing a dreadful Panama hat and she button boots. And she'd gone on the whole time about how she ought to wear spectacles; she knew she needed them; but that it was no good getting any; they'd be sure to break and they'd never keep on.And he'd been so patient. He'd suggested patient. everything—gold rims, the kind that curved round your ears, little pads inside the bridge. gold
No, nothing would please her. "They'll always be sliding down my nose!" Miss Brill had wanted to shake her. The old people sat on the bench, still as statues. Never mind, there was always the crowdstill to watch. To and fro, in front of the flower beds and the band rotunda, the couples and flower-beds groups paraded, stopped to talk, to greet, to buy a handful of flowers from the old beggar who had his tray fixed to the railings. Little children ran among them, swooping and d laughing; little boys with big white silk bows under their chins, little girls, little French dolls, dressed up in...