Spring was always a season of hope for Katherine Mansfield and in spring she was born, in Wellington, New Zealand, on 14 October 1888. When she died, on 9 January 1923, she was far away from the birthplace time and absence had made her idealize and deep in the European winter she had learnt to dread.
Only a brief account of the life between these two dates - half the normal span, but lived with more than the normal intensity of joy and pain - need be given here. The daughter of Mr. (later Sir) Harold Beauchamp, she had her preliminary schooling in Wellington and then, in 1903, was sent with her two sisters to complete her education at Queen's College in London. Here she stayed till 1906, taking violoncello lessons at the London Academy of Music, reading much, writing for the school magazine, and beginning a novel later abandoned. In December 1906 she was again in Wellington, home, but an expatriate from London, the only city where she could become the artist she now felt it was her fate to be.
This was only the first of her exiles, for she did not yet see - if she ever saw - that it was also her fate to be seldom content with the present of time or place; that only when the past had receded beyond any possession except that of memory would it become for her a time of happiness; that the future would remain hopeful only while it was . . .