Prelude – Katherine Mansfield

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“Prelude” is a short story published in 1918. The story is about three days in the life of the Stanley Burnell family at the time of their move to a larger house.  Kezia is a young girl and the story explores her growing understanding and her fears …


Kezia liked to stand so before the window. She liked the feeling of the cold shining glass against her hot palms, and she liked to watch the funny white tops that came on her fingers when she pressed them hard against the pane. As she stood there, the day flickered out and dark came. With the dark crept the wind snuffling and howling. The windows of the empty house shook, a creaking came from the walls and floors, a piece of loose iron on the roof banged forlornly. Kezia was suddenly quite, quite still, with wide open eyes and knees pressed together. She was frightened. She wanted to call Lottie and to go on calling all the while she ran downstairs and out of the house. But IT was just behind her, waiting at the door, at the head of the stairs,at the bottom of the stairs, hiding in the passage, ready to dart out at the back door. But Lottie was at the back door, too.