Copyright transcription: © Olive Schreiner Letters Project. This transcription can be freely used as long as copyright is acknowledged and it is referenced using the following citation: ‘Olive Schreiner to Adela Villiers Smith nee Villiers, 1919, NLSA Cape Town, Special Collections, Olive Schreiner Letters Project transcription’. Please also supply letter line numbers for specific quotations.
|Who To||Adela Villiers Smith nee Villiers
|Other Versions||Cronwright-Schreiner 1924: 363-4
When Cronwright-Schreiner prepared The Life...
(1924) and The Letters of Olive Schreiner
(1924), with few exceptions he then destroyed the original letters in his possession. When Olive Schreiner’s originals can be compared with his edited versions, his versions are severely shortened, and/or inaccurate in sometimes minor but sometimes major respects, and/or are combinations of a number of original letters. The status of ‘the Cronwright-Schreiner letters’ is therefore that they are artefacts of his editorial practices, rather than being ‘Olive Schreiner letters’ as such. Consequently, where original letters which appear in The Letters...
have been traced, they appear in the context of the appropriate archive collections and not as ‘a Cronwright-Schreiner letter’. In addition, where a version exists as one of the Extracts made in preparing The Letters...
, the extract version is provided because usually longer and in other ways closer to the characteristic writing practices of Schreiner’s original letters. The remaining ‘Cronwright-Schreiner letters’, of which this is one, are provided for the sake of completeness, because they give clues as to where Schreiner was resident at different points in time, and indicate some of her activities. However, they should be read and used with considerable caution for the reasons spelled out here.
1: To Mrs. Francis Smith.
2: London, late 1919.
4: ... I really like the Morning Post better than any of the other papers
5: because it's sincere and says what it thinks exactly. I am a democrat
6: but I can love and admire a real hard-shell old Tory. Just fancy,
7: to-day I got an invitation to a dance! The first invitation to a dance
8: I have ever had in my life. I have never even seen a dance, or been in
9: a ballroom. All the dancing I've seen has been that of naked Kaffirs,
10: which was splendid though terrible, the real war dances, and Boers
11: leaping about in their heavy boots. All the dancing I've done has been
12: alone in the veld, when I've jumped in the air and thrown up my arms
13: and shouted with the mere joy of living. Oh life is beautiful, while
14: one has the strength to live it, isn't it, darling?